Each year more than 10 million consumers purchase a cruise ship vacation departing from and returning to a U.S. port located primarily in the State of Florida. Unlike consumers purchasing goods and services to be delivered on land, cruise passengers have limited rights and remedies should the cruise ship fail to deliver travel services promised and contracted for or which should reasonably be expected in this modern world. Stated, simply, passengers may travel on 21st-century cruise ships, but their rights and remedies for injuries sustained on or off the cruise ship are governed, in many cases, by 19th-century legal principles.1

Perhaps, the most disturbing, and certainly most disruptive, aspect of a cruise vacation is what happens when a passenger is sick or injured and needs the care of medical professionals. There are no uniform international standards for the qualification of medical care professionals, for the nature and quality of medical equipment aboard the cruise ship2 or for the cost of medical care.3 Cruise ships have, typically, not been held liable for the medical malpractice committed by their on-board medical staff.

The Barbetta Rule

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