Nearly a month has passed since Houston solo Scott Douglass (pictured) and his wife boarded the Carnival Triumph, not knowing that an engine fire would strand the cruise ship and uncomfortably extend their 26th wedding anniversary celebration.
Despite the ruined vacation — and although he may have missed four or five real-estate assignments at work — Douglass says he won’t file suit or join any of the class actions that others have filed. He thinks the suits are “premature,” noting that federal courts impose disclosure requirements and strict deadlines.
Before filing, lawyers should know the facts, like: “What are my damages, what are my damages worth, who is responsible and is it recoverable,” explains Douglass. He adds that the incident happened in international waters, and he thinks, “There was no clear indication there was anything defective with that ship.”
Boarding the ship on Feb. 7, Douglass and his wife spent a couple of “restful” days enjoying the abundant food and spending time in the onboard casino, says Douglass. It was the first vacation the couple had taken independent of their three sons, who range in age from 19 to 22.
The trip turned sour on Feb. 10 when the fire erupted. Stranded onboard with no electricity until Feb. 14, the couple experienced many discomforts: Boredom, long lines for cold meals and waterlogged hallways.
“The biggest problem was the fact the toilets didn’t flush,” Douglass says. “In the first day, they handed out red bags. . . . You were supposed to do business in the red bag.”
The ship’s crew told passengers to urinate into shower drains, which Douglass says was a “mistake,” because some cabins on the ship’s exterior flooded interior cabins. Those unlucky passengers then slept outdoors, he adds. The Douglass’s room had a balcony, which meant fresh air and light, he says.
On the bright side, something interesting happened without electricity.
“There was probably more interaction amongst the people on the cruise than you’d ever see on a normal cruise,” explains Douglass. People became friends and shared things. “If you have nothing to do, people revert back to — you take away their communication devices — guess what they have to do? They have to talk to each other.”