Drowning Tragedy Aboard the Norwegian Breakaway: Where Are the Lifeguards?

NCL Norwegian BreakawayNews broke tonight that two small children were pulled from a pool from NCL's Norwegian Breakaway as the cruise ship was sailing from New York to the Bahamas this morning. 

Both children were unresponsive. The younger child (age 4) died on the cruise ship. The other child (age 6) reportedly was medevaced by the U.S. Coast Guard accompanied by his grandmother a nurse from the ship.   

WBTW aired a video (below) of the sad events.

This is the third event in the last nine months involving children who have drowned or were permanently injured in cruise ship swimming pools.

The first tragedy involved a young child (also 4 yeas old) who slipped under the water on the Disney Fantasy cruise ship and sustained brain damage. You can read our articles below:

Dangerous Disney Cruise Ship Swimming Pool: Thoughts from a Concerned Cruiser

Imperfect Parents & Corporate Irresponsibility: Why No Lifeguards on Disney Cruise Ships?

Swimming Pool Mishap on Disney Fantasy Sends 4 Year Old to Hospital

To Disney's credit, it subsequently began to assign lifeguards to the swimming pools on its cruise ships.

The second recent event involved the death of a young child who drowned on the Carnival Victory.  Our article is below:

6 Year Old Drowns on Carnival Victory Cruise Ship

There is never an excuse when a child drowns in a swimming pool operated by an amusement park or cruise ship. Protecting children is the joint obligation of the parents and cruise line. There needs to be a combination of both personal responsibility and corporate responsibility to take care of kids around a pool.  

The Breakaway is suppose to be one of the newer and bigger cruise ships NCL offers to the public.  It is a shame that NCL decided not to assign lifeguards to the pool from where the children were eventually pulled unconscious.  What lesson did NCL learn from the Disney and Carnival tragedies?

The cruise industry will collect between $35 and $40 billion a year, tax free, but NCL won't assign lifeguards to the public pools?      

NCL apologized. However, cruising families with children deserve reasonable care exhibited by the cruise lines and lifeguards to watch over the public pools, not after-the-fact apologies.   

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Dickelbers

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Comments (71) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
arhillbilly - February 3, 2014 11:53 PM

Where were the parents? There are signs everywhere around the pool areas that there are no lifeguards. Children, small children especially, should be supervised and should have never been around the adult pool. Parents need to tend to their children instead of just letting them run wild

Jim Walker - February 4, 2014 12:12 AM

Parents and corporations together must protect children. Signs are meaningless to children. A sign doesn't protect children. And a sign doesn't exonerate a cruise line or other owner of a pool.

Hippygirl - February 4, 2014 1:08 AM

I agree that the child's guardians are at fault here, but why are there no security measures? If I want a pool in my fenced yard, I am still required to have a fence directly around the pool, unless my yard fence is 8ft. Or higher. Why not gate these pools so kids can't accidentally get it.
Of course, I think cruising with kids is just stupid.

Michael - February 4, 2014 5:02 AM

Fence? Accidentally? Do you think both of these children accidentally got into the pool? Parents can read signs. Parents should be responsible.

Lori Godissart Coble - February 4, 2014 5:49 AM

Everyone complains about there being no lifeguards but eve. When I take my child somewhere and there are lifeguards my eyes are always on her, this is the child's parents/guardians fault!!

sandi - February 4, 2014 6:22 AM

No, adult pools do not have to have lifeguards! They are not for children and clearly say so on the signs. My fear is that if cruise lines put lifeguards then the parents will surely feel comfortable enough to walk away because it's "someone else's responsibility".
"Oh I can go up to the bar or buffet because the lifeguard is watching." No it doesn't work like that, the parents should be responsible.
I was on the Gem just this past week and I couldn't believe how many parents are just in their own world while the children are all over the place. And the people who have their 2-3 year olds out at the lounges till 1am made me sick. I watched these two toddlers almost get stepped on, crushed on the dance floor around midnight. Put your children to bed, you are selfish!

Gl Greene - February 4, 2014 7:43 AM

I agree with Hippygirl. I don't understand why the cruise lines allow anyone under 18 on a cruise ship. Parents just let their kids run wild anyway and look what happens. And on the other end there ought to be a way to keep old people with medical issues off the ships too. Jim, is there some legal way this can be done? Is is possible to regulate this via U.S law?

Jim Walker - February 4, 2014 8:29 AM

Sandi: You make a compelling argument why cruise lines should employ lifeguards around the pools.

