Cruise Ship Tickets: The Basics of Your Contract With The Cruise Line

cruise ship injury lawyers explains your cruise ship ticket contract

If you were the victim of a cruise ship accident and were injured, here are some things you need to know.

First, if you or a family member suffered an injury, you may be eligible for compensation from the cruise line that you sailed with. This compensation could range from getting your money back from your cruise — or, in some cases, depending on the severity of the injury or death of a passenger — settlements could be in the millions of dollars range.

At Waks and Barnett, P.A. we’ve been working with hurt and confused passengers for more than 25 years.

Sadly, getting hurt while on a cruise is not uncommon — in fact, the cruise lines face thousands of injury claims each year. At our firm, we receive calls daily…and we’re just one of many law firms who deal with injured passengers and crew members.

If you need to speak with an attorney, please call our office at 1-800-905-2891 (for a free consultation) or fill out the contact form on this page.

For this article, we wanted to cover a few basic things…

The fine print of your cruise ship ticket outlines important information that you and your attorney need to know.

Your ‘ticket’ is a ‘contract’ that you’re signing. And essentially, you have to sign this contract in order to take your cruise vacation.

The majority of the millions of passengers who travel on a cruise ship never look at their ticket…especially the fine print. But the fine print is extremely important…especially when an accident has occurred and the passenger is interested in filing an injury claim.

Hurt cruise ship passengers may sue to recover for damages


If hurt, you can file a lawsuit to recover damages that might include things like medical bills, lost wages or lost employment, and pain and suffering.

Recovering damages essentially means being ‘compensated financially’. Your ‘damages’ can be both physical and emotional.

Someone who suffered a traumatic fall because of poorly lit stairwell on a Carnival Cruise Ship might be dealing with broken bones and injuries to their internal organs. They might have bills from hospital visits, rehab and multiple doctor visits. They might also have continuing, ongoing pain because of the injury — or may be unable to work any longer. While each case is different of course, the level of damages can vary.

So, while your ticket contract allows you to sue for damages, the ticket will also outline both ‘how’ and ‘where’ the injury claim will proceed.

Most cruise ship tickets contain a ‘forum selection clause’

What is forum selection?

You’ll see this in your ticket. Forum selection is the city and state and even specific court where your injury claim must be filed and where any legal proceedings will take place.

You’ll find them printed in small, mice type on the back of the ticket. To read the Ticket Contract for Carnival Cruises, click here — the part of the contract you’ll want to review is in Part 12 (c)…way, way down the page. It says…

Except as provided in Clause 12 (d) below, it is agreed by and between the Guest and Carnival that all disputes and matters whatsoever arising under, in connection with or incident to this Contract or the Guest’s cruise, including travel to and from the vessel, shall be litigated, if at all, before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, or as to those lawsuits to which the Federal Courts of the United States lack subject matter jurisdiction, before a court located in Miami-Dade County, Florida, U.S.A. to the exclusion of the Courts of any other county, state or country.

Carnival require passengers to bring suit for any injuries occurring on the ship in Miami, Florida. Other cruise lines may specify Seattle, Los Angeles or other locations based upon where the cruise line is based.

It’s important to note: your ticket acts as a contract between you and the cruise line. When you sign your ticket, you’re signing this contract.

Provide notice of their injury claim

Most tickets will also dictate the time frame of ‘when’ an injury claim must be made. This notice of injury is usually within six months of the injury — and, must be done in writing. They may also dictate when the actual lawsuit must be filed.

See below from Carnival Cruises again…this time in Part 12 (a) of the contract.

(a) Carnival shall not be liable for any claims whatsoever for personal injury, illness or death of the guest, unless full particulars in writing are given to Carnival within 185 days after the date of the injury, event, illness or death giving rise to the claim. Suit to recover on any such claim shall not be maintainable unless filed within one year after the date of the injury, event, illness or death, and unless served on Carnival within 120 days after filing.

Unfortunately… if the passenger (and/or their attorney) does not meet the deadline for suing the cruise line, the court may dismiss the suit. Likewise, if the lawsuit is filed in the wrong court, the claim most likely will be dismissed.


Injured passengers will have many questions. It’s important to know that help is just a phone call away. Our attorneys will talk to you about your accident, answer your questions, ask you questions and then advise you as to what ‘the next steps should be.’

While we’re not able to answer everything here in this article, you can find more information by clicking below:

Do I Have a Case?

Do I Need a Lawyer?

What is My Case Worth?

Important Tips for Filing a Claim