Death on a Fun Ship: What Really Happened on the Carnival Liberty?

Inconsistent information is emerging regarding the death of a passenger aboard the Liberty cruise ship operated by Carnival cruise line.

On  November 20th we wrote about the Passenger Death On Carnival Liberty Cruise Ship based on information from a local news station in Miami - WSVN -7.  After posting our article, we received a number of comments from passengers on the cruise indicating that the FBI treated the cabin as a crime scene.  Some passengers conveyed disturbing information, suggesting that the passenger may have been beaten and murdered.

No one other than the Miami Herald initially covered the story.  Unfortunately, the Miami Herald, a friend of the cruise industry, is known for looking the other way when things go wrong on Miami-based cruise Carnival Liberty Cruise Ship - Death - Murder - Fun Shipsships. Its skimpy article regarding the death involves little more than a quote from Carnival's PR department:  Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said in a statement that "evidence suggests [the death] was medical related. In respect to the privacy of our guests, we are not able to release specifics on the nature of the medical condition.''

Some of the passengers are critical of the lack of basic information released by Carnival.  Its official statement that the death was "medical related" (aren't all deaths medically related?) raises more questions than provides answers. There are plenty of ways a cruise line can release information about shipboard incidents without violating an individual's privacy rights. 

The issue of the cruise industry's lack of transparency has been a topic of Congressional inquiry over the last five years, and cases like this one make it look like the cruise line has something to hide.  One of the readers of our blog, "Tomm," left the following comment:

".  .  .  do Carnival spokespeople think that we are ignorant? The FBI does not show up to medical crime scenes and stay there ALL day and then take bags of evidence with them as they leave. I have video of it that I will download Tuesday for others to see. I know things will happen when thousands of people are gathered but let's get some regulations passed so Marshalls are on board and people can have access to information.

Was this a violent crime, or a death due to a medical condition as Carnival wants everyone to believe?  Home of the "fun ships," Canival does not like publicity like this and wants everyone to forget about it.

Let's hope that other passengers and crew member on the cruise can provide additional information regarding this incident. 

If you have information, please leave a comment below.

November 24 Update:

A reader of Cruise Law News, Tomm, posted his video of what looks like eight FBI agents leaving the cruise ship in St. Thomas, taking with them bags of evidence.  The video is below. 

 

 

Photo credit:  Fodors

Video credit:  PTOMM100  Youtube

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Comments (20) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
DeDe - November 23, 2010 12:39 PM

The picture located in this article isn't of the Liberty. My husband and I were on the ship as well. FBI was still there when we boarded at 6:00pm that evening. We were delayed an hour getting off ship in St. Thomas. I think something terrible happened in the cabin, we just haven't heard the whole story yet. As for us, we will cruise Carnival again, with no worries.

Jim Walker - November 23, 2010 1:55 PM

DeDe:

Thanks for your message. You're right, the photo is not of the Liberty. I was just using an image of a "fun ship."


Jim Walker

Alex R. - November 24, 2010 1:49 AM

I was on this cruise as well and its true we were delayed getting off the ship and they kept telling us that they needed the local authorities to clear the ship. But the cruise director never told the customers that something was wrong. I found out by one of the crew members that some had been killed in one of the rooms on the 7th floor.

That was very sad!
:(

G Liner - November 24, 2010 7:40 AM

We were on the Liberty and would like to know just what happened. Being on a floating city with people from all over the world encompassing the entire socio-economic scale, something like this probably happens more than we would care to know.

Nisha - November 24, 2010 10:22 AM

I was on the cruise as well along with my family. It is true we were delayed getting off when we docked in St. Thomas. The cruise director came on the loud speaker and said that we had to wait until local authorities cleared the ship (we didn't think anything of this). It was not until maybe an hour later when the director came back on and announced there had been a death onboard and he appreciated everyone's patience while the local authorites cleared the ship. There were so many stories circulating as too what had happened. I did however see the body being carted off the ship when we returned from our excursion around 6:00 p.m. This was several hours later from when we initially docked in St. Thomas. Whether this was a homicide or the individual died of natural causes it is very sad and my prayers are with the family.

Anon - November 24, 2010 2:56 PM

My family was also aboard the Carvival Liberty during the time this unfortunate incident occurred. We had a cabin on the 7th floor. We were awakened around 4am by a female voice on the loudspeaker "Operation Lifeguard to the Hospital". Having been trained in emergency situations, I knew this was a code for all medical personnel and those trained in first aid to report to the infirmary. The next morning we were delayed disembarking the ship in St. Thomas for 1 hour. The cruise director announced they were waiting the local authorities to clear the ship before we could begin our excursion. After approximately one hour I witnessed two armed officers board the ship and make their way through the stairwell. Shortly the cruise director announced that authorities have boarded the ship due to the unfortunate passing of a passenger and that we were clear to disembark. Later that evening I chatted with someone "in the know". The FBI in plain clothes was pointed out to me and was told that a married couple got into an altercation and the female was stabbed to death. The scene was covered in blood and room was in complete disarray. Another "person of interest" was also detained. I do not know the story that led to this tragedy. In my opinion it is incomprehensible that it is trying to be swept under the rug. I will not cruise with Carnival again. The way they are treating this is a dishonor to this lady that died a horrible death.