Heli - February 4, 2014 8:38 AM

I totally blame the parents /gaurdians , I have been on cruises and in the pool with children and no parents around. I will ask the child where their parents are and have been shocked when the child says " mom and dad are getting lunch " or " mom went to the room to get something" . Do parents assume that those of us in the pool will watch their child? I always was in the pool with my child and they always had life jackets on when younger. I also did not lounge on a lounger with a drink in one hand and a book in the other. When I found a child in the pool with no adult around, I reported it to an employee. We were in Whistler this summer and I was amazed how many parents sent their children to the pool and watched from their balconies with drinks in hand. I yelled up to one mother and asked " do you expect me to watch your children in the pool ?" to which she reply " if you don't mind , thanks" If these parents were at a friends pool or their own, do they expect a lifeguard there also? Do not take your children on holidays if you don't want to watch them.

Carol - February 4, 2014 8:51 AM

I just got off a 12 day cruise on the Breakaway. The children were definitely not int the kids area! They have a big Nickelodeon area where the kids can have fun. The had to be in the adult area unattended by their parents!!! Lifeguards will only make parents more unattentive to their children. They have a free Splash club. Put your kids in there if you don't want to watch them. The staff will attend to them and the parents can enjoy themselves without something like this happening!

Guglielmo - February 4, 2014 9:18 AM

There are plenty of signs on every cruise ship I've ever been on that explicitly say, "No lifeguard on duty."

Charles mathias - February 4, 2014 9:41 AM

The NCL Breakaway sailed Sun. Feb. 2nd from New York. I would think it would be too cold on Mon., on the Atlantic, for these two children to be swimming. Was it a enclosed pool? It sounds like the children may have been crusing with the grandparents. So sad.

alva allan - February 4, 2014 9:57 AM

I dont care where I'm at its not easy to take my eyes off my son. Some cruise lines have babysitting or supervision for kids while adults could enjoy a lil alone time but someone working from the cruise line should always monitor places where costly accidents could occur or it could cost alot of money to secure the reputation if anyone cares

Helen - February 4, 2014 10:20 AM

I totally agree that if it is an adult pool then there should not be any children there.
That is why they have a Children's program on ships.If you don't want to supervise your child and can't afford to put them in the kid's program then stay home.
I have been on cruises where in addition to the large adult only pool there has been a small adults only area with a small pool.there were kids there too!
We complained to the staff and the kids were escorted out!
Clearly parents don't care and expect others do look after them.
God forbid they have lifeguards on board then the parents will have a free babysitter for the whole cruise.
Someone then will have to look after them and feed them.

Best cruises are the ones where children are not allowed or where the cruise lines encourage the passengers not to bring their children as there are no programs for them.

I have grown children now,love kids but I looked after mine and didn't expect anyone to do that for me.That was my responsibility !

Diana - February 4, 2014 10:41 AM

Blaming the cruise line is beyond ridiculous. Where were the parents. THat is who is responsible! Take personal responsibility!

Kristoffer - February 4, 2014 11:07 AM

The real question you should be asking is: why didn't anyone else notice the kids drowning? The answer is that media has given people an image of what drowning looks like that is so false that people often don't notice people who are actually drowning, even if it's their own children: http://kidfocused.com/what-drowning-really-looks-like/

vin - February 4, 2014 11:20 AM

why would you blame NCL?? Number one issue.. it was an ADULTS ONLY pool. Since when are their lifeguards at adult only pools on cruise ships????

Jim Walker - February 4, 2014 11:38 AM

Vin: Good point. Another reason to assign lifeguards, to keep the children out of the adult pools.

Nightnurse68 - February 4, 2014 12:37 PM

Hey, why not put lifeguards at all the hotels and motels with pools! Sounds ridiculous because it is. Cruise ships are no more than floating hotels with thousands of intoxicated strangers lerking about. People need to take responsibility for their own actions and stop blaming others.

Jim Walker - February 4, 2014 12:40 PM

Nightnurse: Also good points. Each year cruise lines make hundreds of millions of $ selling alcohol to the millions of passengers who cruise. Lifeguards are needed to oversee the safety of the pools with the thousands of drunken people, as you point out.

Gina - February 4, 2014 12:58 PM

I am on the cruise where this happened. First of all this is not an adult only pool. The hot tubs are adult only. The ultimate responsibility comes down to the adults that were supposed to be watching these kids. To say lifeguards are not needed at an adult pool is ridiculous. There are many adults who don't know how to swim. And there are also ones who do, but are drunk. The cruise ships employ many people. How about you hire a couple of lifeguards, and have 2 or 3 less people selling you drinks. It is such a tragedy.

