Island Princess Several crew members and other people have informed me that the FBI is investigating the death of a Princess Cruises crew member yesterday.  

The cruise ship was in Colon, after cruising in the Panama Canal, when a crew member was discovered dead in his cabin. Some people are saying that it is an apparent suicide but others are stressing that the FBI has not disclosed an official cause of death. 

He was a young, newly hired galley employee on his first contract. We are not disclosing the crew member’s name nor the alleged mechanism of his death at this time. 

The cruise ship apparently had to cancel the next port of call in Limon, Costa Rica.

Photo credit: Jean-Philippe Boulet, CC BY 3.0, creative commons / wikimedia.

March 19, 2016 @1:56 P.M. Update:  Princess released the following statement: 

Island Princess Statement
March 10, 2016

"We are saddened to confirm a crew member aboard Island Princess took his own life while the ship was in Colon, Panama yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the crew member and also with our crew members working aboard Island Princess.

Local authorities were immediately contacted and we facilitated full support in the endeavor to investigate the incident. Island Princess was required to stay in Panama overnight so that authorities could conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death. The ship has completed departure formalities and received clearance from local authorities to sail.

As a result, we have been required to cancel our scheduled call to Limon and sail directly to Grand Cayman, where the ship will arrive as scheduled at 7:00 AM on Saturday, March 12.

Island Princess departed Ft. Lauderdale on March 4 for a 10-day Panama Canal cruise, scheduled to return on March 14." 

August 2, 2016 Update: A newspaper in Mexico raises the question whether the 21 year-old crew member Eduardo Smith was murdered.

  • Glenda flores

    Many crew was being abuse by their boss. Being afraid of loosing their job, we follow orders even out of our work specification. Carnival company must be aware of this specially in costa crocier managent are very bad

  • supdudelater

    Hard time, stress, long hours of work, no rest day.

  • It is true!Working in the Gally to stressful,crew are working like a machine, and bosses give so much stress to the crew, treat them very bad and not respect the are rids!

  • tgsai

    Im also a victim of having hardtime and rudeness from my italian exec.
    chef they dont care about your health instead they support you for your
    hardwork they belittle you . All crew in the galley are hardworking the problem
    is the boss that are so so rude.

  • Karren

    It is true my husband was hard timed by an Italian executive chef. Even he’s working hard compare to other chef. Specially if you’re an Asian they will descriminate you. If they don’t like you your hardwork turns to nothing and will give you a very low grade in appraisal. They don’t care their employees. B*llsh*t!

  • Alina

    It is becoming obvious that Princess should impose days off for all staff and finish with discrimination by the position (duty free, spa )and other pretending working staff having half day load while junior positions, especially galley work till exhaustion.

  • EX Dining Staff

    To all the ones making the management out to be bad… I feel very sad that a person has taken his life especially for the fact that he was selfish in doing so and leaving his family with this memories. However yes living on a ship is hard and the hours are tough. In my 12 years with Princess i must say that i never experienced any Galley management that shouted and screamed at the staff. But at the end of the day as they say if you can’t take the heat then get out of the kitchen. Believe me i have seen worse treatment on land. It will be very sad to blame the operation of the ship life for this incident. Remember we choose our own paths and therefore no one can be really blamed for his actions and choice to end his own life

  • Alina

    It is becoming obvious that Princess should impose days off for all staff and finish with discrimination by the position (duty free, spa )and other pretending working staff having half day load while junior positions, especially galley work till exhaustion.

  • Yogesh

    I don’t think it been happen due to long working hours or abused by boss . The FBI have to check dept of this cause may be its happen due to co-worker behaviors.
    I also serve for the same company for 5 year but. I never any problem during that

  • Daniel

    It is sad but true that princess abuses their crew
    I worked for them in senior management and was fired for opening my shirt after work hours in the crew bar even so I was wearing a shirt beneath
    Fact is that princess only cafes to maintain their public reputation and do not care about the service and hard work their employees put into which actually makes this company
    It is time that the public gets aware of the bad human resource practices by carnival cooperation.
    Especially the situation in F&B is bad which goes back to a majorly homosexual cooperate management which harshly take sexual advances on their crew
    I witness several cases of married Asian men working in the f&b department and providing homosexual services to their supervisor on Baird and even on cooperate level either to get a promotion they need to suppor their wife and kids or plainly because they are scared with being tiered if they not bend over. I always tried to protect them as it was heartbreaking to me and still strongly assume that this was the tee reason why they let me go
    There for
    I can only urge everybody to speak up
    You and your hard work made this company
    You have the power to also take them down for their disrespect and ungrateful employee handling methods

  • Sheree

    I’ve cruised several times and noticed on every cruise how the housekeeping and kitchen/dining staff were treated like trash which angered me. On every cruise I noticed the various departments staff members that didn’t work continuously and were able to get off the ship at the ports.

