FlowRider: Royal Caribbean Opts for Excitement Over Safety - Expect More Injuries

Royal Caribbean President Adam Goldstein has a strange article this past week on his Sea Views blog. It's about his cruise line's "FlowRider" attraction, where passengers attempt to boogie board or surf on a thin water streaming at a high speed across the surface of the attraction.

We have written a number of articles about the FlowRider and the numerous serious injuries (and one death) which have occurred on Royal Caribbean cruise ships. Read: Wipeout! Liability of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for FlowRider Accidents.

Notwithstanding the danger, CEO Goldstein writes that Royal Caribbean "recently loosened the reins a Royal Caribbean Cruise FlowRiderbit as it relates to the tricks guests are permitted to perform on our FlowRider® surf simulators."

Goldstein explains that in 2012, "in an effort to find the right balance between excitement and safety we had tightened up our rules in 2012. Maybe a little too much . . . " But it seems that the cruise line has now opted for a bit less safety and more fun. The cruise executive writes: 

"As of this summer, guests are able to try various types of fun tricks such as sitting, 180 degree turn, facing opposite direction, lazy boy, drop knee, drop knee 360, layback, boogie shuvit, baseball catcher, 360, skiing, show pony, rail slide, basic ollie, pop shuvit, heel side stall and the toe side stall . . ."

Expect more injuries and more lawsuits. And you'll never see a photo of Goldstein risking breaking his neck on the FlowRider.

President Goldstein spins the surfing attraction by telling the story of a young ten year old cruise passenger who learned to surf on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship and is now the "World Flowboard" champion.  Good for her.

But here is where the story gets weird. The letter that Goldstein posts on his blog, and supposedly was written by the child, states that an officer on the ship "called me over and asked if I had completed my activities waiver."  (Do children really write like this?) The officer then allegedly checks the child in and she starts to FlowRide!

The troubling thing is that children can't execute waivers, an officer can't complete the waiver on behalf of a child, and the waiver is illegal in the first place.

Our firm handled the case where the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal struck the cruise line's "activities waiver" down, holding that it is unlawful and cannot be used against injured FlowRider participants on the high seas.

There are also design defects in the FlowRider, we allege, which most participants don't realize.

It's a sad spectacle watching a cruise CEO hawk FlowRider cruises by mentioning children signing activity waivers that the courts have ruled to be void and unenforceable.

 

Photo Credit: Jim Walker

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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Oh please... - September 30, 2013 4:08 PM

Oh please please please...let Goldstein and Fein do this. It would be one way toget rid of the dead leadership weight!

Laura Nash - October 3, 2013 11:43 AM

Dear Mr. Walker,

Hello, I was just reading your comments, and I just wanted to clear up one part of your concerns within your commentary. My daughter, Xana-Kai Nash, who is mentioned in the above article did write the blog for the RCCL blog site, she is a huge fan of the cruise line. Probably this is why it sounds like she signed the waiver, but in fact she didn'twe did. Our whole family was there watching, and my husband and I, of course, signed the waivers for both of our children and ourselves as we all enjoyed the flowrider that day. I am sorry if her blog was confusing or led you to believe that she signed a waiver, but she is a child and the blog was 100% her writing and her blog.

Jim Walker - October 3, 2013 12:28 PM

Ms. Nash:

Thank you for your comments. Congratulations on your daughter's success. Thanks for clearing that up. I suppose the point of the article is that the "activities waiver" is unlawful and unenforceable. No one should think that they have to sign one on a cruise ship.

Wishing your daughter continued success,

Jim Walker

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