In the last several months, many cruise passengers contacted our office who have been seriously injured on the FlowRiders on Royal Caribbean cruise ships. Some passenger are injured when they fall. Others are injured after they fall and then the water current drives them over the ridge into the back wall breaking their ankles.
The injuries are extremely serious. All passengers required surgery and were left with permanent injuries.
The complaints which we hear from the passengers are all the same – the cruise line "instructors" seemed to be ill-trained or in a rush, and the instructions given to the guests were incomplete. Without exception once the accident occurred, the crew members at the FlowRider did not know what to do. The injured passengers often find themselves being put off in the next port on a Caribbean island with inadequate medical treatment.
Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line which has FlowRiders. That’s because the other cruise line do not want to subject their guests to such serious injuries and then face the legal liability of having one of these dangerous activities on their cruise ships.
Royal Caribbean has FlowRiders on the Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, and Liberty of the Seas. The cruise line describes the FlowRiders innocently enough on its website:
"How It Works – The FlowRider sends a thin sheet of water up a sloped and (thankfully) cushioned platform to create a wavelike flow of water. So it’s perfect for beginning, intermediate and advanced surfers . . . "
Royal Caribbean faces liability for: inadequate instructions to passengers; failure to maintain and operate the FlowRider consistent with manufacture instructions and industry standards; failure to accurately disclose and effectively warn passengers of prior accidents, injuries, and deaths aboard the FlowRider; and failing to respond appropriately to the accidents.
The cruise line forces the passengers to sign "Onboard Activities Waivers." The cruise line tries to argue that these ‘waivers" strip the passengers of their rights whenever they are injured while flowboarding, zip lining, rock climbing, or ice skating.
We believe these waivers are invalid. They violate U.S. Federal law which prohibits shipping companies and cruise lines avoiding or limiting liability for injuries and deaths on the high seas.
Royal Caribbean knows that hundreds of passengers a year will be injured on the FlowRiders on their cruise ships, They have installed large flat-screen tvs in the adjacent "Wipeout Bar" for the other passengers to watch the fun. But if you are seriously injured, check with a maritime lawyer before you take the cruise line’s word that their so-called "waivers" are valid.
Don’t forget to watch the video below – of Royal Caribbean FlowRider wipeouts – sung to "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" by Drowning Pool:
December 21, 2011 Update: FlowRider Accidents: Royal Caribbean Liability Waivers Are Unenforceable!
Photo 1 randmunn1 Fkickr
Photo 2 carolsummer66 photobucket
Video YouTube lilmikee420