We have been contacted by a number of passengers from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas about a frightening experience when the cruise ship suddenly listed around four a.m. on February 28th. All of those individuals who contacted us simply wanted an explanation regarding what happened, and they were frustrated regarding the lack of factual information from the cruise line.
What is curious about this incident is that the Explorer has sophisticated atmospheric and oceanographic equipment aboard the vessel monitored by the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
The Explorer of the Seas left Port Liberty New Jersey on February 26th for the Caribbean. What happened is less than clear given the conflicting accounts posted on line.
Ross Klein's Cruise Junkie web site contains a description of the the incident from a passenger:
". . . guest lodging on level 3 were under water, the Promenade was a titanic disaster, crew quickly left stations to report to lifeboat stations, tvs crashing, objects in cabins flying around."
The on line Cruise Critic site also had a number of similar comments by concerned passengers.
Just returned from the 2/26 Explorer of the Seas. NOT sure of how much danger we were in or how close we came to capsizing . . RCI is covering up and Stonewalling the release of any details. But we do know the Captain's 4am announcement that stated an unforeseen 100 mile per hour wind caused the pilot "to lose control" of the ship causing it to list, causing all the loose items in the cabin to go flying about the cabin, cause enough breakage in the liquor store to force it not to open did not instill any confidence in us. Cruisers on the 6th deck reported their balconies almost touching the water. We suspect the list was greater than the 10 degrees reported. What was wrong with the meteorological and navigational equipment that the weather conditions were unknown? We heard but could not confirm that two people were reportedly thrown from the hot tub resulting in a broken knee and a broken toe ..
Most accounts by passengers estimate the list between 10 and 15 degrees.
Perhaps the most straight forward comments about this most recent incident came from another Cruise Critic reader:
Royal Caribbean has suffered through the past many years with a reputation of being less than transparent with environmental infractions and crimes on its fleet of cruise ships. In instances like this, the cruise line needs to issue a detailed statement of the facts of the incident so that U.S. passengers can understand what happened. There are detailed reports of the wind and wave conditions, and the cruising public needs to know what happened and whether there is a glitch in the automatic piloting system on the cruise ship. This will avoid all of the speculation and may assist Royal Caribbean finally taking some much needed steps to improve its corporate image.
This cruise line's PR spokesperson is Cynthia Martinez. Her LinkedIn profile lists her as the "Manager of Corporate Communications (Crisis) at Royal Caribbean." Her duties include providing "communications guidance and counsel during crisis situations involving issues such as: environmental, litigations, health & medical, weather, marine and hotel operations, onboard accidents and alleged crimes."
Why hasn't the public heard from Ms. Martinez regarding this incident?
Ms. Martinez does not respond to inquiries for information from our firm. Perhaps if a passenger makes an inquiry directly, some factual information will be forthcoming - although I would not hold my breath.
Her email is CynthiaMartinez@rccl.com
We will be looking into this matter further. If you were a passenger on this cruise ship, we would like to hear your comments about the experience and how the incident was handled by the cruise line, good or bad.
March 15 Update:
One reader who was on the cruise made the folowing assessment: "The entire incident made me question who the cruise ship reports it to, if anyone. I didn't see a thing about it in the press. The whole system seems very lax and a disaster waiting to happen. I have a background in insurance and it seems that the cruise line takes risks everywhere."
Explorer of the Seas Wickipedia
Wind Sea & Swell Charts Ocean Wave Systems