A long term employee of Crystal Cruises recently died, according to a Go Fund Me page created yesterday by one of the crew member’s friends.

Kiko Payongayong reportedly worked for Crystal Cruises as a waiter from 27 years. He was fifty years old at the time of his death. He left behind a wife and four children.

There is speculation regarding the crew member’s cause of death. Crystal Cruises has not made an official statement to date.

There have been at least six crew members who reportedly ended their lives since May 1st and one who attempted to do so. In addition, Royal Caribbean stated that one crew member on the Mariner of the Seas reportedly died of “natural causes,” although it did not release an official cause of death.

You can access the Go Fund Me page here.  The page states:

“Kiko Payongayong was a Crystal favorite. Kiko was with Crystal for 27 years and beloved of so many. With his infectious smile, Kiko was always so cheerful and shared his happiness with everybody he’d meet.  He will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

This fund was created to help Kiko’s family. He leaves behind a wife and four children. 100% of the funds raised will go directly to his family. Please consider helping them in this time of great sorrow and need.”

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Photo credit: Go Fund Me

 

Yesterday Breaking Travel News published an interview with Frank Del Rio, NCL’s president and CEO. He claimed that a cruise ship can be “safer than anywhere else in the world.”

On March 13th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a “no sail” order which prohibited cruise ships from sailing from U.S. ports for thirty days. The CDC extended the order for 45 days to July 24th. The CDC concluded that “cruise ship travel markedly increases the risk and impact of the COVID19 disease outbreak in the United States.” The CDC further found that cruising “exacerbates the global spread of COVID19” and that the cruise industry failed to control the spread of the disease sufficiently, causing an unnecessary burden on the already over-burdened local, state and national healthcare systems.  You can read the CDC’s latest finding here.

What is most important for the cruise industry to survive, short of a vaccine, is for cruise lines to focus on adopting serious policies and procedures to safeguard the public’s and their ship employees health and safety.

Where Are the Cruise Industry’s Health and Safety Protocols?

Del Rio mentioned that the  cruise industry at large is “developing protocols.” However, the CEO did not mention any new policies or procedures to protect its guests and crew members from COVID-19. Nor did he announce that his brands have created any new protocols.  This is typical of the cruise industry which is ramping up to re-start cruising before announcing new safeguards.

Putting aside the issue of whether temperature checks, medical questionnaries, enhanced cleaning, social distancing and masks will ever be enough to stop the introduction and spread of coronavirus, Del Rio made no mention of NCL’s plans for when COVID-19 inevitably appears on a NCL cruise ship. In particular, he did not address how to avoid the cruise lines’ mistakes in the past where local governments were saddled with the costs and responsibility of caring for sick passengers and crew.

Immediately Stop All Cruise Bans?

CEO Del Rio characterized the government as an “obstacle” to cruising. He claimed that as soon as governments lift travel bans and open up ports, “the consumer will be there.”

Del Rio argued that government authorities have to “immediately stop” travel restrictions which are allegedly causing “great harm”on a “permanent basis to economies.” He said that “reality is now setting in” and “the general strokes painted by authority have to stop.”

If this rhetoric sounds familar, it is essentially what the current administration is telling the American public: The nearly 1,700,000 infected U.S. citizens and 100,000 dead are not as important as COVOD-19’s effect on the economy. In this regard, Del Rio  personally collected over $85,000,000 in the last five years. NCL collected revenues of $6,500,000,000 and netted over $930,000,000. It also cannot go without noting that the cruise industry has a tremendous advantage over shore-side resorts, hotels and restaurants by incorporating in foreign countries and registering its ships in foreign countries like Panama and the Bahamas in order to avoid U.S. income taxes, U.S. wage and labor laws, and U.S. occupational health and safety laws.

A Rush to Cruising As Normal?

Remarkably Del Rio stated that “people are rushing to bars and restaurants as they reopen, they want to get back to their normal lives, and cruising is a part of their normal lives.” Del Rio seems to believe that disregarding the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing and the wearing of masks is a good thing rather than a major problem that needs to be discouraged.  Images of people crowded tightly together without masks in the Lake of the Ozarks water park this past Memorial Day weekend have circulated widely on social media.

Ironically, NCL permitted its crew members to crowd together without masks during several parties earlier this month on the Norwegian Escape (above right) and Norwegian Epic (left) at the port of Miami. In an article titled “Ridiculously Overcrowded” Norwegian Escape Sails to Miami, we noted that after NCL assembled employees from several different NCL ships aboard the Norwegian Escape which sailed to Miami, the cruise line scheduled a series of parties on the pool decks of several of its ships. It made no effort to enforce social distancing or the wearing of masks.