  • jleo

    All of us (people that work onboard) we know how difficult is this type of job and u know in advance about long hours rubbish managment and no days off at all for 6,8,or 10 months ,Even b4 you sign on your contract,on this case there is no1 to blame yet because there is not any pronuntiation of the FBI,for instance we dont have any right to judge anybody about this sad event.

  • Francisco

    Galley is not easy. 6 to 10 momths, no dayoff, 13 to 16 hours a day! No able to record the overtime in the ILO.
    Everything is a contradiction, people are labeled and segregated, crew, staff and officers.
    Galley is the only department where there is no time off!
    Many, many many people tend to give hardtime to new joiners and they seem to enjoy it.
    I strongly bealive that psico exams should be made at the moment of the interviews.
    Very bad management, poor work and living conditions, WE ARE NOT ABLE TO TRY THE FOOD WE COOK!!
    I could write a book aboit this.

  • Karlo

    I suggest that the investigating team look for the i.l.o. and do a survey to the crews.. its true that in the galley they work mkre than they filed up on their i.l.o. form..

  • Linda

    Yes its very true about how difficalte is to work on the ship.but its doesnt cost to give your life can always finde the way to sort your problems.and put your boss on right place with right words.just for the bosses – they need to be more polite.but some of them they are not

  • jany

    Iam agree with ex dining staff…. iam almost 5 years with princess and I ve never seen that situation due to the human resources that each ship has…. and actually what aboard tell you when you feel depressed is go back home …. simple … plus before you start you know how is gonna be… i believe the cause of death was something else… i wouldnt blame the company… ethier the management cuz is their job as well ….the family should be asked first…about the calls… anyway… my condolences to the family…

  • X-CREW


  • Axel Krack

    There is a word existing for this problem onboard….

    SLAVERY !!!!!

    No command

  • I have taken many cruises and have enjoyed cruising very much, however from a passenger perspective to a crew perspective it can be a very different experience. They work long hours and some passengers can be difficult. The problem is these ships are registered in places such as panama or Bahamas, and does not fall on the rules set in the USA or other developed nations in regards to employment standards. If you ever noticed that cruises from usa always stop at least at one port outside the usa in order to get around some of the rules in the usa.

    It is hard to imagine that when you are being waited on how they can be in a good mood even at the very end of the day. Every crew member should have at least one day off a week no matter where they work, and breaks that are actually breaks not meetings. They have no job security and can be fired for no good reason at any time. These people are often supporting families back in their home, they are separated from their family for 8 to 10 months at a time, sending a large portion of what little they make back to their families each month.

    I think things need to change, there should be supervisors that work with their employees helping them and respecting them. Their salaries are low compared to employees doing similar work on shore.

  • Jef Corpuz

    i worked in princess as a galley crew.. Hard time and long hours of work. You work 16hrs per day but u hav to put in your ILO u only work for 12hrs.. wtf. To much racism with asian people!

  • SP

    Mostely of those comment are big bullshit, first of all we can’t blame Princees Cruises for what happened for the death of this crew member (RIP) because we’re going to work on the ship for only one reason which is common for everybody MONEY, MONEY and not for fun, and beside that you get several interview before you get the job on the ship, that you have a lots of time to really decide to work on board or not. Princess Cruises never force anybody to work for them and once you accept the term and condition with a code of conduct is only your unique decision to work for Princess Cruises. So you know in advance what type of life you’ll axpected on the ship Included the big hours of work, for example supposed work 12 hours a day (I am talking about the galley) but sometimes you work even less or even more hours but still balanced. Many crew member after work getting drunk during the night and the managers in the morning have to struggling to call that in the cabin to get up to come to work on duty. Than they complaining because not enough sleep. Etc etc. I am able the write a book of 10000 pages of what happen on the ship. Another thing, the Princess Cruises has never obligated any crew member to stay in the company continuing to work if they decide to leave for any personal or professional reason. About the ILO for many crew member when they work 10 hours they still write 12 hours, which is not truth and when they work more than 12 hours they make big complaining to the HR Manager because they say working a lot. Only if you are lazy you work 16 hours a day because you are not capable to do your job in the right hours supposed be and given hard time to the managers and colleagues who they have to helping you to finish the job in the right hours getting advantages all the time. Thanks for your attention, all of you.

