After the COVID-19 virus began spreading at a rapid rate, many travel restrictions were put into place, including the suspension of cruise sailings. Countries also began closing their ports, leaving many of the ships that had already departed prior to the restrictions taking effect out at sea with nowhere to dock. While some cruise lines were given permission by certain countries to allow passengers to disembark, particularly those who contracted COVID-19 and required immediate medical attention, others were required to remain on board.
So, what happened to all the crew members that were traveling on board the ships?
According to The New York Times, while several ships were evacuated at ports in Florida and California, it was generally only the passengers that were let off. Most of the ships returned to sea “and cruise companies are now scrambling to find ways home for tens of thousands of their employees.” Some crew members have spoken out and said that they are not getting paid while they wait and many “fear that the virus is still on board the ships.”
A crew member, who had been traveling on board the Celebrity Apex, tested positive for COVID-19 on March 31st and was eventually sent a 20-hour trip to get home on April 10th. The woman, who has been identified as 54-year-old Alexandra Nedeltcheva, remains in an Airbnb in Bulgaria where is isolating herself from her family. Nedeltcheva, who is considered to be the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit, is accusing the company of “exposing its employees to the virus by not handing out masks and gloves, not enforcing social distancing and keeping employees aboard even as the coronavirus spread on the ship” [Source: Miami Herald].
Nedeltcheva told the news source that “she has never been treated worse in her 11 years working for Celebrity Cruises,” which is owned by Royal Caribbean. The 54-year-old also said that the time she spent on the ship amid the COVID-19 outbreak was a “complete disaster” and that the company “did not care.” Although the employee believes she will lose her job after sharing her experience, she felt compelled to come forward with her complaint.
Did you contract COVID-19 while traveling on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship and feel as though the company acted negligently in how it handled the outbreak?
Whether you are an employee of a cruise line or were traveling as a passenger, you may have a case against a Miami cruise line. To learn more about your legal rights and how you can exercise them, contact Madalon Law to speak with a Miami, FL cruise ship illness attorney today.
You can reach Madalon Law at:
100 N. Federal Highway, #CU5
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301