Hundreds of NCL crew members openly mingled and crowded around bars on the pool deck of the NCL ship without masks. (We also posted a video of a crowded pool party in our article Norwegian Epic – the Latest NCL Cruise Ship to Ignore the CDC’s Social Distancing Rule). This was reckless and a clear violation of the CDC’s guidelines.

The CDC Will Likely Continue its No Sail Order

It is unlikely that the CDC will suspend its “no sail” order before the current deadline of July 24, which NCL and the other cruise lines seem to have finally acknowledged by stating that they will not restart operation until August at the earliest. It appears likely, in my opinion, that the CDC will extend the order for at least 30-45 days with a new sail date of not before September 1st.

But when the CDC gives a green light to the cruise lines to sail again, there is no question that it will begin on the CDC’s terms. The agency’s mission statement is the protection of human life and the prevention of the further “introduction, transmission and spread” of COVID-19 spread in the U.S. Treating the CDC as an “obstacle” and demanding that it “immediately stop” travel restrictions for the protection of the economy is inconsistent with the CDC’s mission of protecting the public’s health. It is likely to cause the CDC, and the governments of the port countries, to rightfully view the cruise industry with increased concern and suspicion.

Have a thought? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

We suggest reading: Leaked Emails: Norwegian Pressures Sales Team to Mislead Potential Customers About Coronavirus by Miami New Times March 11, 2020.

Photo credit: Frank Del Rio – Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images and Storify; NCL cruise ships – anonymous crew members.

 

 

 

A Filipino crew member died on the Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, according to several crew members who wish to remain anonymous. His colleagues on the ship stated that he may have intentionaly ended his life.

The cruise ship sailed into the port of Miami earlier this afternoon following this tragedy. @PTZtv live streaming cameras showed the Scarlet Lady arriving at the port shortly after noon today. The ship had been positioned off of the coast of Florida after Virgin decided to postpone its inaugural cruise of this ship from Miami until mid-October. Police detectives reportedly boarded the ship to conduct an investigation.

The crew members described the Filipino seafarer’s job as a hotel utility employee. His body was reportedly found in his cabin. It is less than clear regarding when this incident occurred.  Earlier this morning, a person Twitter posted the following tweet to Richard Branson, the CEO of the cruise line:

This has been a difficult month for many crew members who have remained on cruise ships during the period of cruising suspension which is now approaching 75 days. In addition to this incident, there have been at least five other crew members who reportedly ended their lives since May 1st and one who attempted to do so. In addition, Royal Caribbean stated that one crew member reportedly died of “natural causes,” although it did not release an official cause of death.

Yesterday, we reported on a crew member on the Vasco da Gamma cruise ship who reportedly jumped from deck 12 of the ship and landed on a cargo container located on the pier of the Tilbury Docks in the U.K. It was last reported that the Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) ship employee is in the hospital in London. A Filipino galley employee on the AIDAblu died two days ago. Last week, a Chinese crew member hired as an assistant waiter on the Mariner of the Seas  was found dead by his colleagues. On that same day, a Ukranian waiter from the Regal Princess jumped overboard while the ship was in Rotterdam. The day before, an assistant shore excursion manager died on the Carnival Breeze which was sailing to the U.K. from Bahamian waters. Sixteen days ago we reported that a Polish electrician on the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas jumped overboard south of Greece.

In all of these situations, crew members reported an atmosphere of isolation from their familes and confusion on the ships regarding when and how the crew members will be repatriated home. Many crew members also express feelings of frustration and depression.

The Scarlet Lady initially was scheduled to sail its first voyage with passengers from Miami in March but postponed its inaugural cruise until August 7th due the coronavirus pandemic. Virgin recently cancelled all cruises on the Scarlet Lady through mid-October.

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May 24 Update: The Miami Herald today reported on the death in an article titled Virgin Voyages crew member dies on ship, Coast Guard says. Another in cruise industry deaths. “The crew member, a 32-year-old Filipino man, died from ‘apparent self-harm’ aboard Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, the Coast Guard said.”

