End of Chapter for Norwegian Dawn Rogue Wave

September 14, 2006

In the final chapter of the issues surrounding the rogue wave that pummeled Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn in April 2005, a United States District Judge in Miami has dismissed a motion that would permit passengers to file a class action lawsuit.

As you may recall, the ship was sailing off the coast of South Carolina toward its embarkation port of New York when a 70-foot wave slammed the ship, causing fairly major damage to forward cabins -- breaking windows and swamping them with sea water -- along with other windows on the 9th and 10th floors, gift shop and theater. Also impacted were bars, which lost much of their glassware, and the lido buffet, whose food displays wound up on the floor. On the crew deck, two whirlpools were destroyed and a railing was wrenched from its mooring.

The ship headed straight to a shipyard in Charleston for quick repairs and some passengers were flown home. The cruise line offered fairly significant compensation to the passengers -- particularly since it's not required to give a cent when there's a weather-related issue -- by designating a 50 percent refund and 50 percent discount on a future cruise.

Still there were some who felt the compensation wasn't enough. This is despite the fact that separate investigations by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the Bahamas Maritime Authority (the ship flies a Bahamas flag) gave the ship and its officers the "all clear," noting that appropriate action was taken to accommodate passengers and protect the ship.

In a statement this week announcing the court's decision to deny the motion to certify a class action lawsuit, NCL president Colin Veitch is quoted as saying that "from the outset, this frivolous lawsuit has existed only in the minds of the plaintiffs' lawyers."

Interestingly, members on Cruise Critic's NCL board, were pretty strongly in favor of the court's decision. Writes Claudie, "I'm very happy to hear this. I was on this cruise and sided with NCL. I was deposed by one of the attorneys in the spring. I didn't think this case would end so soon."

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor.