A newspaper in Shanghai, the Shanghaist, reports that an eight-year-old girl is in critical condition after being found unconscious in the swimming pool of a Princess cruise ship last week.

The child and her mother, both from Shanghai, reportedly sailed on the Sapphire Princess, scheduled to call on ports in Japan and South Korea’s Chejudo Island.

The newspaper reports that the mother had taken her daughter to play in the “kiddy pool” and was lounging nearby when she noticed the girl was missing. Other passengers found the child unconscious Sapphire Princess Cruise Shipin a deeper pool. Surveillance film revealed that the girl had been struggling for some seven to nine minutes before she was discovered.

The child was put on a ventilator. She was eventually transferred to a hospital ashore in Shanghai, 12 hours later.

Princess had no life guards are on duty. Princess said that there were warning signs written in Chinese posted around the pool, stating that parents were responsible for supervising their children.

Warning signs are no substitute for attentive parents and alert lifeguards.

A 29 year-old woman was found dead in a pool on the same cruise ship a year ago.

This latest incident will spark a debate whether there should be lifeguards on cruise ships.

All of the major cruise lines without lifeguards have seen children killed or seriously injured in the cruise ship swimming pools. You can read about the incidents:

A  ten year old girl on the Norwegian Gem in May 2015.

A four year old on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas January 2015.

A six year old on Carnival Victory October 2014.

A six year old boy on Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas May 2014.

A four year old boy drowned and his six year old brother was medevaced after nearly drowning in a pool on the Norwegian Breakaway in February 2014.

A four year old on Disney Fantasy March 2013. The child on the Disney cruise ship was permanently and seriously injured. Disney paid a multi-million dollar settlement and began employing lifeguards on its ships. No other cruise lines have followed Disney’s lead.

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.


Photo Credit: “Sapphire Princess02” by Yankeesman312 licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

  • ferdinando costanzo

    my daughter is certified life guard she work for many years tothe pools inside the nato base she have a lot of child to take care , but she send the resume’ to many companies and no one call her ….HOW MANY KIDS HAVE TO DIE BEFORE THE CRUISE COMPANIES DECIDE TO HIRING THE LIFE GUARD ?

  • Santosh ukirde

    Dear sir,
    I m working on the best company in the cruise line. company send me home for medical reason, & now they called up me on my phone that they will not take me back. They not inform me wht reason. Plz help me

  • Bill Hegerich

    Not again! How much blood has to be spilled before the cruise industry wakes up and accepts their share of responsibility? Parents take their kids to the beach every day of the year. And, of course, they are ultimately responsible. But the lifeguards that supervise those beaches and indirectly the city fathers whose jurisdiction those beaches lie in must also accept responsibility. There’s no squirming out of that. A cruise line is no different. Unless you’re a worm who places a dollar- a single dollar- above a child’s life. I mention a dollar because that’s all they would need to charge to maintain lifeguards at their pools of death.

  • LeAnne Rigsby

    Just yesterday at the community pool in my area, I watched many mothers having conversations with one another, and seemingly oblivious to where or what their child/children were doing. At one point, a mother who’d been having a lengthy conversation with another mother, couldn’t find her young daughter in the shallow end of the pool. My husband had to point out her child — in the deeper end of the pool where the water slide’s located — and her child cannot swim.

    There are SO many children in the pools and a handful (if that many) of lifeguards who are to supervise everyone. During yesterday’s pool day, I counted on average at least 50 people (mostly children) in the pool with 3 lifeguards on duty at a time (rotated every hour). And I observed children who couldn’t swim yet had no flotation devices on. Simply mind-boggling to me.

    Children are masters at disappearing quickly from where they were 30 seconds ago. And drowning is silent. Recently I viewed a pool’s surveillance video of a young boy (couldn’t swim) who was drowning and people around him ignored his floundering thinking he was playing/splashing around; the child never made a sound that he was in distress. Luckily a man within 3-4 feet of the boy realized the life-threatening situation and pulled him up.

    If ships DID have lifeguards, will it be enough to deter deaths and injuries? My opinion is whether there are lifeguards on cruise ships or not, the ultimate responsibility is on the parents, legal guardians or whoever (adult) brought a child/children to the pool(s). (Teenagers should not be in charge of supervising their younger siblings around water either, IMO. Maturity level must come into play.)

  • Anna


  • Axel Krack

    Steward, please serve another pina colada, I’m at hollidays and my children playing somewhere in the water….

    What in the hell, this is a stupid behavior, to loose your children out of your sight. YOU !! as parents are responsable for YOUR children. A ship is not a kindergarden… Take care that YOUR children learn swimming. My son is a skilled lifeguard and paramedic. In the past, we always took care of him if he want to play in the water. There is no different between pools and beaches.

    Parents on all cruise ships – TAKE CARE OF YOUR KIDS!!! Parents are never !!!! in holidays if they travel with their kids around.

    It’s a shame for the parents!!! not even for the cruise lines and personal. This child will not be the last.

  • MDH

    We are loyal Disney cruisers. I appreciate that they have lifeguards however I still watch my kids at the pools. My daughter swims from Alcatraz to San Fran each year since she was 8 years old (she’s now 11) and I still don’t take my eyes off of her in the pools onboard.

  • Capt. Sam Walker

    This is sad…

    Is it not (a) the responsibility of parents and (b) the responsibility of the cruise ship to ensure that children do not go into a swimming pool unsupervised?

    And if they cannot swim, how can a parent let his / her child into the pool without a flotation device and without keeping an eye on them?

    Having said that, I also feel that the cruise ship should, in their initial welcome for passengers, remind them that (a) parents should take care of their kids in the pool area as there are no life guards (b) remind them to always wear flotation devices – I assume that they keep them standby to use for free – if they don’t they should!

    and last but not the least, after doing all the above, the cruise operator MUST have at least one life guard at each pool (which means at least 2 guards per pool, keepign in midn their meal / break / rest hours)