Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein and the Cruise Critic message boards are reporting that on Sunday, March 24th a passenger was reported overboard from the Coral Princess cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises.

There is a vague reference to a passenger-possibly-going-over-the-rails on the Cruise Critic site, but as is the case with most overboard cruise ship cases there are no clear facts and lots of speculation.

There should never be a debate about what happens when a passenger or crew member goes overboard.  All cruise ships should have state-of-the-art surveillance cameras to document what Coral Princess Cruise Shiphappens when a person goes overboard. The ships should also have motion detection systems which signal the bridge immediately when someone leaves the cruise ship on the high seas – whether it be intentionally or accidentally or criminally.

All of the Cruise Critic members jumped immediately to the conclusion that the case involves a suicide. They just as quickly offered their on-line-prayers and condolences.  

But there is no statement by Princess Cruises about what happened, assuming you were naive enough to believe the cruise line PR. There’s no report of the results of an official investigation, but that’s not unusual because Princess Cruises is incorporated in and registers it cruise ships in Bermuda, to avoid U.S. taxes and safety regulations, which is indifferent to what happens on Bermuda flagged cruise ships. And there is no report of an investigation by law enforcement officers in the next port of call.

Was this an accident, a suicide, or a crime?  I don’t know.

It’s a real shame that there are no news accounts, no official investigation and only lots of speculation by cruise fans who blame the dead passenger, say a hollow prayer and then forget about it.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia 

  • Emily

    “All cruise ships should have state-of-the-art surveillance cameras to document what happens when a person goes overboard as well as motion detection systems which signal the bridge immediately when someone leaves the cruise ship on the high seas”

    I worked on cruise ships for 5 years (2007-2012) as a bridge officer and while it is true that every ship I’ve worked on had CCTV, I’ve never encountered the motion detection systems you mention. It is true that sometimes it is unclear whether or not someone has gone overboard. There are hundreds of camera recording 24/7 and the seconds it takes for someone to fall/jump/get pushed overboard is not always seen as it is happening. If there are indications that someone is missing, the recordings will get reviewed. Alternatively, if someone witnesses someone go overboard, there are ways for the bridge to be notified and man overboard procedures will begin.

  • The motion detection technology exists but the cruise lines don’t install it, because of costs or indifference.

  • Barbara

    I was on the Coral Princess, and yes most of us do care about what happened, but could not get or find any information about what happened. When we were disembarking on Wednesday, we did see a large group of investigators at the room where the person stayed. It had been sealed off right after the incident. There were numerous rumors flying around, but no one was sure what really happened or who actually died. It would have been nice to get the facts instead of all the rumors. We were just very glad that the body was recovered, no one would have felt good about leaving the site if we had not found the person.

  • Joe Innes

    I was aboard the coral princess when the woman went overboard. After her body was recovered there was no mention of the incident from the cruise line. It seems like a cover up to me.

  • audrey cain

    I was on that ship. She threw pillows off her balcony and jumped. This according to employee was caught on tape. The body was retrieved within 2 hrs.

  • Louise

    My partner and I were passengers on the Coral Princess on from 17/03/13 to 27/03/13. Throughout the Cruise the Princess staff took passenger safety very seriously. On the 24/03/13, the day the passenger went overboard, they made every effort to find her, they dropped out a marker buoy and a marker flare,sent out small launches, turned the ship around and called the coast guard plane out which was many miles away, as were were spending a day at sea. Both the staff and passengers were visibly shocked and saddened by the event, a feeling which was carried to the end of the cruise. Everyone on board was affected, everyone cared. The coroners van was waiting at Port Everglades Fort Lauderdale when the ship came in. This recent event may not be currently publicised to respect the wishes of the family .

  • Louise

    I was a passengers on the Coral Princess. Throughout the Cruise the Princess staff took passenger safety very seriously. On the day the passenger went overboard, they made every effort to find her, dropping a marker buoy and flare,sending out small launches, turned the ship around and called the coast guard plane out, which was many miles away. The staff and passengers were visibly shocked and saddened by the event, a feeling which was carried to the end of the cruise. Everyone on board was affected and cared. The coroners van was waiting at Port Everglades.This recent event may not be currently publicised until the investigation is complete.

  • Carol

    We were on the Coral Princess on March 24,2013. There was a person that went overboard somewhere at sea before we arrived in Grand Cayman. It took about 3 hours to find the body. I heard from staff that it was a 55 year old woman. I heard from the rumor mill on board that too. I also heard that she had a fight with family members and jumped overboard from her 12 th floor balcony and it was reported by someone sitting on their balcony .I do want to say that Captain Benetti and the crew handled this terrible situation in a very professional way.

  • Pat davis

    I so agree that there should have been more information. I was on this cruise. There were so many “rumors” among passengers and only a very generic announcement from the ship Captain. I realize that an investigation must be made, but those on this voyage deserve an answer as well as the general public. It certainly was disturbing. We have sailed many times and have never experienced such a sad occurrence, made even sadder with lack of information.

  • Dianne Bell

    We were also on this cruise. As previously mentioned, there were many many rumors flying around the ship as to who had gone overboard and why.

    The only facts that were provided, via intercom announcements, were the “man overboard” alarm and announcement and later (after we had been confined to our cabins for several hours), an announcement that “a body” had been recovered. There was never any indication of gender, age or even whether the person was a passenger or a crew member.

  • Anna

    My husband and I were on this ship. It was an unbelievable experience. So very sad. There were so many rumors on board, that it would have been nice if they had confirmed that, yes, it was a woman, and perhaps her age,her identity could be kept from us for the sake of the family, and all the rumors could have been put to rest.