Motive Questioner - February 4, 2014 1:16 PM

Well Jim, it seems to me that you're trying to drum up support for some sort of legal action. Instead of reading these comments as an objective, reasonable person, you are trying to fan the flames of paranoia. Every comment of yours tries to twist what EVERYONE in this thread is saying. Good luck with your class-action suit and I hope you make lots of money off the backs of these poor families.

Karen - February 4, 2014 1:17 PM

How sad, I'm amazed that these children did drown. I have cruised many times and know how many people can be in these pools at all times. I'm pretty sure that these kids didn't just fall in and sink to the bottom and drown they had to come up and gasp or cry for help. Was this after the pool closed and the kids were found awhile later? Not making sense to me? The crew was at least CPR qualified right?

Dianna - February 4, 2014 1:30 PM

I was on the Breakaway this past August. With only two small pools and one kiddie pool, there is not nearly enough swimming space for over 4000 guests. It was utter chaos. I was thankful that I only took my teenager and left my younger child at home. I would have felt constant anxiety. It is the parents responsibility to keep watch over their child and ensure their safety.

Jim Walker - February 4, 2014 1:44 PM

"Motive Questioner" - no "class action" Bubba, we have reported on prior drownings, deaths and permanent brain damage to children in cruise line pools before. We want to see all cruise lines hire qualified life guards, so nothing like this happens again.. The cruise lines collect $35 to $40 billion a year and pay no U.S. taxes. We're tired off seeing the foreign incorporated and foreign flagged cruise ships suck money from the backs of U.S. passengers and then do nothing for them when their children are harmed.

Annette - February 4, 2014 2:18 PM

Sad, but people need to watch their children more closely. Parents have nobody to blame but themselves when their most precious thing in the world drowns in a cruise pool.
Would they put a diamond ring/bracelet on the table and leave it? So why would they leave their child unattended?

I'm so disgusted.

Kristoffer - February 4, 2014 2:33 PM

Karen, as I've already pointed out, people have been influenced by the media to think that drowning looks like something it's actually not.

elena - February 4, 2014 2:42 PM

Hello, everyone,
Just want to be clear here, I sailed this ship 3 weeks ago and to tell you the truth, if the ship leave NY on Sunday, on Monday it is still cold, the ship passes NC state where it is impossible that pools would be open, I traveled with 3 small children, and believe me, there are millions of people around, I suspect that children were left unattanded and went to the pool when the pool was closed and noone were around, I think because Monday was not a good weather where they had been - Parralel to NC, second, it is impossible not to notice children if there would be people around. They have to secure the area so noone would jump to the pool, at the same time, ship is a ship in the middle of Atlantic, small children can go aboard the ship, although I was very satisfied how Norwegian actually made the balconies and those borders high enough so no child can climb, I think this is just a tragedy and adult supervision was necessary, may be they escaped and went to see the closed pool? :( very very sad, you have to watch your children 24 / 7, the have great day care program there!

Wayne - February 4, 2014 3:15 PM

Where where the parents? That goes for every incident involving children that happens onboard.

wayne - February 4, 2014 4:25 PM

this is a cruise ship designed strictly to take children on vacation. cruise ships are obligated to have trained supervision on board just like a waterpark. google how many times this happens and you will be alarmed. the second you allow children on a cruise ship, you are forced to accept responsibility for the safety and well being of those children. i can't imagine losing a child or seeing this happen while you are on this ship with your own children. cruise ships should have to start abiding by federally mandated laws or they should not be permitted to enter us waters.

dan - February 4, 2014 4:31 PM

When it all comes down to it, where were the parents. When will the people in the US stop blaming everyone else for our short comings. There is no way that a 4 year old and a 6 year old should have gone in the pool unaccompanied by a RESPONSIBLE adult.

Renee - February 4, 2014 4:33 PM

When was the last time a child went overboard? I think lifeguards are needed for the safety of the children that are not being properly watched by their parents.

Heather - February 4, 2014 5:15 PM

It is the PARENTS responsibility to care & watch over their children! NOT the Cruise Ship!!!!!! Them children were way too young to not be accompanied in ANY Pool~ It is in NO way the Cruise Ships Fault - Them Parents need a reality check & should have been responsible Parents & this would not have happened!!!!!!!!!

