In my opinion, the answer is simple: cruise lines are cutting corners to increase profits. Plus, cruise lines face no legal consequence if the child dies. The cruise industry doesn't face financial accountability because a child's life has no financial worth under the Death on the High Seas Act.
Lots of cruise fans like to assign 100% fault on the parents. However, that won't prevent children from drowning in unattended cruise ship pools in the future. Cruise lines have a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care to keep kids safe. Not hiring a lifeguard is reckless. A warning sign by itself won't work. Kids don't pay attention to signs. Some kids can't even read. Small children can't comprehend the risks involved, especially if they can't swim.
The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) says that it attempts to manage pool safety for kids only by using signs. It's a flawed policy that will ensure that children drown while on cruise vacations.
Cruise Critic says that Royal Caribbean is adding a $10 surcharge for kids and parents to dine with the cruise line's DreamWorks characters at breakfast on the Oasis, Allure, Freedom, Liberty, Voyager, and Mariner of the Seas.
According to Cruise Critic, "character breakfasts" have been free since Royal Caribbean first launched them in 2010.
However, starting September 1st, the cruise line will charge the fee to any passenger over 5 years old.
The first three comments on Cruise Critic summed up my thoughts perfectly:
"I'm glad my grandson was able to do the breakfast last year. RCCL is getting greedy."
"Disappointed with RCCL. More nickel and dimeing . . ."
"Just another way to nickel and dime you . . ."
For a mom and dad and with 2 kids over 5 years old, the cruise line charge will come to $40 a day to have breakfast with Shrek (photographed with Adam Goldstein).
It is particularly greedy for Royal Caribbean to nickel and dime their little guests considering that just last week we reported that cruise CEO's Fain and Goldstein have a combined net worth over $100,000,000 on their cruise line operations and are getting richer.
I'd be tempted to move up to Disney Cruise Line and have have my kids meet and greet Micky Mouse and Cinderella for free.
The incident occurred on the Disney Dream cruise ship before it departed Port Canaveral for a Caribbean cruise. The crew member followed the child into an elevator and "repeatedly grabbed her breast through her clothes and forcibly kissed her on the mouth as he cornered her in an elevator on the Disney Dream."
The news station states that Disney knew what happened, and had video evidence substantiating the child's account. But it chose not to promptly report the crime to the local police in Florida. Instead, it reported the crime the next day, after the ship was headed to the Bahamas. The news station accuses Disney of lying and trying to cover the incident up. Once the cruise ship reached the Bahamas, the crew member - identified as Milton Braganza from India (photo bottom) - eventually admitted to molesting the child. Disney then flew the crew member home to India, at the cruise line's expense, rather than arrange for him to return to Florida to be arrested.
In our experiences over the years, we have seen cruise ships delay reporting crimes to the FBI and local law enforcement authorities in the U.S. Disney registers its cruise ships in the Bahamas to avoid U.S. taxes and wages and safety laws. By delaying the reporting of the alleged crime, Disney was able to avoid the U.S. investigation into the incident while making certain that any investigation was handled only by the Bahamas which, theoretically can investigate shipboard crimes because Disney cruise ships fly Bahamian flags of convenience.
The news reporter who covered the story, Tony Pipitone, stated in a promotional piece: "Find out what happened to the 33-year-old man who avoided investigation in Florida, thanks in part to his employer's inaction."
Pipitone, referred to Disney having "conflicting accounts of what it knew [and] when it knew it." He mentioned that "he talked to Port Canaveral police, who say they would have liked to know about the crime, which the cruise line didn't report promptly."
Sexual abuse of children during cruises, including Disney cruises, is something we have written about at length here on our blog:
Disney Cruise Line has kicked off its promotion of the Disney Wonder cruise ship sailing from Miami starting December 23, 2012.
Fort Lauderdale's Sun Sentinel newspaper reports today that "Captain Mickey Mouse officially kicked-off the countdown for the arrival of the Disney Wonder to PortMiami with a Disney-style unveiling of a larger than life banner proclaiming “See You Real Soon.”
This will be the first time a Disney cruise ship has home-ported in South Florida.
Readers of my blog will recall that the Disney Wonder has a rather notorious history as the cruise ship from which a young English woman "disappeared" last year.
In March 2011, twenty-four year old Disney crew member Rebecca Coriam somehow "vanished" from the Wonder while it was sailing on a Mexican itinerary from Southern California. The Coriam family feels that Disney has been less than forthcoming with information regarding their daughter's situation. They believe that the cruise line has not cooperated with them in finding out exactly what happened on the Disney cruise ship.
Because Disney flagged its ship in the Bahamas to avoid taxes and labor laws, official responsibility for investigating disappearances from Bahamian flagged ship falls to the Bahamas. A single policeman from the Bahamas investigated Rebecca's disappearance. The investigation took only a few hours. The Bahamas refuses to provide the Coriams with the results of its investigation and is concealing the official report from them. Disney refuses to release information to the family saying that they must obtain the information from the Bahamas which, Disney know, won't cooperate at all.
A sorry state of affairs with these foreign incorporated cruise lines sailing under foreign flags of convenience concealing information from grieving families.
By the way, Rebecca was employed as a youth counselor for Disney. You'd think that a corporation touting "family cruises" and promoting special vacations for kids would try to get to the bottom of the disappearance of a youth counselor whose job was to take care of children, as well as being sensitive and transparent with the employee's family. Think again.
Below is a video about how cruise lines cover up disappearances at sea, of both passengers and crew. The Coriam family is interviewed and so am I. Ask yourself whether Disney will be transparent with you if your daughter disappears from the Disney Wonder when it sails out of Miami next month.
Do you know what happened to Rebecca? Please contact her family: Web: Rebecca-Coriam.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maritime & admiralty lawyer & attorney James M. Walker of Walker & O'Neill Law Firm, offering services related to injuries, sexual assaults, fires, negligence, rapes & disappearances on cruise ships, pirate & terrorist attacks, missing passengers, shore excursions, wrongful death and the Jones Act, serving cruise passengers, crew members, cabin attendants, utility workers, waiters, bar tenders, ship doctors and cleaners on cruise ships worldwide.
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