Photograph credit: Anonymous crew member

This afternoon CNBC interviewed Royal Caribbean Richard Fain about when his cruise line will re-start operations and when his crew members will finally be repatriated. Here is a portion of the interview:

CNBC: . . . we know that this is a challenging time. We really appreciate you spending time with us today. . . . You’re hoping to resume sailing coming August 1st, is that realistic at a time when there is no COVID-19 vaccine on the market and medical experts like Dr. Fauci say the risk of a second wave is high.

FAIN: ” . . . well, I think we have said that we’re not sure when we’r coming back, we won’t come back until we are absolutely  sure that we have done everything we can to work to protect the safety of our guests and crew, we said we won’t be back before the end of July but we haven’t gone to the next step to say that we are absolutely confident that we will starting on August 1st,  we will work with the authorities, we will work with all the experts that we asked to help us with this to make sure that we are doing everything we can to  protect all guests  and crew.

CNBC: Yeah, it’s tough to envision passengers getting on board when, Richard, there still thousands of crew members stuck at sea, isolated, tell us why it has taken so much time to get these crew members home.

FAIN: Well, you know, we have wonderful crew members who really devote their lives to helping our guests, and they come from a hundred countries around the world. In this situation, every country seems to have its own travel restrictions, its own border restictions even for its own citizens. And so it’s very difficult to coordinate having all of these people go through it. But we already have managed to get a large percentage home. We’ve taken the extra step of coordinating to bring alot of crew members  from all over the fleet to assemble them on individual ships and then we using those ships to transport them home. It’s frankly it’s a difficult thing to do, it’s very complicated, it’s also very expensive. But these people really want to get home to their families . . .

CNBC: Richard, on that point, can you make a pledge that by the end of next week all of your members, all of your crew, get to be home.

FAIN: Ha. Ha. No. Absolutely not. In fact, we know we  won’t be able to make that schedule because there are some countries which are limiting and not allowing their … citizens back under any circumstances. But we do think that we are making quite strong steps, we’ve got 10,000 that we’re coordinating to go home on our ships, and we think that the rest are coming home over the next couple of weeks.

CNBC: At the same time . . .

FAIN:  I should say over the next few weeks . . .”

Listen to the entire interview below.

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A crew member on the Vasco da Gamma cruise ship was seriously injured after falling from deck 12 of the ship. He landed on a cargo container located on the pier below while the ship was moored at the Port of Tilbury. Ambulances and a helicopter arrived on the pier in response to the medical emergency. Several medical personnel administered aid to the crew member. The medical teams took the injured crew member into an ambulance which left the scene, according to several crew members who wish to remain anonymous.

A video of the response shows a dozen personnel responding to the emergency. We are not posting the video, although we are showing only images which are not close-ups of the scene.

The crew member reportedly is an Indonesian who worked in the provisions department.

The incident was  confirmed by the owner / operator of the ship, Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV), and the Port of Tilbury which stated:

“We confirm that there was an incident in the Port of Tilbury yesterday involving one of the seafarers on board a cruise vessel currently berthed at the port. The person remains in hospital and our thoughts are with their family and colleagues at this time.”

A local newspaper, the Thurrock Nub News, commented today that the crew member is being treated at a hospital in London for his injuries. “The full circumstances of the incident are yet to be established.”

The newspaper reported that there are currently 486 crew members on board Vasco da Gama at Tilbury. The ship has been docked there since May 1 after returning from repatriating passengers to Australia. The ship is one of a number of CMV vessels laid up at the port because of the coronavirus pandemic. The majority of the crew members on board the ships are foreign nationals and the cruise operators are looking at ways to repatriot them for the duration of the pandemic lockdown, according to the newspaper.

CMV claims that the “crew onboard CMV ships in the UK are cared for by CMV with comprehensive medical, catering, entertainment, complimentary internet and wellbeing provision on board.”

Crew members state privately that they are unpaid and frustrated. There reportedly is a great deal of stress on the ship due to the long period that the crew has stayed on the ship away from their loved ones and without receiving wages during the pandemic.

The Crew Center site reports that the crew member died from the fall but we have not received confirmation of this.

One ship employee confirmed that the Indonesian crew member, employed as a hotel storekeeper (provision team), is still alive and in the hsopital.

We have reported that five cruise ship employees  have unexpectedly died this month.

A Filipino galley employee on the AIDAblu died two days ago. Last week, a Chinese crew member hired as an assistant waiter on the Mariner of the Seas  was found dead by his colleagues.  On that same day, a Ukranian waiter from the Regal Princess jumped overboard while the ship was in Rotterdam. The day before, an assistant shore excursion manager died on the Carnival Breeze which was sailing to the U.K. from Bahamian waters. Sixteen days ago we reported that a Polish electrician on the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas jumped overboard south of Greece.

