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Published on Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Passengers sue Royal Caribbean for 'days of terror'

Royal Caribbean is being sued for allegedly putting customers in unnecessary danger as Hurricane Harvey bore down on Texas.

Lead plantiff is Canadian passenger Nikki McIntosh, who says the cruiseline left it way too late to offer free cancellations or changes to a sailing, which effectively 'strong-armed' passengers into travelling to Galveston in Texas.

She claims Royal Caribbean 'repeatedly' told them they would lose all the money they'd paid if they cancelled of their own accord.

The sailing was ultimately cancelled when the port shut down just before Hurricane Harvey hit, but not before cruisers had arrived in Galveston.

"What Royal Caribbean did to these passengers is simply shocking," said attorney Michael Winkleman.

"They knowingly placed families with small children directly in the path of one of the worst storms to hit the US in centuries."

The port closure trapped Liberty of the Seas at sea but Royal Caribbean still maintained the sailing would take place on August 27, the lawsuit claims.

"By this time, catastrophic flooding had already begun. Hundreds of flights were cancelled, and highways were flooded, impassable and deadly. Yet RCCL was still attempting to find a way to make the scheduled sailing.

"At or around this time, was the last chance that these passengers likely could have escaped being trapped in Hurricane Harvey's flood waters but RCCL did its best to convince these passengers to stay directly in harm's way.

"Had the cruise been cancelled a day or two earlier, just like Carnival did, then these passengers would not have been trapped in the path of Hurricane Harvey and subjected to five to six days of terror, hardship and inconvenience in a place foreign to them," it said.

McIntosh said she was stranded in a Houston hotel for six days.

The lawsuit, which seeks class action status, claims negligence and is seeking an undisclosed amount in lost wages, emotional anguish and physical pain and suffering.

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