Annie - February 4, 2014 6:09 PM

This is definitely a tragedy, and unfortunately an avoidable one. Parents/guardians are legally responsible for their children. The cruise lines are not required to have lifeguards for the same reason hotels do not have them, parents are required to supervise their children. Sitting in a lounger with a book twenty feet away is not responsible parenting and I would hope your most precious possession deserves better. Sandi is correct, add lifeguards and parents will have no responsibility (and lawsuits would follow accordingly). I am impressed by Jim's ability to twist every comment to fit his opinion when they clearly mean the opposite.

Thomas - February 4, 2014 7:06 PM

I've seen on our last cruise aboard carnival Liberty unattended children running between pools and hot tubs. No parents in sight.This not only happens at sea, but also at your local Restaurants or mall.,

Rebecca Howell - February 4, 2014 7:07 PM

It's the parents fault. Children are not permitted to use the pools without an adult. A four year old and six year old were clearly left unattended and that is unthinkable. I have sailed on 30 cruise ship and the DO NOT have lifeguards. This is something all parents need to know. Think of it this way- when you do to a friend's pool- there is not lifeguard, it is your job to watch your kids. Even if there is a lifeguard, that doesn't mean that the parents don't need to supervise. I don't sit and read a book while my little ones are in the pool. Even with my older child- I'm constantly looking for him at our swim club- even with lifeguards on duty. I think these parents are clearly to blame and to have both kids drown is reprehensible.

Joe lauterbach - February 4, 2014 7:46 PM

Clearly the caretakers fault. If the kids were in the NCL supervised program, it should have never happened. If the kits were under the parents/grandparents control it should have never happened. I ALWAYS went with my kid into the pool on a ship (or other places) until she was ~ 10. Ever now, I still observe her constantly. Call me paranoid..... I don't want to defend the cruise line, but it is clearly the parents responsibility. Kids at that age are simply never left to be alone. But that's the direction our society is going. Blame someone else to either extract money or to not show responsibility.

Brenda - February 4, 2014 7:52 PM

Children that young should not be swimming without a life jacket or some kind of flotation device as well as parental supervision. I have five kids 22,20,9, and two year old twins. We do not take the twins on our yearly cruise because they are just too young. We cruise every year this is our 6th year cruising on breakaway this time out of NYC on March 30 with three kids 11,9,9 two families one adult is always assigned to the kids swimming or anything else. I have witness many parents letting there young kids run all over ship and stay out late with them. As I do agree there should be life guards and flotation devices available for use but the parents should be held responsible. If the kid was left alone in a swimming pool at home or a bath tub at that age and drowned they would be in trouble. Do why is a cruise ship any different!! Unfortunately they learned a terrible lesson. So sad!!

JA - February 4, 2014 8:03 PM

Well, NCL employed me as a lifeguard just because I was a diving instructor. I'm a terrible swimmer, I never received any training. and i'm certainly not a lifeguard. I had no idea what to do in a rescue situation other than 'swim out and get them'. I worked on GSC but never worked on the pool on board the ship. A friend of mine did and they weren't a lifeguard either.

I never lied about my abilities as a lifeguard, I tried to volunteer this information at my interview and was categorically told it didn't matter.

Jefferson Gutierrez - February 4, 2014 9:15 PM

Actually NCL has the entire fault of this accident, they are a big company so suppose that they have the right personnel to assist in these kind of scenarios but obviously they don't.

Ron - February 4, 2014 10:11 PM

I just got off of Breakaway for a 12 Day Cruise with my three children ages 1,5 & 8 (Hi Carol!). What happened to those children is tragic and my heart aches for their family, but to exonerate the parents from any responsibility for their own children is absurd.

The Breakaway has an awesome children's pool with about a foot of water and lots of extra splash areas. The other pools are clearly for either teens or adults. One pool is up to 5 feet or so with a graduated bottom and the other is a salt-water pool over 8 feet deep. NCL provides an ideal, shaded, fun and safe place for children for water fun (while supervised by their parents) and an excellent kid's club (where they are supervised by an wonderful staff of trained professionals).

It is shameful for ignorant people to say that children, elderly or sick people should not cruise. And it is a symptom of bigger problems with our society for people to be willing to blame NCL for not parenting passengers.

There are cameras all over the ship and I certainly hope that they release the details of this incident to the public.

(PS-Dear Jim, are liability, responsibility of watching your children and not suing for accidents stated somewhere in the legal mumbo-jumbo that passengers electronically accept under the terms and conditions of boarding?)

JP - February 4, 2014 10:26 PM

My mom was there when the child died and helped reccusitate the 6 year old. The real question is where was the emergency medical team. There's a lot they aren't telling you.

