If, whilst on a cruise, you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident resulting in personal injuries, then, you may have to bring a claim under the Athens convention.
The Athens Convention applies to 'International carriage by sea' (as a passenger you would be considered to be international carriage). The provisions of the Athens Convention apply to voyages from ports in the UK that sail directly to their destination and do not have any other midway ports of call. The cruise line is responsible for the safety of their ship’s passengers from the point of embarkation, and, ends after the point of disembarkation.If you suffer an accident at sea or suffer from an illness onboard a cruise ship it is important to clarify whether or not the Athens Convention applies. If it does apply you must remember that you will only have 2 years from the date of the incident which caused your injury in which to commence proceedings in the Admiralty Division of the High Court.
If court proceedings are not issued within this period then you will not be able to make a claim after the two year period has expired. The Athens Convention imposes a belief of fault on the carrier (your cruise-liner) this means that the cruise line must prove the accident wasn't their fault, if, a passenger was injured or became ill during the cruise.
The disadvantage of making a claim under the Athen’s convention is that there are limits on the amount of compensation that can be claimed for personal injury or death occurring during a cruise at sea as compared to bringing a claim for negligence in common law.This area of law is complex and there are other rules that may apply.
This published article may contain information of general interest about current legal issues, but does not give legal advice.