Passenger Sues Cruise Line After Unexpected Donkey Injury

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After being kicked by a donkey while visiting Grand Turk in the Caribbean, a Florida man is seeking compensation from Carnival Cruise Line. Although the man was injured, the social media commentary online suggests that people are wondering who is really at fault in this situation.

Florida Man Sues Carnival After Donkey Kick In Grand Turk

According to Daniel Goldston, a Florida resident and recent passenger onboard Carnival’s Mardi Gras, the cruise line is to blame for his less than stellar experience in Grand Turk.

Mardi Gras, an Excel-class ship, is currently one of the largest vessels operated by the cruise line at 180,800 gross tons and a maximum guest capacity of 6,500.

While visiting the cruise port with his wife, which is owned and operated by the cruise line, Goldston took a photo with a donkey. The animal then kicked him, fracturing his right knee, which he says has required multiple surgical procedures to treat. 

The unhappy cruiser filed a lawsuit against Carnival Corporation on February 16, 2024, accusing the cruise line of negligence. Goldston alleges that Carnival was negligent because the company “failed to maintain and operate the cruise terminal properly and failed to install warning signs about the animals and potential risk of harm.” 

He also claims that Carnival knew of similar incidents involving donkeys at the cruise terminal, but it’s unclear where he got this information and the cruise line has not responded publicly to this allegation. 

That said, the popular cruise line, which currently operates 27 ships, does take safety seriously – but also acknowledges on its website that guests have a role in protecting themselves, too. 

“Although everyone’s safety is our number one concern, all guests should take responsibility for their own personal safety,” reads Carnival’s code of conduct.

Carnival's Mardi Gras Ship
Carnival’s Mardi Gras Ship (Photo Credit: EetuH)

On social media, the sentiment among commenters was that Goldston was in the wrong for approaching an unknown animal or must have done something to provoke the donkey. 

“Wonder what he was doing to the donkey… There’s no way the donkey kicked him (if it actually did) without being provoked or threatened, commented another

Alejandro J. Gonzalez of Homestead is representing Goldston in the lawsuit, in which his client seeks “compensatory damages for his injuries and medical expenses as well as lost income, earning capacity and non-economic damages such as pain, suffering, disability, physical impairment, scarring, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience and loss of capacity to enjoy life. He also seeks court costs, interest and other relief.

Neither Gonzalez nor Carnival Corporation have released public statements regarding the suit at the time of this publication. 

Tourist Experience Takes A Nose Dive in Grand Turk

Carnival Cruise Line built, owns, and operates The Grand Turk Cruise Center – the only cruise port in the Turks and Caicos. The $50 million cruise terminal opened in 2006 to serve the island country, which is located between the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. 

Although the port mainly caters to Carnival Cruise Line ships, other cruise lines like Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, Marella Cruises, and Virgin Voyages are also known to use the cruise terminal.

Donkeys at Grand Turk
Donkeys at Grand Turk (Photo Credit: Ramunas Bruzas)

But lately, things haven’t been all smooth sailing in Grand Turk. At the end of 2023, it was reported that Grand Turk saw a decline in profitability and customer service ratings

The main causes behind the lowered perceptions related to drug-related incidents and physical altercations on the island, as well as complaints of not enough shore excursions and activities. But, it also seems another problem may be getting out of hand. 

Reports have been circulating that suggest that the population of wild donkeys and stray dogs is overwhelming communities in Grand Turk, which is leading to car accidents because of animals on the road and incidents with tourists who try to pet them. 

Read Also: Are Cruises Safe? What You Really Need to Know

There are also concerns about how to properly care for all of the animals, with some locals also concerned about the potential for animal neglect or for injured animals to go untreated. 

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