Jill - February 4, 2014 11:04 PM

When our son was 4 years old he nearly drowned. Thanks to a woman who saw him he was saved and is fine today. We were very fortunate. We aren't neglectful parents and only took our eyes off him for less then 1 minute but that's all it took. There is an amazing anti-drowning alarm sold by Suddenly Safe 'N' Secure Systems that will sound an alarm if your child falls into even 1 inch of water. It is portable and can be taken to the lake, beach or on vacation. I wish it was available when our son ran into the ocean. It is extremely dependable. It's called the Safety Angel 3. Here is the website. www.suddenlysafensecuresystems.com/

Ralph Spence - February 5, 2014 12:41 AM

Once again, we hear of sadness losing two children. Why? Because of lazy parenting and lack of taking responsibility for your own children. In our local recycling yard, their sign specifically states: "They're your children. YOU watch them." Too many parents today use TV and video games to entertain their children or pawn them off on other adults, while they go play, drink or gamble. Of course there will be a BIG lawsuit, blaming the cruise line. I feel very sorry and sad for the parents who lost two children. It's a tough lesson to learn. Bless these two children. Parents need to take sole responsibility for their children.

CHRISTOS - February 5, 2014 8:35 AM

God bless these two young children, I have been on over 70 NCL cruises and I must say that many kids run wild sometimes running into guests including elderly, and not supervise by the parents. Hotels , Cruise ships and even some Beaches don't have Life Guards it is the guardians responsibility for there children safty NCL does a great job to protect all guests ,this was a sad day I will pray for this family.

Ybadud - February 5, 2014 11:19 AM

Another case of blaming everyone and everything, ignoring the absolute responsibility of the adults that had the children on the ship. Personal responsibility! I would never let a 4 year old out of my sight...

Deb - February 5, 2014 11:55 AM

When does it end. Too many children are dying on cruises. This is a multi million dollar industry and safety is not of importance to them. Why not have life guards????? Why not emergency protocol in place for all 911 situations???? These are important questions people need to ask before you take your family on a cruise.

Ferdinando Costanzo - February 5, 2014 2:49 PM

hi I worked before with NCL ,you ask about a lifeguard around the pool ,but first need to ask to the negligent NCL how many crew member know to swim ,95% Filipino or indian do not know to swim, but for NCL are good crew, I ask how many accident, fire, norovirus death before the company stop to hiring these people and not hiring experienced people, I forget something ***MONEY *** NCL prefer pay less

CEJ - February 5, 2014 3:38 PM

I cruised on the Breakaway November 2013. No problem whatsoever. I cannot believe a 4 and 6year old was allowed to go on top of the ship and get into the adult pool. Please tell me where were the family members. These are babies. I do not blame NCL. Please let there be a follow-up to this incident. My heart goes out to the family.

Gerri - February 5, 2014 4:31 PM

Most hotels don't have lifeguards on duty so we going to force them to have lifeguards also. You are at your own risk. It is the parents responsibility to keep an eye on their kids. If the kids can not swim keep them out the pool. plain and simple.

bingbong - February 5, 2014 7:40 PM

i have worked as a senior officer 18 years for a major cruise line...still do. i can gladly say that i have never been on a ship where this has happened. reading the comments, some of which are plain stupid, the cruise line cannot be blamed. some parents these days do not take as much responsibility as they used to.....different up bringings. hotels don't have life guards, HOAs don't have them in housing community club pools, so what makes a ship different? in my opinion, it is not about paying extra to have them, ( this is minimal )it's about responsibility. what if there is a lifeguard and the lifegaurd is tending to a child playing dangerously, and in doing so misses another child drowning? Who's to blame now? The parents need to watch their children, end of story. i have a 22 month old and would never, ever let her out of my sight once she is allowed to go in the pool. i guess this a law suit website so you must expect these messages of 'it's the line's fault.' Looking fwd to more comments about this.

Stacey - February 5, 2014 7:56 PM

It is 100% the parents responsibility. The parents should be better than any lifeguard!!! I have cruised twice with my children who were 5 and 7 on our first cruise. Cruise ships have small deep pools that are often over crowded if the weather is nice. A life guard may not even notice a child under water for an excessive amount of time if the pool is crowded. My kids are always underwater. I did not let them go in without me also being in the water (not just watching from the side) and I pulled them out when it got too crowded because I was having a hard time keeping my eye on them. I love the ships with water parks and slides. The kids love it and the water is shallow. I tell them to stay together and watch them until they get to the bottom of the slides. If I want to do something without them, they go to camp!

