The bizarre story of the overboard Royal Caribbean passenger being rescued by the Disney Magic near Cozumel is still trending. 

Everyone who’s cruised or is thinking of cruising has by now read at least one story about the 22 year-old passenger who fell off of the Oasis of the Seas and then was magically rescued by a Disney ship almost 5 hours later. 

The story was first published by a newspaper in Mexico and then translated and published here on Cruise Law News on January 9th. Dozens of publications and news networks have since covered the Royal Caribbean Man Overboardstory. 

Today the Wall Street Journal’s Risk & Compliance Report published an article entitled Crisis of the Week: Royal Caribbean Goes Overboard by Ben DiPierto.

As DiPietro points out, it’s bad enough that the cruise line lost another person overboard without even knowing it (a result I say of not investing in automatic man overboard technology required by the Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act) but the Royal Caribbean passenger was rescued by competing cruise line Disney (which has installed the latest in MOB technology). We have reported on dozens of passengers and crew members who have disappeared on Royal Caribbean ships before, including the Oasis of the Seas, but Royal Caribbean seems more interested in filling its new so-called "smart" ships with gadgets to "wow" the passengers (like the simulated balconies, bumper cars, FlowRiders, rock walls and the North Star capsule) rather than investing in lifesaving personnel and technology.  

The man-overboard story represents the continuation of recent bad news for Royal Caribbean. The cruise line is still reeling from the recent horror story of a near drowning of a 4 year-old child in a life-guard-less pool on Oasis of the Seas on January 3rd. Disney not only has MOB lifesaving technology, but it is one of the few cruise lines with fully staffed lifeguards. Given it’s refusal to staff its ships with lifeguards or implement MOB technology, Royal Caribbean is definitely 2 big steps behind Disney in safety. 

Plus, Royal Caribbean just weathered a highly publicized  sexual assault of a woman in her cabin by a mini-bar attendant with unsupervised access to a master key on the Quantum of the Seas on December 29th.  Women being assaulted by cabin attendants entering cabins via master keys has been a problem on Royal Caribbean ship for decades. 

Royal Caribbean appears clueless in handling the MOB public relations fall-out. The crisis management experts cited in DiPietro’s article criticize the cruise line for lacking empathy and transparency in its response to this story which has rocketed across Facebook, Twitter, cable new and television. One expert in the Wall Street Journal article says “the company is lacking serious crisis management communications."

There is no doubt about that. But if the cruise line would install MOB devices, hire lifeguards and restrict cabin key-cards, Royal Caribbean wouldn’t need to hire new PR people. 


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Photo Credit: DailyMail 

  • Deborah

    I’ve cruised with Royal Caribbean close to 20 times in the past 30 years. I have never, ever felt unsafe on any of their Ships. As far as I am concerned, no one, I repeat, No one, accidentally falls overboard by accident. If your clowning around, or climbing where you shouldn’t be climbing, then maybe. But, you don’t fall overboard by mistake. I find it impossible to do, unless, you intend to fall over. I’m preparing for my next 2 week cruise on RCCL in April, and have no fears.

  • chris

    I agree with Deborah! How does someone fall overboard from some big wave? And how did nobody else see this wave? So there was only 1 big wave? There is something fishy about that story,just don’t add up!

  • Christeen Rossington

    The issue is not whether you deliberately jumped, slipped or fell overboard.

    MOB systems in place alert cruise lines that someone has gone over. Not disputing how.

    That is the focus.

  • CJ

    I am a Diamond Plus member with Royal Caribbean and have been sailing with them since the 90’s. To begin with I have never been on a cruise where someone just falls overboard, The only way I can imagine some going over is to be climbing where you should not be. This article also sounds more like a marketing page for the highly overpriced Disney Cruise Line and nothing more.

  • Lori

    They need the MOB like every cruise line. It doesn’t matter how people go over, it is a matter of saving lives and the reputation that they care for their customers.They could pay for it with their payroll savings, or from the money they saved with their bootleg microsoft products. If someone wants to off himself they can do it on someone else’s vacation. More importantly it would also stop the suspicious overboard accounts of no witness no crime.

  • Jack

    Christeen and Lori get it. The other 3 posters are missing the point.

    To add, at one point or another almost everyone has drunk more alcohol than they initially indented to. And you know after drinking, your rational thinking is diminished, and you do things you normally wouldn’t. Drink too much (which is very easy to do accidentally), and you really don’t know what you’re doing.

  • Bob Jones

    what is most disturbing about this industry in general is the cruise lines seem to brush everything under the carpet. Or just clean a cabin in a suspected murder case for example… Just saying RCCL. Seems like they don’t like making statements to address things that for wrong on their ships.

    It’s a dark, scummy industry and its about time that these companies are held more accountable.

  • Bill

    I’m Emerald with RCCL . . . But what has that got to do with anything??? How many people have possibly been MURDERED by being thrown overboard a ship??? Answer me that, if you can. The law REQUIRES the MOB systems. Plain, and simple! Let’s for once, hear the cruise lines-not their “cheerleaders”-come out with the truth themselves as to why they’re not obeying the law.

  • Ryan

    Regarding the minibar attack…One thing that always shocks me on Oasis and Allure is that the deadbolt is just for show. It is there and it locks, but the minute somebody puts a valid SeaPass or access card in and turns the handle, the bolt unlocks. Not too sure what the reason it is there to begin with then. Seems really unsafe. While I’m certain there are medical/criminal instances where access to a room is required, there must be a better solution than that. After all, every hotel in the world deals with this.

  • Gerald

    “Given it’s refusal”… Please know that “it’s” should not have an apostrophe, a somewhat basic error.

  • Dinah McCarthy

    I am disappointed in RCCL’s inability to provide anythjng but a canned response when I inquired about what is RCCL’s operating plan to instruct guests what to do incase of a terrorist attack. If for some reason they rushed the gangway and got on the ship. Nothing, other than the standard muster drill. Yet, they continue to go into ports deemed dangerous by the State Dept. I asked to speak to security dept, and was told their wasn’t any. I couldn’t believe the response. I asked specifically about Turkey, in light of all the terrorism there are right now.
    I asked if we were still going there and why.
    I asked what they base they decision on. RCCL was unprepared the to answer my concerns. I travel with them almost exclusively and am alarmed at the rsponse I got today.