Pauline Fineman - November 24, 2010 3:28 PM

Mr Walker. As an attorney, you spend an enormous amount of time on sensationism rather than fact. You appear to enjoy stirring up the pot. Quoting the National Enquirer of local TV, WSVN, doesn't add credibility to your blog.

The video is inconclusive as it doesn't show what the FBI had in their possession when they left or what they brought on. Video's only value is to confirm the FBI was aboard the ship somewhere, sometime.

Jim Walker - November 24, 2010 7:59 PM

Ms. Fineman:

WSVN is rather dramatic, as you accurately note. It is, after all, the local station in Miami where Rick Sanchez (Mr. Hot Dog!) started out. But the fact of the matter is that this local station broke a story about the passenger death first. So I gave them the credit. If it were up to the cruise line, there would be no story at all.

There is nothing remotely "National Enquirer" about their story. They reported a passenger died and the FBI reported that it might be a homicide. 100% factual.

Would you prefer "reputable" newspapers like the Miami Herald which are in the pocket of the cruise industry and simply repeat the misleading press statements of Carnival and the other Miami cruise lines which pay the Herald lots of money in advertisement revenue?

Yes I like "stirring the pot." I try hard to at least. It is always nice to stir a little truth into the pot, rather than see all the sheep follow the corporate PR drivel. If you don't like the truth of unpleasant stories like this, stick to the Miami Herald.

Thanks again for reading and your comment.

Jim Walker

Jessica - November 27, 2010 8:39 PM

Any new developments? I was on this cruise and have been watching your blog daily for updates.

JD - December 2, 2010 12:13 PM

We heard them say "Operation Ragdoll" over the loudspeaker at around 5am. We heard the same rumors as everyone else. A relative did see bags and a white robe marked as evidence in the medical facility around 8AM.

I am also very curious why nothing has been published. Perhaps it was an accident because you'd think a murder would garner some sort of press.

Pierre - December 6, 2010 1:03 AM

I'm going on the Liberty on Saturday Dec 11. Does anyone know the cabin number where this happened? Just making sure its not mine!!

JD - December 6, 2010 10:18 PM

Somewhere on deck 7 as far as I know. Have fun, I had never been on a cruise before and had an absolute blast.

Family Friend - December 30, 2010 10:43 PM

I am a friend of the victim's family. I can not release any information that the FBI has passed on to them or any other information. On behalf of the family to those that have been thinking and praying for her family, a big, sincere "THANK AND BLESS YOU" is being sent your way. To those that are mainly concerned with "facts" and cabin number, maybe you need to step back and take a look at what matters the most in life. This lady is a daughter, sister, niece, cousin and friend. PLEASE keep the family in your prayers.
Thank you!

HB - January 2, 2011 3:31 PM

Can anyone give the approx room number of where this occured?

Carol - January 4, 2011 4:33 PM

I was on this ship when this lady lost her life and we were not aware of what the situation was until we got back home... I agree 100% with the family friend that the loss of this woman is and what should be the foremost important thing.. I am booked again on this ship in a few weeks and knowing what had taken place I never even once thought of what room I would be in...There was something terrible happen on the ship but it could have happened anywhere and short of living in a bubble you cant stay completely clear of it.. My condolences go out to all that knew this woman..

Tomm - November 14, 2011 1:12 AM

Hi Jim, I can see you are a busy man with all of the messes being made internationally with irresponsible cruise liners but I was just wondering if you happened to know anything more about the disasterous death of this young woman? I have not been able to shake this since we got home and will definitely look for other ways to vacation in the future.

Jim Walker - November 14, 2011 7:47 AM

Tomm: Thanks for your comment, but I do not have any information . . . Jim Walker

Casper - January 13, 2012 2:16 AM

My close family member just got back from this cruise and they went through a strange experience in the suite on 7th floor...
It was reported a blonde short lady was seen on the balcony and people who stayed in the room had sleepless nights due to their very horrible nightmares

Newbs - October 9, 2012 9:14 AM

Im about to sail the liberty - any news on what happened here???

David - May 9, 2013 2:23 PM

I too, was a passenger on this cruise and I keep surfing the web for any information regarding the tragedy of this young woman, but 2 1/2 years later we still do not know the truth of what happened on the Liberty in 2010.

I feel that Carnival owes it to their passengers to be honest about what happens aboard their ships. Untimely deaths, occur more than I had ever imagined.

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