Carnival Corporation found to have breached Australian Consumer Law.
The Federal Court has just released its judgement in the long-running class action brought by passengers aboard Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the judge finding the company “engaged in misleading representations”.
However while the lead applicant, Susan Karpik, was found to be entitled to damages for “distress and disappointment”, Justice Angus Stewart ruled that this did not reach the threshold for personal injuries, and that she is not entitled to any more than the $4,400 refund already provided by Carnival.
The case alleged Carnival Corporation and Princess Cruises breached duties of care and Australian Consumer Law, with today’s ruling finding the company was negligent in respect of some precautions taken for passenger safety.
The judge found that some pre-cruise communications with passengers were misleading, including suggestions that it was “reasonably safe” to take the trans-Tasman cruise which departed from Sydney in March 2020.
He said given previous outbreaks aboard Diamond Princess in Japan and Grand Princess in California, the decision to proceed with the cruise “carried a significant risk…and yet they proceeded regardless”.
Stewart said Carnival should have warned passengers about heightened risks of contracting COVID-19, implemented screenings and physical distancing, and isolated ill passengers onboard earlier in the cruise.
Final orders will be handed down in the case on 10 November.
More details in today’s issue of Cruise Weekly.