  • dp

    We sailed on Coral 3/7 to 3/17. On that cruise I watched the Capt and crew go though a very interesting and complete “man overboard” drill.
    Unfortunate that it actually happened, but very confident the Coral crew acted quickly and efficiently !

  • Jack

    I was on the cruise, Deck 12. The one thing that bothered me was that it took at least 30 min. to get the Zodiacs in the water and then only one seem to leave the area of the ship, which by that time had turned and stopped. It surprised me that the zodiac didn’t immediately retrace the wake of the ship beyond the marker. It kind of bothered me that that this seemed a logical step which they didn’t take. I came to suspect that because she had fallen from such a great height they knew that they were looking for a body and not a survivor. In addition, an older person, likely injured, would not likely have been able to tread water long enough to survive during the period we sat idle in the water.

  • Barbarahp

    I also was on this cruise. I think the crew responded very quickly, I was up at the Lido pool and was going from side to side watching. It seemed to me that the recovery/rescue boats went out very fast. We stopped and turned around and also changed direction several times; I had a small key chain compass and was checking it. So if one were watching from just one side of the ship, than one got just one side of what was going on.

    It took about an hour for the search plane to arrive, I’m not sure where it came from. It circled the ship a few times, at one point after we went back to our cabins to be accounted for, it looked like it was headed right toward my balcony, it was very close, I took a picture of it.

    The woman was in cabin A304 near the front and I was in A516 midship, so it wasn’t far away…we had to pass the cabin every time we went to Horizons to eat…it was sealed after this happened but the name placard was not removed until the next day. I do know the names of the occupants. If she jumped from her balcony, she really had to jump way out to clear the lower balconies.

    And while I wish we knew what happened, unless there is criminality involved, I understand why no further info was given to us passengers. If it had been one of my loved ones, I would not have appreciated the info given out to total strangers…so I understand even as I want to know what happened.

    Since last Sunday, my thoughts and prayers have been with the family. It is just so very sad.

  • Barbara DeCello

    My husband and I were on this cruise as well. When the captain called “man overboard” the entire ship went to the rails to help in the search.
    We felt helpless and this helped us focus and not feel useless.
    The crew did an amazingly fantastic job keeping the passengers calm and tracking the tide flow by placing pillows in the water. A ship doesn’t stop on a dime so the use of pillowcases ingenious.
    As sad (to say the least) as the passing of the women is and knowing how alone she must have felt makes my heart break.
    I understand the level of privacy the family deserves.
    I do not understand the silence from Princess Cruise as a business in keeping this silent.
    Names should be protected so the family can heal.
    Yet, to not mention the passing of the women makes
    Me feel the company is or concerned about their image than the value of a precious life that was lost.
    I pray God will heal the hurt in those affected in everyone’s heart.

  • Mike Roy

    My wife and I were also on this cruise. Having sailed thousands of ocean miles on our own sailboat, we are familiar with the vastness of the oceans and the time it takes to turn around a cruise ship moving at 20+ knots. The captain immediately announced that man over board procedures were underway and twice reported the unfortunate results of the search.
    Curiosity seekers should respect the sensitivity of this incident and recognize the professional job performed by captain and crew in their search and recovery efforts.

  • Sharen Kirkham

    I was on this cruise. We left Ft. Lauderdale on March 17th, this happened the following Sunday, March 24th in the afternoon. The Captain and crew did an outstanding job from start to finish. Because it was determined to be a suicide, privacy issues came into play. Every person on board the Coral Princess was affected, who wouldn’t be? Prayers went out to the family and the deceased privately. We didn’t need to know the details, it wasn’t any of our business. I was thankful they recovered the body, what and accomplishment! I have no negative feelings as to how this was handled, only kudos to the Captain and his crew. My prayers continue for the family.

  • Karen L

    My husband and I and friends were also on this ship. We thought the crew and captain did an excellent job of dealing with this tragedy. The body was recovered and that in itself was amazing. They did ask passengers with binoculars to help search. Of course we wanted to know more, but it really isn’t our business. It just makes you say why, why, why and probably no one knows the answer to that. I am surprised that there still is no press on the incident. As for continuing on the cruise, what else can you do? There was only one other stop left at Cayman Islands and for all I know the body may have been embarked there. I will say it put a huge damper on our cruise emotionally and our thoughts and prayers were with her famly and friends. I agree with Sharen Kirkham’s post. Do we want to know more–yes, is it any of our business–no!

  • Karen L

    Hey Jim Walker I don’t believe anyone on the ship that Sunday said what you called a “hollow” prayer. Even though we did not know the person nor the circumstances many people were saddened and I am sure many offered “heartfelt” prayers.

  • Michelle Tran

    My husband and I were on board on this cruise also and when they made the announcement of man overboard we were actually heading to the lounge area on deck 7 by the lifeboats. Like most of the passengers aboard we tried to help locate but we all can agree that the current was also pretty high being in the middle of the ocean and all. The likelihood of her surviving was slimmer by the minute especially where she fell of on. Yes, obviously we’re all reading this post because we are curious as to what happened and its quite interesting why there are no reports about it but ultimately we do not know what happened inside that room and I think it was in the captain’s discretion not to elaborate further. Either way, we are all saddened of what happened (hence, the tone of how formal night went — we opted not to attend for the same reason) and whatever it may have been, i do hope she rests in peace.

  • Jim Pearson

    I am a coroner and have dealt with this situation. Did she commit suicide, was it an accident or even a homicide. The authorities have to look into this before they can give any information out to the public. How would you feel if they gave information out about your family member and did not have it correct. It basically is that people are just nosy and feel that they should be told everything. Princess did the right thing but not announcing what happened until it is official, At present it should just be said that someone went over the side of the ship.