Multiple news sources are reporting that at least twelve people died when a bus carrying anywhere from twenty-seven to thirty-one cruise passengers on an excursion to Mayan ruins in eastern Mexico flipped over on a highway earlier today. Additional cruise passengers, with some sources suggesting up to eighteen people, were also injured in the accident.

The excursion bus was heading from Costa Maya to the ruins at Chacchoben, about 110 miles south of Tulum in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The majority of the passengers were reportedly from the Serenade of the Seas.

The photos and videos of the incident show many passengers lying in the road or beside the overturned bus, indicating that many people in the bus may not have been furnished with working seatbelts and they were ejected when the bus overturned. Unfortunately, we have seen this situation in other cruise line excursion bus cases, including those operated on behalf of Royal Caribbean/Celebrity Cruises.

There have been a large number of excursion bus accidents involving Royal Caribbean and its sister Mexico Excursion Bus Crashcruise line, Celebrity Cruises.

In 2015, Celebrity passengers from the Celebrity Summit were killed and injured in an excursion bus accident in Tortola.

In 2012, there were two cruise excursion bus crashes in Caribbean islands, both involving Royal Caribbean passengers. Royal Caribbean cruise passengers from the Serenade of the Seas were injured during an excursion in St. Thomas. A Royal Caribbean sponsored excursion tour bus crashed in St. Martin and injured passengers from the Freedom of the Seas.

In 2009, a dozen passengers from Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Summit were seriously injured when an open air excursion vehicle ran off the road in Dominica. We represented passengers against the cruise line and the excursion company in that accident. You can read information on the Dominica excursion accident in an article “Injured Visitors to Dominica Airlifted to Miami.”

Cruise lines face legal liability when passengers are injured or killed during sponsored excursions. Cruise lines have a duty to vet the excursions companies and warn of dangers in the road conditions and driving in foreign ports of call. Cruise lines can also be held responsible for negligent hiring and retention of the transportation companies and for vicarious liability based on theories of agency.

You can search this blog for other discussions of numerous cruise ship excursion bus accidents.

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

The Miami Herald quotes our firm in 12 reported dead as tourist bus crashes in Mexico.

December 20, 2017 Update:  A local newspaper in Mexico writes that the local tour company  ” . . .  is not the first time that (it) is involved in an accident due to the lack of caution of its operators that drive exceeding the speed limits . . .”  ABC Radio reported the acccount of a passenger who travelled to the same excursion site, saying … “one of the sides of the bus was ‘smashed’ after it fell on its side and that the ‘whole windshield was gone . . . “The seat belts were tied below the seats, so no one told us to put the seat belts on . . . ‘”

A Mexican newspaper quoted the national police that the death toll has increased: “there were 15 deaths, 14 tourists and 1 Mexican guide, 11 died on the spot and 4 on the way to the hospital.”

The Washington Post reoports that a Mexican state prosecutor alleges that the deadly bus crash was caused by the driver’s negligence and excessive speed of the bus.

Photo credit: TV AZTECA (top); Video image –  7 cty youtube (middle); video – AP via Miami Herald (bottom).

Mexico Royal Caribbean & Celerity Cruises Bus Excusion Accident


.mcclatchy-embed{position:relative;padding:40px 0 56.25%;height:0;overflow:hidden;max-width:100%}.mcclatchy-embed iframe{position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%}


  • Owen

    How do you blame a cruise line for the bad judgment of the locals???

  • Mark Johns

    they crash becuz they have local drivers driving the buses….and the vast majority have no real driving experience….like Roatan Island, tourists take risks by wandering off the ships….roatan is mostly a thug island as are most of these resort areas…better to stay on the ship and eat and drink

  • Owen:

    Royal Caribbean & Celebrity makes many tens of millions of dollars selling shore excursions in each one of ithe ports where it unloads its passengers; it has a legal duty to perform background checks on the businesses it hires to transport its guests from the cruise ships to the excusion which it profits from. It has a legal duty to vet the drivers and inspect the excursion companies and the buses and other vehicles, as well as a duty to warn its guests of dangers which it knows or should know about ashore.