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Photo credit: Anonymous crew members; bottom – Nub News.

The president of Carnival Cruise Line, Christine Duffy, stated in a letter to crew members last week “while we hope to bring back a small number of ships on August 1, that is still very uncertain.” Ms. Duffy continued by stating “what we do know is that whenever we do resume cruising, it will be a gradual, phased in return.”

Cheap Fares

Carnival has been heavily advertising cruises on the representation that it plans to restart certain cruises from Texas and Florida as early as August 1st. Carnival has been advertising cheap cruise fares to entice customers to book cruises, including offering five-day cruises from Galveston, to Cozumel, Mexico, in early August starting at $139, plus taxes, fees and port expenses. This comes out to a base rate around $28-a-day, according to the LA Times.  The popular-among-hard-core cruise-fans blog CruiseRadio was showing cruise deals with Carnival Cruise Line as low as $20 a day per person.

A “Ponzi Scheme?”

Many people in the travel industry doubt that any cruises will actually leave U.S. ports as early as August 1st. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended its “no sail” order from mid-April to July 24th. It remains to be seen whether the CDC will again extend the order past the theoretical August 1st cruise date.

Many Carnival customers are still waiting to receive refunds of fares for cruises which were cancelled 60 to 90 days ago. Some cruisers feel that by collecting fares for cruises in August which likely will not take place, Carnival is essentially running a quasi “ponzi scheme.” It is collecting money for new cruises, which probably will not take place, to be used to eventually refund fares which Carnival owes to its customers for the past several months.

Our small firm has been contacted by literally hundreds of passengers complaining that Carnival has not returned their cruise fares for cruises cancelled due to COVID-19. There are many dozens or people complaining about this on Twitter, like this:

Still No New Coronavirus Protocols? 

The CDC requires the cruise lines to submit procedures and protocols to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic for approval by the agency. Carnival has failed to do so to date. This reinforces my belief that Carnival is more interested in advertising and selling cruises than taking steps to reduce the liklihood that coronavirus will infect some of its guests and crew members and spread on its ships.

The point of Ms. Duffy’s letter was to inform its crew members that those ship employees with at least two years of service are eligible for a small monthly stipend of around 30 to 60 days of their basic wages / base salary. Although the letter involves relatively nominal amounts, it is a positive development for any cruise line to compensate its crew like this. Most cruise lines are no longer paying their crew members or paying them only token amounts, NCL and MSC, for example, entirely stopped paying their crew members. NCL is giving the crew whose contracts ended only a $10 a day stipend to buy bottled water or snacks in the onboard crew mart. Viking Cruises, on the other hand, has been paying their crew members a percentage of their wages since it was the first cruise line to supend operations. Royal Caribbean is offering its crew a one time stipend of $400.

Billions of Dollars in Financing But Thousands Laid-Off

At the end of March, Carnival was in dire straites reportedly needing $1,000,000,000 per month to cover its costs. Credit markets were frozen. In layman’s terms this means that conventional lenders had no money to lend.  Carnival had turned to private equity lenders to find money. These lenders allegedly offered financing at 15 percent, plus a substantial equity stake in Carnival. When the Federal Reserve announced that it intended to backstop credit markets, it effectively unfroze credit markets and Carnival was able to obtain money from conventional lenders at 11.5 percent. The result of this defacto bailout is that Carnival received over two billion dollars in financing last month.

Last week, Carnival Corporation announced a series of layoffs and furloughs affecting more than 1,300 workers at its Florida offices.  CEO Arnold Donald released a letter and video to Carnival employees about the terminations and furloughs.  Carnival Corporation stated that 820 positions in South Florida would be eliminated and 537 workers placed on temporary furlough out of its workforce of around 3,000 South Florida employees (more than 45% of its Florida employees).

Earlier last week, Carnival Corporation terminated 450 employees in the United Kingdom, cut the salaries of the remaining staff members by 20% salary through November, and let go of two cruise line executives, Holland America Line president Orlando Ashford and Seabourn president Rick Meadows. Carnival-owned Holland America Line announced at the end of last week that it is laying off around 2,000 employees and furloughing or reducing the hours and pay of its remaining shoreside employees, according to the Seattle Times.

