Yesterday one of my clients, who I will call Jane Doe, contacted me after receiving an unsolicited email from the President of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Adam Goldstein.

The e-mail addressed her by her first name.  It seemed to be personalized to her.  It recognized her as a past customer and contained statements like:

"At Royal Caribbean International, the safety and security of our guests and crew is our highest priority. It is fundamental to our operations. Our maritime safety record over our 42-year history Royal Caribbean Cruises  - Adam Goldstein illustrates our commitment to the safety of the millions of guests and crew that sail on our ships."  

President Goldstein’s email outraged Jane Doe.   You see, she had just returned home with her young daughter who had been raped on President Goldstein’s cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas.  

Goldstein’s unsolicited email to a rape victim’s mom had nothing to do with the humiliating shipboard rape suffered by Jane Doe’s daughter, one of many rapes of children on the Royal Caribbean fleet over the years.  Instead, it was part of this cruise line’s media campaign to try and distance itself from the negative fall out following the deadly Costa Concordia disaster.

Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line making such public statements following the Concordia crash.  You can watch Royal Caribbean’s slick video touting the safety of cruising here.  President Goldstein’s blog is here.  "Safety is in our DNA."  "Cruising is the safest form of transportation."  "The safety and security of our guests is our highest priority."  Royal Caribbean covered all of the cruise industry’s talking points in its video, the president’s blog and its e-mail blast below.    

Of course, in truth, Goldstein’s email was not a personalized message to Jane Doe.  He does not know her from the man in the moon, even though her daughter was raped on the cruise line’s showpiece megaship and the biggest cruise ship in the world. 

Royal Caribbean spammed Goldstein’s email to every single family who had sailed with them.  This was an intentional and reckless stunt, considering that hundreds of women and children have reportedly been sexually assaulted during Royal Caribbean cruises over the years.  Certainly, the cruise line knew that its former customers who are victims of crime, and whose names remain in its customer database, would feel salt being poured into their wounds upon reading Goldstein’s email in their personal email accounts.      

Insensitive & thoughtless, if not outrageous?   Definitely.  But Goldstein is not thinking of his customer’s feelings.  He is motivated by his cruise line’s bottom line.  He wants to reassure his customers that it is safe to return to cruising, whether that is true or not. 

This is hardly the first time this has happened.

In 2006, one of my clients, Laurie Dishman (photo right), was brutally raped by a part time Royal Caribbean security guard with a Royal Caribbean Crime Victim Laurie Dishman prior record of sexually harassing passengers.   She retained us to represent her.  I sent a handful of letters to President Goldstein, asking for our client’s medical records, her statement, and the name and address of the Royal Caribbean employee who raped Laurie.  We received nothing in response.  Goldstein ignored us.

The only things Laurie initially received from Royal Caribbean were unsolicited emails inviting Laurie to return for another "cruise of a lifetime" on a Royal Caribbean ship.  The emails continued for over a year.  Each email popping into her computer’s email in-box took Laurie back to the scene of the crime and reactivated a sense of panic and stress.  It was only after a half dozen letters of protest from us, and a Congressional investigation into the crime initiated by Laurie’s Congresswoman in 2007, that the cruise line scrubbed her from its marketing database.

We pleaded for Royal Caribbean to implement a system to remove a passenger’s information from the company’s marketing database whenever a passenger was raped, killed or lost a loved one overboard during a cruise.  Believe me, cruise vacationers don’t want promotional brochures in their mail boxes after a family member has been raped or lost at sea.    

It looks like Royal Caribbean ignored that request too. 

President Goldstein’s blog talks in grandiose terms about the Costa Concordia crash being a "defining moment" for the cruise industry.  He promises a renewed commitment to passenger safety.  Let’s hope that’s true. 

But when a cruise line president sends an e-mail blast to the mother of a child raped during a cruise, you wonder whether cruise line executives like Goldstein really get it.   


Photo credits:

Adam Goldstein – Royal Caribbean Flickr page

Laurie Dishman – Sacramento Bee



Dear XXX, 

All of us at Royal Caribbean International continue to extend our heartfelt sympathies to those affected by Carnival Corporation’s recent tragic incident on the Costa Concordia. As a Crown & Anchor Society member and loyal Royal Caribbean guest, we know you may have some questions as the situation continues to unfold.