  • Luka

    Jim, I am an avid reader of your blog, and I honestly respect your views – But I am also a crew member, who, although is not on Equinox is very close to the situation. I am super dissapointed that you would post such a graphic video on a blog that has such a high popularity. I fully respect you are wanting to draw attention to the situation at hand, but is posting that video on such a large platform really necessary ? As a crew member we work everyday to protect our guests, sometimes in ways you will never know or understand, and I respect that – Those close to this, friends and families of the guests and crew involved look to your site for news, advice and objective insight, not for conjecture and graphic images. In my humble opinion I do not believe this is the way to go about bringing attention to an issue that is so fresh and still under investigation with so little information. I implore you to remove that video and remain objective until further details are investigated and released. Feel free to trace my address and you will see I am based on a ship, I have nothing to hide, but I post this anonymously for personal reasons as my family were very disturbed by that video and asked me “Is this the world you live in ?” Reality is reality and fact is fact, there is no hiding it, but there is also a fine line between bringing attention to something and standing on a soapbox pointing fingers which is the message this video conveys attached to the article. I ask you again, as one human to another, is that video link necessary ?

  • “Luka”

    Thank you for your email. I see that you are a RCCL crew member. The video, one of many, came from the Miami Herald newspaper. It shows the reality of the terrible situation. The fact is that, to my experience, Royal Caribbean does a very poor job of vetting and overseeing the transportation of its guests in ports of calls. The front deck, guest relations and shore excursion personnel – both shore-side and shipboard – do a poor job overseeing the often dangerous transportation companies which take your guests to excursions in the Mexican and Caribbean ports of call. What you see is the results of RCCL’s indifference … Jim Walker

  • Luka

    Jim, I understand the video is public, and yes, there are many more if you search for them. My question is, linking something so harsh, is that the real attention you want to draw or just warmongering the troops with no real cause at this point. Unless you know something I do not, which I highly doubt in my position, you have no right, rhyme or reason to lay blame or insinuate in any way, what or who is responsible. I am not with Guest Relations, nor with ShoreX, but I am in a position to have a good idea what we do. I understand your profession and experience and I am sure we can both sit at a table and debate differences and experiences all day long, but to make a statement saying “What you see is the results of RCCL’s indifference” is irresponsible on your part, and respectfully, I would have expected better….

  • Luka:

    Until you are able to tell me your real name and contact info, I am afraid that we will never enjoy an honest conversation – I understand that you will be fired by Royal Caribean, unfortunately, if you are honest and identify yourself – but it shows the reality of the problem doesn’t it? We have seen the many similarly scared guest relations and shore excursion personnel afraid to intervene when they learn of dangerous shore excursion transportation – often too aggressive, driving too fast and carelessly and dangerously, but they are unable to do anything about it, except to offer nothing more than a token discount of the excursion fare, which inevitably leads to catastrophe like this . . .

  • Catrina

    This is so sad. My sympathies and prayers to all the involved families. I somewhat agree with Luka regarding that the crew has almost no control over the transportation decisions. Having worked as an entertainer as well as a shore ex “volunteer” (so I could see all those wonderful sights) on cruise lines, I never felt that the “ship crew” had much control over the tour transportation options. Perhaps the head of shore ex, but not anyone else. I believe all the transportation decisions are made in an office somewhere by cruise company executives. Sadly it’s all about the money with these cruise companies, as with most companies. You always take a chance when traveling on foreign soil, no matter what. Don’t think the cruise lines’ first concern is your safety. As consumers we also need to demand better conditions on these tours. If you don’t see seatbelts or the bus seems not well maintained make a fuss; it could cost you your life!

  • Suzan Swanson

    I’m sorry this has happened, but put it in the proper prospective, how many accidents have occurred on this particular excursion?? I’m sorry, but this was an accident and trashing RCCL or people they hire to do excursions is not fair ! Wait till all the facts come to light, then RCCL will do the right thing ! I’ve gone on a lot of excursions and the people are all over you for safety, something unfortunate has happened, wait and get the facts before you trash this company! Please, accidents happen !

  • Kenneth Dziubek

    Was Jim and Sandy Doyle among the dead or injured?
    Kenneth Dziubek

  • There is no mention of these individuals in the Mexican or U.S. press as being killed in the accident. I have no information regarding the cruise passengers who were injured.