Reb - February 5, 2014 11:11 PM

I worked on cruise lines for almost 20 years and what always amazed me is how parents think that once their child is on the ship he or she is safe. As if the ship is one big daycare center.

Ships are BIG, and dangerous! And, unless they are onboard as designated Youth Staff, it's not the crew's responsibility to watch your children. Period.

You wouldn't let your 4yr old run around alone in a shopping mall, or and airport, and expect the concession workers look after them. Why would you do it on a 130,000 ton vessel floating in the ocean?

Lori - February 6, 2014 6:58 AM

REALLY!!!!!!! I wouldn't think of taking my eyes off my child at that age when they are in a pool. I don't care if they had 10 lifeguards. That doesn't mean a thing.
People drowned all the time when there is a lifeguard present. Sometimes the lifeguard
is to stupid to recognize a drowning victim. They were with my mom. My husband and I had to save her.

Christina - February 6, 2014 8:45 AM

My husband and I were on the Jewel few weeks ago. Although we did not have kids with us but there was a crew member on top of the slide at the pool area. I assumed that he/she watching the children sliding down for a good reason. We had seen several children wandering around, kids with arm floaties, meaning there are many different kinds of parents.. We cannot judge the parents..

cathy - February 6, 2014 12:30 PM

I cruise alot, and i believe that it is neglect on the parents..after all it is their responsiblity to watch their kids...

what i do not understand, though, is this ship left ny on February 2nd...and this happened February 3rd... the ship still was in cold waters.... what were the kids doing out so early in the morning, on a cold day outside...i may be wrong, why would the pools even be filled as yet, other that they had a glass dome over the pool...

This is a brand new ship, and has tons of activities for the young children...why weren't they put into Splash Academy, where they would have been well supervised, if the parents wanted to do their own thing... this is a sad, sad tragedy, one that could have been completely avoided, if the parents were watching them responsibly....

saijo - February 6, 2014 4:46 PM

I sailed on the Breakaway in August with 3 other families. The pools were way too small for the amount of guests, even if not at full capacity. All 3 families didn't step into the pool, not even once, because there was no room. Sardines in a can!!! Whether this happened during the day or after the pool was closed, the bottom line is two children died. It is such a tragedy, and yes, I agree it is the children's parents/guardians who should have been watching their every move...

Jim Walker - February 7, 2014 9:25 AM

"BingBong:" Disney has lifeguards on its cruise ships. It's a shame that Royal Caribbean (where you work) doesn't.

Filmore - February 7, 2014 2:10 PM

bingbong: Excellent point about the liability of the ship in having lifeguards on duty. No matter what the cruise lines does - lifeguards or no lifeguards -- they will always be to blame....for everything. People today take no responsibility for their actions. It's always the fault of someone else. And, no offense to our host on this page, but our legal system thrives on and profits from this. Just saying....

Jim Walker - February 7, 2014 4:51 PM

In the last 9 months, there have been three incidents in cruise ship pools, 3 dead and one severely brain damaged children are the result.

There have been no lawsuits, and no lawyers who "thrive and profit" from these tragedies.

The only ones profiting are the cruise lines, incorporated and registered in foreign countries to avoid paying any taxes. They are profiting further by paying no lifeguards.

Disney finally assigned lifeguards to its pools, but it took a brain dead child to force them to do that.

It is so easy to bash parents and talk like Bill O'Reilly on FOX NEWS about "personal responsibility." That's just a code word trying to justify a lack of "corporate responsibility" which is required of the cruise lines by law.

All parents are perfect when some one else's child is concerned.

The goal should be preventing the next child who drowns on a cruise ship pool without a lifeguard. Responsible cruise lines, as well as responsible parents, are part of the solution.

The narrow minded trash talking, holier-than-thou types here are part of the problem.

MK - February 9, 2014 5:47 PM

I am saddened to say that I was on this cruise and witnessed this heartbreaking tragedy. While I am so very sorry for the families loss, there needs to be a reality check here. Parents / caregivers need to be responsible for their children. If there were lifeguards, parents would use them as babysitters and sue the cruise line when something happens. The children had no "swimmies" or flotation devices on and the Grandmother was sitting in front of me in the smoking room. The view of the pool was blocked by the elevated hot tubs. There was NO view of the pool from there. The ship does, in fact, have a children's wading pool with a play area that has little slides and sprays water everywhere. The children were not part of the Cruislines FREE splash down program which provides amazing supervision to the children in their care.The children were in the adult pool completely unsupervised. She remained unaware of the situation even as shrills of horror were abound. This heartbreaking tragedy will haunt the memories of the countless passengers that witnessed it. May God bless the INNOCENT family members through this tragic time and forgive the irresponsible grandmother who is entirely to blame. I hope the smoke was worth it!

