NBC Miami reports today that twelve Cuban migrants on a raft trying to sail to the U.S. were intercepted after Royal Caribbean alerted the U.S. Coast Guard.

Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas cruise ship spotted the Cubans today and radioed the location of the raft to the Coast Guard in Miami. 

The NBC affiliate reports that one of the Cuban migrants, a 40-year-old man, had a foot injury and was allowed to go aboard the cruise ship for treatment.  The U.S. Coast Guard sent a vessel to the scene and took all 12 of the Cuban rafters. 

Under current U.S. immigration laws, the U.S. Coast Guard will take the Cubans back to Cuban where they will likely be imprisoned.

This is the second so-called rescue of Cubans trying to flee Cuban by a cruise ship in the last few days.

On December 21st, a Princess cruise ship "rescued" 20 Cubans, including 9 children.  CBS affiliate KPHO Channel 5 in Scottsdale Arizona reports that three families from ages 3 to 80 were picked up by the Princess cruise ship on its way back from the Panama Canal.  A Scottsdale man vacationing on the cruise ship captured the event on camera.

The Cuban escapees tried to make it to American land.  Cruise passenger Nestor Guzman, himself an immigrant, explained that being rescued doesn’t  mean they were freed, because the Cuban refugees never made it to American soil and were found at sea, they were returned to Cuba.  "It was good that they didn’t perish in the middle of the ocean," Guzman said.

"What is going to happen now that they go back to Cuba?  All the dream lost . . .  To me especially, being from Latin America it was very emotional because I see the desire to go to the U.S. to be free after all these years, I’m sure all their partners were thinking about their children, we want the kids to be in America."




These two "rescues" this week end a frustrating year for desperate Cuban families who find themselves sent right back to Cuba after risking their lives to come to the U.S. for freedom and better lives for their children.  In the last year, four Royal Caribbean cruise ships, The Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas, have intercepted Cuban rafters:  

Royal Caribbean Intercepts Cuban Immigrants

Allure of the Seas "Rescues" Migrants Fleeing Cuba 

Happy Fourth of July – Enjoy Your Freedom


Video credit: CBS affiliate KPHO Channel 5

  • Suze

    I can’t say what actually happened, but the consistent story on 12/21 from both Princess crew and other passengers closer to the action was that the people in that boat shouted for help, threw their oar overboard, and had been adrift for 4 days. I can’t confirm it, and I don’t know if the ship would have picked them up anyway. The sea was pretty rough and the rain quite fierce during the Coast Guard transfer. We couldn’t stay on deck. Your assumption in putting “rescue” in quotes seems to be that they were not distressed or in danger.

  • Greg Perry

    I was on the cruise ship which resqued the 12 cubians on 12/25/2011. The Ship was the navigator of the seas. I have some pictures if you are interested.

  • Greg:

    Thanks for your comment. If you have a few photos to share of this incident, I’ll be pleased to post them here and credit you. Regards.

    Jim Walker