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

Danger on the High Seas - Royal Caribbean's Deadly FlowRider

Watch the video of the FlowRider at the top.  Looks like fun doesn't it?  The rider surfs on the water and never wipe-outs. Easy right?

Not at all. The person in the video is a skilled and experienced Royal Caribbean employee who has spent many hours riding the FlowRider.

Now take a look at the second video at the bottom when a novice tries to surf on the FlowRider. Beware, don't look if you can't stomach a gruesome accident. It's serious. "Ouch" is an understatement. 

The FlowRider is exceedingly dangerous. It has caused at least one death on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship and many broken bones.  

Royal Caribbean uses experienced, athletic crew members like the one on the video at top to ride the FlowRider while the passengers first embark on the Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and other cruise ships. This attracts the passengers to come back and make reservations for private lessons which can cost up to $480 an hour.  The FlowRider is a major money maker for the cruise line. 

Read about the FlowRider and holding Royal Caribbean responsible when cruise passengers are seriously injured on the cruise line's money making attraction:

Wipeout! Liability of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for FlowRider Accidents