Sheri - February 10, 2014 5:01 PM

MK - Instead of grandma smoking while the kids were swimming, I propose another scenario. The kids were told to sit and wait for grandma to return. 4-year old got too close to the edge of the pool and fell in. 6-year old jumped in to rescue him. It was extremely windy, and it is not out of left field for this to have happened. Had there been a lifeguard, both boys would be alive today. This scenario is much different than the one you just painted - boys swimming in the pool and grandma leaving them to have a smoke. I think it is disgusting that anyone can sit here and point fingers at another human being unless you saw and heard everything that happened. 2nd hand accounts are worthless.

Maura - February 10, 2014 8:06 PM

I happened to be on the Breakaway. The tragedy was felt by all on the ship. The question everyone was asking is the one I see in these comments over and over-- Where were the parents/guardians? The tragedy should be a lesson to all; however, even after the accident my mom and I witnessed little ones running around with no parents in sight.

The Cruise Director, having had to make the announcements regarding the event, was calm and collected-- professional.

I do not think it right that the cruise line most likely will be sued over this event. I do not think that parents/guardians should assume no responsibility for their lack of action regarding the care of their own.

SOMETHING GOOD MUST COME FROM TRAGEDY: PARENTS/GUARDIANS KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR OWN; NCL MIGHT CONSIDER POSTING A CREW MEMBER TO TELL LITTLE ONES TO GO TO THEIR POOL; CONTRACTS BETWEEN CRUISERS WITH CHILDREN AND THE CRUISE LINES REGARDING ACCOUNTABILITY/RESPONSIBILITY.

I DO NOT PLACE ANY BLAME ON NCL.

Let's all just learn something this time.

LMY - February 10, 2014 10:39 PM

Glad I read this. I was unsure how the whole thing happened. I really don 't think it makes a difference if she left them swimming or just left them at the side of the pool and told them to stay put while she smoked. Anyone reading this know a child that age that doesn't listen all the time?? I do....plenty of them!!!! So if anyone defends this selfish grandmother for leaving the kids to fulfill her nasty habit probably shouldn't have kids themselves!!!! YOU DO NOT LEAVE YOUR KIDS UNATTENDED FOR ANNNNNNYYYYY REASON!!!! The poor 6 year old will have to live with the death of the younger one and I do agree that while lifeguards may help the situation all around for anyone swimming on board a ship....I also agree that it will be a further invitation for lazy parents and caretakers to ignore their children more! If you don't want to take care of your kids....LEAVE THEM HOME WITH A SUITABLE CARETAKER!

SC - February 20, 2014 11:06 PM

My husband and I were on this cruise. The tragic event was horrible. It was an accident, avoidable yes, but an accident. What were all the people doing around the pool when the boys were in the water? Yes, it is the responsibility of the guardians to provide supervision and floatation devices but I can't that the boys couldn't have been helped by someone close by.

Parents... Teach your kids how to swim at an early age.
Watch your kids when they are near/in water.
Provide them with floatation devices even
THEY think they're "Olympic swimmers".
Other Swimmers... Be aware of people swimming around
you and what's "happening" around you.

This was an accident that could have been avoided. The family has lost a child, nearly two! NCL took immediate responsible action to get the 6 yr. old to a medical care facility as quickly as possible. Thank you Marines for the phenomenal rescue!

My sympathy to the family of the lost child and I hope your 6 yr. old is recovering well.



Kevin - February 22, 2014 2:40 PM

The parents or grandmother will probably blame NCL, they tell you to watch your kids at all times.....when you don't...this kind of sadness occurs.....it is sad, but the parents/grandmother deserve a good bitching out, for caring so little for a 4-6 year olds to let them go and do what they want, and not follow the rules of the ship

JD - February 25, 2014 2:04 PM

I was on this cruise as well and my husband and I witnessed it from the deck overlooking the pool our children were in the Splash Academy at the time. I am a former lifeguard and lifeguard instructor. In all my years in the aquatics field, I never witnessed one drowning. Yes, distressed swimmers, but nothing like what we saw on the ship. The argument is that there are signs that say the pool is unattended and to swim at your own risk and that children should know to only enter the tiny Spongebob-esque kiddy swimming area. By that logic, there shouldn't be lifeguards anywhere, at any pool or lake or beach because why? Because "signs" should keep everyone safe. Those children were floating around in there for God knows how long with people swimming around them. A lifeguard would have averted the entire incident, a family would still have their precious little boy, and myself and all the other passengers who sadly witnessed it would have not had our hearts broken and our vacations ruined.