At Royal Caribbean International, the safety and security of our guests and crew is our highest priority. It is fundamental to our operations. Our maritime safety record over our 42-year history illustrates our commitment to the safety of the millions of guests and crew that sail on our ships. The measures we take in the interest of safety are many, often exceeding the regulatory requirements – these are all part of our ongoing commitment to innovation and continuous improvement in every aspect of our business.

To address some of your questions and concerns, here is a video that will provide an overview of safety onboard our ships; the training of our crew, officers and captains; and the many regulations that govern our practices. Click here to watch.

As a past cruiser, we know your friends and family may be asking about your own time at sea. We hope that you’ll share this video along with your personal Royal Caribbean experiences with them, and reinforce that cruising continues to maintain the best safety record of any industry in travel.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming you aboard again soon on one of our ships sailing to 270 destinations worldwide.


Adam Goldstein
President and CEO
Royal Caribbean International

  • JB

    Or imagine for one moment how my heart ached one day about a year ago, when a letter from Carnival arrived in my mail addressed to my daughter who died on a Carnival cruise ship back in 2005, saying she should fill out the attached form so they could refund her unused money from her ship board account. Money she never got to use, because their lack of a proper response to her medical emergency ended her life six days short of her 25th birthday.

  • Sandra

    Royal Caribbean ?? Give me a break…nothing better than Costa about safety…above Costa when comes to exploit the crew and more professionals when comes to cover up acidents on board,the worse crew mess food ever…
    Still remenber 12/15/1998 ?
    Yes,party in the bridge and our lucky the beautiful beach of S. Marteen to parking the lady Monarch of the Seas.
    Crew lost cash and goods etc we got peanuts back and words like INSULTS also .
    If USCG,USPH surprise them one of this day’s without appointment i’d like to see the results.
    Crew take care the same way company take care of us and the top management should give the first respect and example but regarding company policy revenue is the priority because company’s lawyers take care of
    company’s problems.

  • Sandra

    Captain Schettino just come out with picture of cruise
    industry but didn’t come out with picture of back house.
    When you made over $10.000 a month,dining and sleeping like a king what you expect from the ones with $450 a month poor food and bed like a child without window ?
    This people have nothing to loose they take care of them in first place because what the company like’s is to exploit them how much they can and sent them home when the body have no more juicy.

  • Fabio

    “Safety is our business” are you sure ?

    Let’s check the cases in court and also the ones from
    crew that never complain because no one told them about the rights and also because the captain dump them in the island far from U.S.A.



  • Robin Collins

    Oh my God JB, how sad. That’s just awful. You have my deepest sympathies. Noone should EVER have to survive the loss of a child, ever! And then for this to happen….It just rubs salt in the wound.
    I for one am going to take a stand against these cruiselines. I’m just heartsick after reading these comments and all the others and even Jim’s stories he tells. I will NO LONGER BE TAKING A CRUISE, NOT NOW, NOT EVER!!!
    It was my most fav thing to do. I went on one at min twice a year. Always to Nassau, Bahamas. I love it there. I’ll still go but, I’ll fly there. Sure it’s more expensive so, I won’t go as often. But, who cares??
    I WILL NOT be a part of the problem any longer. These cruiselines treat their workers like hell, plain and simple. They are overworked and underpaid. I don’t want anyone to comment saying about how no one forced them to work on the ships either. IN THIS ECONOMY it’s not always a choice but a matter of necessity for many ppl. Why do you think they are jumping to their demise?? It’s called STRESSED OUT WITH NOWHERE TO TURN AND NO SUPPORT SYSTEM!!!! I for one will no longer be a part of the problem. Things will not change until we take a stand. I challenge everyone to stop cruising for just 6 months. Maybe then things will change, maybe not. But, we, as whole, will be sending the cruise line industry a big message and they should hear us loud and clear. The goings on aboard these ships is unforgiveable and inexcusable. Rape, poisonings, injury and death. When does it end?? When have had it and say… “Enough is enough”

  • Sueby

    Well tip more, our cruises have been amazing, I’d rather tip the staff on board than in a restaurant at home any day or Maybe people should pay more for their cruises then staff will be paid better. But as always people want to pay peanuts then complain when the staff are underpaid!

  • Leslie

    Disappointed that the SO CALLED executive team is incompetent to handle a very easy solution at hand and won’t put me through to someone who could possibly turn this around!! Disgusting!