Notwithstanding it’s billion dollar financing, Carnival is still treading water. In order to stay afloat, it will continue to market and sell cruises even though it is “very uncertain” whether the cruises will actually take.

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Disney Cruise Line is now in the process of finally repatriating hundreds of its crew members from some of its cruise ships. Disney transferred crew members from the Disney Fantasy and the Disney Dream to the Disney Magic (AIS location yesterday shown bottom right) which arrived today in Dover. Disney initially informed the crew members that it intended to fly them to their home from the U.K. via commercial flights, as opposed to private charters. Before they left the Magic, many crew members signed “post-disembarkation requirement agreements” (photo right) acknowledging that they would comply with all CDC guidelines which require, among other guidelines, that crew members not fly on commercial flights or even step foot in a public airport.

A number of Disney crew members stated that Disney originally scheduled them to fly home from the U.K. on different dates starting today to May 24, 2020. The itineraries which we reviewed showed flights from terminals at Heathrow Airport outside of London. However, Disney subsequenlty cancelled all of the flights. The crew members are now staying on the cruise ship, awating further information.

There are also many Disney crew members who finished their contracts but were not included on the scheduled flights. One crew member stated: “Now its been 3 times already they canceled our signing off . . . . its so frustrating most of the crew members already finished contract for 3 months already.”

The Disney Fantasy previously disembarked 68 Mexican crew members in Cozumel. 15 of these crew members stayed in Cozumel where they live. The other crew members took a ferry to Playa del Carmen where they then took commercial aircraft back to their homes in Mexico.

The Fantasy has disembarked crew members in Honduras and the Dominican Republic as well.

Like many other cruise lines, it appears that Disney is avoiding complying with the CDC guidelines by sailing its ships to non-U.S. ports and then flying its crew home on commercial flights. It is far cheaper to book commercial flights rather than private charters.

Many crew members have expressed their concern that Disney is taking a risk with their health by requiring them to fly on commercial flights rather than on restricted charters. Cruise lines are legally responsible for the medical treatment and expenses of any crew members for any illness that a crew member acquires on a ship, irrespective of the issue of fault. Crew members have expressed their concern that if they are infected while on a commercial flight, in an airport or during public transportation, the cruise line will deny responsibility claiming that they became infected after they left the ship.

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Photo Credit: Dover, England – Anonymous crew member

Around 200 crew members employed on the Disney Wonder recently tested positive for COVID-19, according to a half-dozen employees on the ship who wish to remain anonymous.

The Disney Wonder previously sailed from New Orleans on March 6th on a Panama Canal cruise. It arrived at the the Port of San Diego, where all the passengers disembarked on March 19th and 20th.  The CDC was notified about COVID-19-positive travelers who had symptoms while on board the ship. We subsequently learned that a large number of former guests on this Disney cruise ship developed COVID-19, including at least three guests who died due to the virus. Disney also knew that a guest who had cruised on a prior cruise on the Wonder to Mexico from February 27th to March 2nd had tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from that cruise, which has been confirmed by the CDC. We reported on these developments in an article titled Former Guests on the Disney Wonder Test Positive For COVID-19 – Did Disney Know that a Guest on a Prior Cruise Tested Positive?

The captain of the Disney Wonder announced over the ship’s intercom six weeks ago that 38 crew members on the cruise ship tested positive for the virus. We reported on this news in our article Thirty-Eight Crew Members on Disney Wonder Reportedly Test Positive for COVID-19. The crew on the Wonder was re-tested last week. Around 200 crew members tested positive for COVID-19, according to several crew members. We requested a comment from Disney regarding the results of the testing of its crew members on theWonder but we have not received a response.

The crew members whose test results were negative were sent back to work per the captain’s announcements. Yesterday, the captain informed the crew that only those crew members who are essential to the operation of the ship, and who tested negative, will be assigned work.  The crew is still required to exercise social distancing, wear masks outside of their cabins, and return to their cabins after work.

The captain of the Wonder informed the crew yesterday that three U.K. crew members will be repatriated tomorrow and a “small group” of crew members (whose nationalities were not mentioned) will be repatriated on Thursday.  There are many hundreds of crew members who are uncertain when or how they will be repatriated.  To date, the CDC Cruise Ship Crew Member Disembarkations data indicated that Disney has submitted plans to repatriate only the following crew members from the Disney Wonder pursuant to the CDC guidelines:  May 3 – 3 U.S.; May 8 – 3 Filipinos; and May 12 – 24 Indonesians and 1 U.S.

