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Cruise Enthusiasts Who Had Cruise Canceled Sue Royal Caribbean


Early in the pandemic, the U.S. government had yet to place a “no sail” order over the industry. Cruise lines, however, after news broke that several outbreaks had occurred, canceled cruises that passengers had already paid for.

The passengers filed suit against Royal Caribbean but recently withdrew that complaint. The voluntary dismissal came after Royal Caribbean filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit over a jurisdictional issue. The passengers had set up a class for the lawsuit but they also signed a waiver preventing them from filing a class-action lawsuit.

Further, Royal Caribbean argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because they had already offered full refunds to each customer who would have been on the canceled cruise. They also stated that one passenger had already deposited their refund.

Royal Caribbean Happy With the Result 

Royal Caribbean expressed gratitude that the matter was dismissed voluntarily by the plaintiffs. Likely, they couldn’t have recovered much more than a full refund of the ticket price regardless of how far they pressed the matter. If the plaintiffs won the lawsuit, they might have been entitled to collect attorney’s fees, but beyond that, there were no real damages. Royal Caribbean looks to still be offering refunds to any customer that requests one.

Why Wasn’t This Situation Actionable? 

Going on a cruise is truly a case of caveat emptor or buyer beware.  The “ticket contract”, pages and pages of fine print legal jargon, is enforced in almost every situation.  The cruise ticket in this case contained an arbitration provision and a class action waiver provision.  In the past the courts routinely found arbitration provisions in consumer contracts to be void as against public policy, that position has changed since Justice Roberts was appointed to the Court and the  provisions are routinely enforced.  The ticket contract also contains a “class action waiver” which has likewise been enforced.

In addition to these two hurdles, after initially refusing to give refunds, both the cruise line and the convention sponsor agreed to issue full refunds, so the purported class had not suffered any damages.  There are essential elements in every cause of action, which always includes some kind of damages.  In this case, after having agreed to issue full refunds, there were no damages.  No damages, no case.

Talk to a Miami Cruise Ship Lawyer Today 

Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford helps crew and passengers settle disputes with cruise lines and other commercial vessels. Call today for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you settle your dispute with a ship operator.




  • American Association for Justice
  • Florida Justice Association
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  • American Association for Justice

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Michael F. Guilford, P.A.

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