  • Jacob

    Working on the cruise line is the hardest job ever, I believe from all the stories from the seaman I knew. They work hard every time they’re on duty, handling demanding guest, pressure from the boss, to many orders you have to follow if not the boss will hate you and they will give you hard time. They’re busy already running like chickens from dinning room to the kitchen to picking up the guest orders with handling a lot of guests that’s why they’re stressed. And, the pressure from company for selling something like beverages, if they’re not reaching the sales target, the boss will call you and they will give you counselling…. after that,Pin you need to sign. That’s the stress you will get on board. Good luck for all fellows crew members of dinning room.

  • Sassygirl

    Ex crew and Janny, just wait it’s coming your way. You will experience all of that. You must be lucky for now. I hope that racism and discrimination will end. The crews will be more effective and better worker pretty sure.

  • Papalotl

    How many more crew members and families have to go throught this in order the authorities do sth???? There is no Labor Law regulation on board, they just do not care, we are treated like slaves, worst if you are from latin america, philipines, india or thailand!!!! When is this going to stop? Why any organizations cares abour the well being of this humans??? This is no longer a dreamed job, after all the abuses, insults, and pain.

  • bar boy

    Because i was a bar utility i awlso had allot of stres on princess ships. especially when we were expectin USPH. that was the time when bartenders and barstewards left too much work for me. when i spoke with supervisor about that i told him that i worked 15 hours that day and i finished 5 in the morning and i needed to woke up early for turnaround loading. he responced> so? i was utility too i worked 15 hours a day too i was awlso finishing in 5 in the morning.
    F U Princess

  • joseph

    Thats true .especialy in galley department Cook s are not geting proper break time .training cleaning standby for USPH ….

  • bryan peral

    Im galley utility in holland american line for 5 yrs. Same all white . They descrimnate all asians.i work there for 15hrs. And no rest day. Evryday monday. For me that insident cause stress. Of work and maybe too much pressure to tha boss they dont care about ur health. Raises still in this aera. Wish change there attitude. We work hard. As asian. Treat as a human. Not like slave dog

  • Rahul chavan

    I agree with the all comment i have been on that ship in galley pot wash 12 to 13 hours of duty no proper sleep stress …horrible because of such things i left the ship i resigned …horrible working hours

  • roni yahya

    I was working in the galley specialy in princess cruise company..i believe that crew is very very tired so he can die in his cabin..becouse when i work in the galle i have so much jobs and only litle bit resting and also too much pressure from the bos becouse we should be clean everything in the galley and alway over time. .

  • denni91

    Some of the boss especilly exechef, culinary manager are acting like they are ownerof the ship.that true and they also have favoritism some european exechef are moody.
    In Holland America there are Corporate Chef who like to get things done not realizing that ones still have too much to be done they dont care about items not on board.

  • Martha Hudgins

    I was a passenger on Island Princess when this happened. I was shocked to hear of this death and I am praying for the family. I am concerned for the crew members because I believe that what they are saying could be true and should be investigated. I spoke just in passing to many crew members who mentioned their long hours and I have worked 10 hour days in my past jobs but I was given sleep time and days off and this was in the medical field. I am ashamed of Princess bosses and sorry I was a paying passenger. May God forgive us.

