Royal Caribbean President Adam Goldstein has a strange article this past week on his Sea Views blog. It’s about his cruise line’s "FlowRider" attraction, where passengers attempt to boogie board or surf on a thin water streaming at a high speed across the surface of the attraction.
We have written a number of articles about the FlowRider and the numerous serious injuries (and one death) which have occurred on Royal Caribbean cruise ships. Read: Wipeout! Liability of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for FlowRider Accidents.
Notwithstanding the danger, CEO Goldstein writes that Royal Caribbean "recently loosened the reins a bit as it relates to the tricks guests are permitted to perform on our FlowRider® surf simulators."
Goldstein explains that in 2012, "in an effort to find the right balance between excitement and safety we had tightened up our rules in 2012. Maybe a little too much . . . " But it seems that the cruise line has now opted for a bit less safety and more fun. The cruise executive writes:
"As of this summer, guests are able to try various types of fun tricks such as sitting, 180 degree turn, facing opposite direction, lazy boy, drop knee, drop knee 360, layback, boogie shuvit, baseball catcher, 360, skiing, show pony, rail slide, basic ollie, pop shuvit, heel side stall and the toe side stall . . ."
Expect more injuries and more lawsuits. And you’ll never see a photo of Goldstein risking breaking his neck on the FlowRider.
President Goldstein spins the surfing attraction by telling the story of a young ten year old cruise passenger who learned to surf on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship and is now the "World Flowboard" champion. Good for her.
But here is where the story gets weird. The letter that Goldstein posts on his blog, and supposedly was written by the child, states that an officer on the ship "called me over and asked if I had completed my activities waiver." (Do children really write like this?) The officer then allegedly checks the child in and she starts to FlowRide!
The troubling thing is that children can’t execute waivers, an officer can’t complete the waiver on behalf of a child, and the waiver is illegal in the first place.
Our firm handled the case where the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal struck the cruise line’s "activities waiver" down, holding that it is unlawful and cannot be used against injured FlowRider participants on the high seas.
There are also design defects in the FlowRider, we allege, which most participants don’t realize.
It’s a sad spectacle watching a cruise CEO hawk FlowRider cruises by mentioning children signing activity waivers that the courts have ruled to be void and unenforceable.
Photo Credit: Jim Walker