Professor Ross Klein’s website CruiseJunkie contains disturbing comments from a cruise passenger aboard the Carnival Splendor cruise ship who reports that on December 15th during a sailing to the Mexican Riviera a gruesome physical altercation took place in cabin 1306.

Here are the comments:

Carnival Cruise Violence - Cruise Ship"Wild, out-of-control alcohol-fueled domestic fight – starts at 9PM, escalates to most certainly a felony assault (or worse) by 3AM. All kinds of yelling, screaming, howling.  Objects (victim?) thrown against the walls. Finally security responds; victim has blood streaming from her, multiple wounds; others report seeing multiple pools of blood in the room. Around 3:45 AM, Carnival removes the ‘guests’ and immediately starts the process of cleaning the room up, starting with the blood. 

NO attempt whatsoever to preserve the scene or the evidence.  Staff members will not discuss what happened other than ‘it’s under control’ and ‘he won’t be a problem.’  Rumor is that the offender was removed from the ship in Puerto Vallarta."

We reached out to Carnival’s PR department yesterday who said they would check it out, but no response so far.

It’s disturbing to read an account like this particularly after we just reported that a drunken Carnival passenger who beat and strangled his wife to death was sentenced to life in prison.  And should there be any doubt that cruise lines destroy crime scene evidence?  

Does anyone on this cruise have additional information?  Please leave a comment below.

December 21, 2011 Update:  This article was picked up by the popular Cruise Critic online community and posted in a thread on the message board.  How did the concerned Cruise Critic cruise fans react to the bloody crime scene and Carnival’s spoliation of evidence? 

Read their comments like  "Doesn’t affect me . . .  Who cares . . . Ship happens" which you can read here.  Unfortunately, this type of complacency perpetuates the sorry state of affairs on cruise ships where cruise lines destroy evidence knowing that their fan base doesn’t care. 

I think I’ll re-name this article "Crime Scene on Splendor Cruise Ship? Carnival Won’t Say and Cruise Fans Don’t Care."

  • Anna

    I was across the hall from this room and was there during the incident. I was scared to death and watched everything that was visible through my cabin peephole across the hall. At about 10:30pm, a drunk man was yelling that his girlfriend locked him out of their room. Eventually, she let him in and it quieted down. Around 1:40am, I was woken by loud yelling and screaming. I think it had been going on for some time, but I was across the hall and it didn’t wake me right away. When it did, I ran to the door and watched through the peephole after calling security. The yelling continued and a woman opened the cabin door holding her hands with blood EVERYWHERE. Security came quickly and took her to medical in a wheelchair. They stayed with the man, who showered and got cleaned up. There were no cuffs or anything and after a couple hours the man walked away with security. At this time, the cleaning crew came and was cleaining the room and all the blood on the walls in the hallway and the carpets. They had to wet vac the carpets. I watched them take about 4 large biohazard bags away from the room. The cleaning and scrubbing of carpets went on until morning. The woman was later escorted back to the room and it appeared that she was collecting her belongings. The next day (after porting in Puerto Vallerta), the cleaning crew came back at 8:30pm to scrub walls and carpets again, this time using a UV light to find further organic/blood material. I did not see the man or woman return again to this cabin, but I was pretty upset because we had two young children with us. I went to Guest Services to see if the couple would be returning and if I needed to be worried, but Guest Services just said “It’s under control” and that they would not be allowed to be together. They indicated that the man and woman would be in separate rooms and not allowed contact for the remainder of the cruise. When this did not satisfy my, the Guest Service rep asked his boss and we were then told that Carnival had not determined what exactly would be done, but that they might remove them at Puerto Vallerta. That was the last I heard about this and no other incidents happened, but this sure made me think twice about cruising again.

  • Kathy

    It must have been dreadful to hear/see everything that occurred, but glad to hear there were no further incidences.

    However, why would it make you re-consider cruising…this was an isolated incident concerning 2 people out of approx. 3000 other guests + 1000 crew. If it had happened across the street from your home would you consider not living there anymore ?

    Life does happen, even on a cruise ship. Who know’s who’s to blame for the disagreement/fight? Hopefully they are both OK and being dealt with by the appropriate authorities.

  • tami

    thank you Kathy ~ people need to remember that things happen on ships just like they happen on land – go to the news blogs and read the same stuff….

  • Tami, perhaps you should disclose that you are a Personal Vacation Planner at Carnival Cruise Lines offices in Miami?

    Yes, crime occurs everywhere. But I don’t know anywhere other than cruise lines where crime scenes are sanitized as a normal business practice.