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Photo credit: Disney Wonder (at PortMiami) – Jim Walker

According to a crew member on the AIDAblu, a Filipino galley employee by the first name of “Kennith” died earlier today. The captain made a ship-wide announcement of the seafer’s death.

The crew member who informed us of the death stated that a Filipino priest from Hamburg came onto the cruise ship and presided over a religous ceremony. (AIDAblu was one of two AIDA ships in port in Hamburg). The crew reportedly assembled and prayed in the ship’s theater.

This is the fifth crew member to die unexpectedly on a cruise ship this month.

A week ago, a Chinese crew member on the Mariner of the Seas hired as an assistant waiter was found dead by his colleagues.  On that same day, a Ukranian crew member from the Regal Princess who was employed as a waiter jumped overboard while the ship was in Rotterdam. The day before, an assistant shore excursion manager died on the Carnival Breeze which was sailing to the U.K. from Bahamian waters. Sixteen days ago we reported that a Polish electrician on the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas went overboard south of Greece.

Indian politicians has complained in the past few days that crew members were stuck on AIDA cruise ships, including the AIDAblu, and sought methods to expedite their repatriation. A week ago, 239 Filipino seafarers, including 188 crew members from the AIDAblu, were repatriated to the Philippines with the help of the Philippine Consulate in Frankfurt. It is less than clear why this crew member was not repatriated with this group of seafarers.

Crew Center published an article earlier this evening about the tragedy. Crew Center wrote that ever since this pandemic started it received many messages from Aida Cruises crew members. “All of the messages were positive experiences shared by the crew praising the company for their honesty and transparency towards the crew. Many of the crew underlined the special care of their managers on board always looking after each and every crew member’s needs and mental health . . . Still with all the care provided this tragedy struck the crew community, showing how hard this lockdown affects all the crew.”

Prayers to this crew members, his family and friends and colleagues on the ship. Rest in Peace.

Please feel free to leave your tributes here.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Memorial Donations For Kennex Bundaon. The page states that he had a daughter in the Philippines. Please consider making a donation.

Photo credit: Martin Falbisoner – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.

May19. 2020 Update: The crew member has been identified as Kennex Mingas Bundaon by the CruiseMapper website.

Today, crew members aboard the Majesty of the Seas protested Royal Caribbean’s latest failure to follow through with its  repatriation of its crew members. Several hundred crew members congregated on the pool deck making signs protesting Royal Caribbean’s refusal to follow through with plans to send the crew members home. The repatriation plans have reportedly changed at the last minute on five occasions, including three times dating back to last month.

The crew members chanted “send us home” and erected signs saying “Do You Sleep Well Mr. Bayley” (right) referring to the CEO of Royal Caribbean International Michael Bayley who was quoted earlier by the Miami Herald stating that flying crew members home via private charters was “too expensive.” Mr. Bayley collected around $25,000,000 in compensation in the last four years. A second sign (below left) stated “How Many More Suicides Do You Need?” This sign was created in reference to the Death of a Polish engineer who apparently jumped overboard from the Jewel of the Seas and the recent death of a Chinese assistant waiter who died on the Mariner of the Seas earlier this week.

The protest was covered by Miami Herald reporter Taylor Dolven who has closely followed Royal Caribbean’s dilatory conduct.

I have written about the failure of cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, to repatriate their crew members in a timely manner several times.  Every major newspaper has covered the story of 75,000 to 100,000 crew members stuck at sea, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Quartz, The Cut, SFGate, GuardianFortune, USA TODAY,  ABC NewsCBS News, CNN, NBC News, Daily Mail  and even FOX News.

The Miami Herald has done an outstanding job of covering this issue and has written about Royal Caribbean’s refusal to acknowledge and agree to comply with the CDC’s guilines for repatriating crew members, Royal Caribbean’s false accusations blaming the CDC for keeping its crew trapped on its ships, Royal Caribbean executives agreeing in principle to the CDC’s terms for repatriating the crew, and its ongoing refusal to repatriate its crew.  The Herald has covered the hunger strike which took place on the Navigator of the Seas due to Royal Caribbean’s unreasonable delays.

As of three days ago, Royal Caribbean had agreed to the CDC’s guidelines and  signed the required acknowledgments for only 20 crew members, all of them U.S. nationals. As of yesterday, Royal Caribbean had increased the number of CDC approved repatriations of only 557 crewmembers, from the U.S., U.K. and the Philippines.

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Photo credit: Anonymous crew members