  • kenshin

    I agree all u said is true.most of the manager and supervisor is giving hard time to their employee specially if they don’t like you.i know when we sign the contract is 13 hours of work. for me its OK I can still managed it but the things is when your supervisor gives u hard time and too much pressure is the one I can’t and I don’t like. here what I read. princess cruises need to read this”why good employees leave?” a study came up with this surprising ending..if your losing good people ,look to their immediate supervisor more than any other single reason,he is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization. and he’s the reason why they quit,taking their knowledge, experience and contacts with them,often,straight to the competition. people leave managers not much Manny has been thrown at the challenge of keeping good people- in form of better pay,better perks and better training- when,in the end, turnover is mostly a manager supervisor issue. if u have turnover problem,look first to your managers and supervisor. beyond a point, an employees primary need has less to do with money, and more to do with how he’s treated and how valued he feels.much of this depends directly on the immediate manager.

  • Ex utfb

    It is so hard to work on ships, especially the day before to usph f#&k too much, U finish U’r duty aproximatelly around 4 or 5 in the morning but at 8am U must wake up because U must have to refill the ship with alcohol in the case of the utfb and the galley boys must refill the ship with ingredients that will be usef during whole cruising its too much, refill therefill, case by case with tons of fud and spirits since the ship arrive to port until leave it so its so hard this job and if complain they for sure will tell U … If U dont like go home as easy like that supervisors dont care and managers as well they only give hard time never your work its enough good always is something wrong. Its hard really really hard. Is slavery at the XXI century

  • Ada

    I hace worked for 3 different cruises lines, most of which was for Princess.
    I did experience hard time too. But also noticed that many times the supervisors are just trying to get the job done, the job we are paid for. And maaaaany time some free members from very specific nationalities are just trying to avoid the excess of work,which leaves bigger workload on the rest of the team.

  • Peter Ujvary

    Racism, sexism, especially from Italian Medtros and Headwaters. I was told by one of the headwaiter that I can be only here today because Hitler wasn’t quick enough. (as I have a Jewish background) When I reported to the Metro he pointed the door and told me if I don’t like the system Im free to go home this isn’t Auswitc here. Homosexual Metros ass Metros are taking advantage especially on Asian crew Hetero Metros Headwaiters are taking advantage on Girls especially East europian and Mexican. I did only one contract with the company (9 mounts) never returned. Im not surprised someone committed suicide that was just a matter of time.
    Peter Ujvary


    No body exept the guys working in the galley know how hard is to work in galley.I worked in p&o cruises.I was behaved badly by my senior staffs.I never get time to time to do suicide otherwise I would have done it.there are times I slept wearing my uniform after shower that I don t need to waste time for changing it.some Indians who have good positions try to impress their boss just by making the new guys work’s hell.high officials never listen to low level workers.overtime payments just shown on paper works only.the senior staff have good connection with mumbai recruiting office so nothing happens even if u complaint.I really tried think ed many times to do suicide while working with them.I am ready to say this anywhere if any investigation arises.of course compared to indian or Asian money pounds or dollar is high but the way they treat you is like dig.especially if you are new.the hardest thing is Asians who are in g is that Asians who are having good positions in this company just support this just for the sake of their promotion or personal benefit.galley is the worse department to work in any cruise ships and especially in p&0

  • Cynthia

    I’m Mexican and I want the clear explanation from the Murder of Eduardo Sánchez Lira Smith It wasn’t a suicide. Some body from Your tripulation killed him. Tell us The fucking true!!!
    Encover a murder is Illegal. Princes You know it Right!!!!

  • Ilse maria de jesus gallegos ramirez

    Hola si alguien sabe algo o trabajo cuando paso esto agradeceria la informacion.
    Ya que para nosotros aun no no aclaran su muerte y queremos saber la verdad.
    Hello if anyone knows anything or work when this happened appreciate the information.
    Because for us yet to clarify his death and not want to know the truth.

  • Karla
  • Naty

    Now is known he was found in his bed naked with a towel in his mouth with scratches onto his legs and arms.

  • Luis

    It’s very sad to read about this new and that case still open with no clear response, I feel very sorry for what his family is going through, hopefully the true came Up soon. In my opinion it doesn’t seems like a suicide.
    We all know the cruise life work is very hard (galley even more) you have to deal with stress, pressure. Boss abuse, sometimes even racism and sexism for woman’s. They threat you like a slave because you’re Latin, Asian or Indian.
    His family mention that they were talking constantly and he behaved normal and happy.
    Authorities should investigate and interview the crew members also check the security cruise ship cams.

  • Rock

    Why is it hapening why dey toucher crew and dont give promotion more then 5 contract