My son is four. My heart has ached every day since for the mother of those boys.

Bill Corcoran - February 27, 2014 3:09 PM

I was present as well when the boy drowned on the NCL Breakaway ship. Sometime previous to the incident as I walked by the pools it appeared that the deep and shallow pools were connected with only a small retainer wall or separation piece that (looked easily breech able) was between them. If someone can confirm this I would appreciate. If true I feel this design is inherently dangerous. The other point is that several blame the drowning on parents. I say even if they were at fault its a child's life that is at stake here.
This can happen again. Actually two boys were lifeless during this incident.Children should not be lost this way because of this. We need lifeguards at these pools.

carisa - March 8, 2014 12:19 PM

wow!!! amazed by all the stupid comments blaming the parents. I have sailed on this ship with my two 6 year old twin boys. First of all this is a nick themed cruise that means its designed for young kids. We went on the 3rd sailing last may when the ship was brand new. I never saw one life jacket for kids that don't know how to swim. I feel a company that makes millions of dollars can afford a couple dozen life jackets. My husband and I never take our eyes off our kids while they are at the pool areas. My one son is a runner meaning in a split second he can be gone even with two sets of eyes on him at all times and with so many people in these areas on sea days you cant see anything they should have several lifeguard's on duty extra eyes lets face it they can afford it. these kids didn't drown in there on backyard could you imagine going on a vacation and not coming back with your child. I do watch other parents when we travel and a lot of people don't watch there kids I agree 100% they sit back with a book on a chair near these areas as if that's what they paid to do go on vacation but there is a fine line when traveling with small children your not on vacation if you want to sit back and relax leave the kids home. But one the other hand I 100% blame ncl for this the fact that i read some where it took 7 minutes for crew members too respond to this that's insane they should have several people at these areas that know how to preform cpr at all times my god a full grow adult could need cpr forget about small children. god bless the family maybe ncl will learn from this and make the changes they need to make so people feel safe. I have the right to travel with my kids and when your paying a major corporation thousands of dollars to travel with their company you should feel that they are doing everything they can to insure the safety of all there guest not just kids period

Sharon - April 16, 2014 10:49 PM

@Carisa. Shame on you for giving the guardian of these children a pass for being irresponsible. It is clearly her fault. Not anyone else's. When you pay for a cruise it doesn't mean the crew should constantly babysit your child. This is a floating hotel not a floating daycare. If you don't want to watch them then don't take them. If you do need some time there is a "FREE", I repeat FREE splash academny for children from ages 3-12. My husband and I just got back from a cruise on NCL with our 4 year old grandson and he had a ball. He went to the splash academy everyday to play with the other kids and we took him to the kids pool every day. I noticed parents whose young children wanted to play at the kids pool being convinced by their parents to go to the other pool because they did not want to stay there and watch them. This tragedy is so so sad but good parenting would have prevented it. People need to start taking responsibility for their actions or lack there of and stop trying to always blame someone else. You do it you own it. My heart goes out to this family because this really is a hard lesson to learn.

Sherri - November 29, 2014 12:38 PM

I have read every single comment on this story, and although I or any member of my family has never been on a cruise ship here is what I think: #!: The primary fault no matter what other circumstances are at play here lie with the parents/legal guardians of minor children under the age of 18 at ALL times in ALL areas on a vessel. #2:All cruise ships that allow minor children to sail with them should also make every possible effort to ensure that each, and every area on that vessel is safe at ALL times, in ALL areas.
See are similarity here? While all parents/guardian's have the responsibility to be with their child at all times, it is also the cruise ship's responsibility to provide every available resource to ensure that these parents have what they need to keep their minor safe, and alive. No parent takes their child on a cruise initially to ignore them, or have "built in babysitter's" at their disposal 24/7. Come on seriously? In order for a tragedy such as this to have happened there would have been a number of things that would have taken place to get to that point where a child has been left unsupervised, and sadly then drowns in a pool. Contributing factors are the problem here or we wouldn't have found ourselves here on this page discussing it. This isa very sad tragic accident that this 4 year old boy is no longer sharing this life with his loved ones. :(

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