  • sef foruma

    Anna, cruise ship security probably have restraint training, but are not allowed to carry handcuffs (bad for image) and use them. Don’t know for Carnival, but Princess has no detention room/brig of any king, as it is not even designed by the ship’s plan. They usually find an empty inside looking room (if there is one) and post guard until they relieve detainee in the first available port.
    You should get in touch with the women who got beaten up, and testify about what you saw, that was a classic cruise line coverup, who cares only about image and money. Furthermore, cruise lines are happy to employ skinny Filipinos and Indians, praised for their hospitality skills and beautiful smile, who are not match for “out of control” over-sized average Americans who lead in domestic fights onboard ships.
    Sadly, it looks like Cruise Industry is waiting for their 9/11 to get serious about crime at sea.

  • Jackie

    Those skinny cruise ship security officers are often retired Ghurkas or with military / police backgrounds. I would not underestimate their effectiveness based on stature.

  • richard
  • Richard:

    Who cares?

    Carnival destroyed the integrity of the crime scene.

    Where else does this happen other than cruise ships?

  • Tom

    Do they typically preserve a crime scene on a domestic dispute on land? Typically one party goes to jail and the other stays home and can clean up if the choose to. This was not a murder.

  • Tom:

    On land the police are summoned and they preserve evidence. The police forensic team will photograph and document the scene and collect evidence.

    On cruise ships, security is summoned and they call the cleaners. No one photographs or documents the scene and they make certain all evidence is destroyed before the cruise ship returns to port.

    Evidence should always be preserved whether its a muder, attempted murder or assault and battery.

  • ImSoReal

    Jim I don’t know where you live maybe a part of the US called Perfect but what you’re stating is not true. I actually work in a DV shelter as a therapist and I spend hours on our hotline and you need to know that “police preserving evidence” does not happen regularly or even often in my state. Besides taking pics of bruise etc they don’t collect actually evidence. This is real life not TV.

    Anna you must live with Jim in perfect town too. Why would this one incident stop you from cruising? That’s a silly response to what happened. You didn’t even care about supporting the women who was alone after being abused… all you cared about was sleep and whether not your children would be awoken by the commotion. FYI you were most likely very safe. DV is about control not anger so the maniac most likely would not have harmed you or your children, just the women that he is comfy exerting control over.

  • ImSoReal:

    I don’t think the police in DC or Maryland bring janitors to domestic violent scenes and instruct them to destroy evidence. If that’s what happens to battered women who arrive at your DV shelter then you are derelict in not reporting the obstruction of justice.

  • April

    Well, hell, as a law enforcement officer I’ll weigh in. This isn’t CSI people… and who knows what court of law the cruise ships would work under for Domestic Battery. On land here aside from a few pics of the injuries and maybe pics of the scene for evidence (what happened in that room is ultimately he said/she said)thats about all we would do too. Take statements and pictures and make a determination on who the primary aggressor is if we can….
    I’ve never had crime scene come out to a domestic battery arrest… what are they going to do, collect DNA and fingerprints? for what.. we know who was involved? The only difference is that I don’t call a cleaning company.. the homeowner does it themselves.
    I dont blame the cruise line for cleaning up and protecting their property and other guests from bodily fluids. Kudos to them…

    We asked a security chief on a Carnival ship recently and he stated they have full arrest powers and they do have a brig.

  • April:

    The cruise line security does have authority to put the bad guys in the brig. But the ship security has no right to order cleaners into crime scenes before the cruise ship returns to port and before the FBI can enter the cabin.

    Jim Walker

  • Terrie

    FBI? Seriously Jim for a Domestic Battery? Why on earth would the FBI be involved? This is not a “crime scene” to be preserved, as pointed out by April the Law Enforcement Officer. Domestic Battery is always he said/she said. There is no evidence to collect. Nothing in that room is going to tell the exact truth of what happened short of a nanny cam!

  • Andrew

    What if she died from the injuries sustained from the domestic violence incident later. The scene would have been contaminated and the situation made much harder to prove the case.

  • The FBI has jurisdiction for serious assault and batteries like this on the high seas. There is no such thing as “domestic battery” in the federal statutes which apply to maritime crimes. Obviously this was a crime scene that was tampered with. Andrew you make a good point.

  • Lori

    We disembarked from the Splendor just yesterday and while waiting for our time to leave I stepped onto our balcony. While out there I watched personnel taking a body bag off the ship and into an awaiting van. How can I find out the details of what happened to this person while aboard the ship? Where would it be reported?

  • Toniann

    Why are there so many ignorant people in this world? What if God forbid 3 days after this incident the battered woman had died due to sustained head trauma or something of that nature? NOW is it appropriate for FBI to get involved??? And if so, where would they pull the evidence from, the biohazard bags that have been discarded? This is NOT an issue to be taken lightly. Its just another excuse for the cruise industry to sweep something under the rug faster than it can ever get reported. It’s more than just a domestic dispute. It could have potentially turned deadly and even though it didnt thats not for anyone to say who shouldnt be getting involved. Better safe than sorry in my opinion.