Several guests aboard the Celebrity Summit have notified us that the cruise ship is currently unable to leave the port in San Juan, Puerto Rico due to what the guests understand to be either a “computer glitch” or “propulsion issues.”

The Summit was scheduled to leave San Juan yesterday  but has been unable to due to what the cruise lines often refer to euphemistically as “technical issues.”

The Cruceros Puerto Rico twitter page (translated) refers to unspecified “mechanical” or “electrical problems in the bridge.”

The website also states that the U.S. Coast Guard needs to inspect the ship before it is permitted to continue on its itinerary.

The Celebrity Summit is scheduled to have left San Juan yesterday on a twelve day cruise to St Croix, US Virgin Islands where it was suppose to call today, and then to Basseterre, St. Kitts; St Johns, Antigua; Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Kralendijk, Bonaire; St Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Ponce, Puerto Rico and then back to Puerto Rico.

One passenger informed us that “hopefully (we) will be leaving the port tonight. They are giving everybody on board $100 room credit.”

A $100 on board credit (OBC) to be stuck in port for at least a day seems hardly fair.  Royal Caribbean also just announced that it is issuing a OBC of only between $200-$400 after the air conditioning to many cabins failed during a cruise on the Anthem of the Seas.   Royal Caribbean/ Celebrity must be re-thinking their attitude towards compensation following its generous full refunds to everyone on the Oasis of the Seas after a gastrointestinal outbreak.    

Celebrity’s corporate communication people sent the following to an inquiry posted on Twitter:

Power losses on cruise ships are a relatively common occurrence. In 2016, there were at least 18 power losses on cruise ships operated by the major U.S.-based lines.

The AIS information shows the Summit in San Juan. It remains anyone’s guess how long it will stay there.

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

January 18, 2019 Update: Looks like the Summit is finally leaving port in San Juan tonight as of 9:13 p.m. per AIS.

Photo credit:  Yankeesman312 CC BY-SA 3.0

A Celebrity Cruises officer reportedly ended his life on the Celebrity Millennium, according to an article published yesterday by the Crew Center website.

On December 6th, Anton Ilichev, a young officer from Ukraine, was reportedly found hanging dead in his cabin’s bathroom, according to the article.

Crew Center states that Mr. Ilichev was working as a suite manager and had worked for Celebrity for several contracts. The Celebrity cruise ship was on a 14 Night Southeast Asia Cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore when this incident occurred. His current contract was about to end and he was scheduled to disembark in Singapore on vacation.

Crew Center expressed condolences to Mr. Ilichev’s family, friends and his fellow crew members. By all accounts, Mr. Ilichev was a popular and well liked crew member. Friends and his co-employees expressed similar sentiments on Facebook.

Several crew members raised concerns that there is an absence of resources for mental health support and counseling for employees on cruise ships, commenting:

“There is no mental support whatsoever in such a difficult environment! Don’t you dare ask the doctor for a day off for simply being mentally exhausted, they’ll tell you that you are free to sign off. Crew members should have the chance for therapy/counceling onboard and should be encouraged to attend! But crew members sadly will always, always be just numbers. 😰 Condolences to his family.”

As I mentioned in an article titled Misery Machines and Crew Member Suicides, anyone who follows the cruise industry knows that suicides of crew members are hardly rare.

A 22-year-old Serbian crew member, Nikola Arnautovic, on the Carnival Fascination, hung himself four months ago. A petition was started on Change.org – Save lives! Make psychologists compulsory for Carnival Cruise workers and 1 day off a week.

A British chef was found hanging in his cabin aboard the Crystal Serenity cruise ship several years ago.  Two weeks earlier, a safety officer on the Disney Dream ended his life in a similar manner. And the day before that, a woman in Carnival’s entertainment department was found hanging in an officer’s quarters on the Carnival Sensation.

An Indian dishwasher on the Costa Magica was found hanging in his cabin in February 2017. A galley worker also killed himself a few years earlier on the Island Princess by hanging.

Of course, most crew members do not end their lives by hanging themselves. Most ship employees who choose to end their lives do so by jumping overboard.  During a period of less than three years between December 2009 and October 2012, at least twelve crew members jumped overboard or simply disappeared from cruise ships operated by Royal Caribbean/Celebrity Cruises. I wrote about the problem in an article titled “Is Royal Caribbean Working Its Crew Members to Death?”  The grueling schedule and long hours crew members are required to work 7 days a week, 30 days a month with no days off over the course of a 6 to 10 month contract, for far less than the U.S. minimum wage, often leave ship employees, who are already isolated from their families, exhausted and demoralized.

In the past decade, many dozens of crew members have jumped into the sea. The common reaction by guests is pointlessly “you can’t fall from a cruise ship” as if casting blame on the dead crew member will somehow solve the problem.

Mental health services for cruise ship employees are non-existent. And the  emotional well being of crew members is not a topic that is discussed in the U.S. Few Americans seem concerned with the working conditions on cruise ships faced by citizens of the greater world community. Most U.S. citizens respond to the exploitation of crew members from India or Jamaica with the rationalization that whatever pittance the “foreign” crew members receive is more than the workers can receive back home. “If they don’t like the work, they can quit” is the common saying.

It is unknown exactly what work conditions Mr. Ilichev faced on the Celebrity ship or what he experienced in his personal life. Crew Center raised the issue of providing services for mental health of crew members in Why aren’t there psychologists on board cruise ships?  Cruise lines like Celebrity Cruises, invest many hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars on building increasingly huge cruise ships each year. They need to begin investing in their crew member’s well being at sea.

Please join the discussion on our Facebook page.

December 11, 2018 Update: Newsweek covers the story – Cruise Ship Crew Member Takes Own Life During Last Voyage with Company.

Photo credit: Facebook

Earlier this afternoon, a passenger aboard the Celebrity Constellation informed me that the Celebrity cruise ship broke its moorings in La Spezia, Italy due to torrential winds during a heavy rain storm.

⚠️Celebrity Constellation rompe amarras esta mañana, en el Puerto de La Spezia.⚠️https://crucerofun.comMira lo que sucede en este video ↙️🤦‍♀️Celebrity Constellation, perteneciente a la naviera Celebrity Cruises se encontraba amarrado en el puerto de La Spezia cuando de manera imprevista como consecuencia de los fuertes vientos y tormentas que azotan desde ayer a la región, rompió sus amarres quedando a la deriva. Tres remolcadores rápidamente llegaron a su rescate y trabajaron arduamente para asegurar que la nave no colisione con el Costa Magica que tambien se encontraba amarrado en el puerto.Se vivieron minutos de mucha tensión hasta lograr auxiliar con éxito a la nave. Las tornentas aun siguen sin cesar en la zona portuaria y sus alrededores . Muchas embarcaciones estan cambiando sus rumbos hacia puertos donde puedan detenerse sin complicaciones. Cinco embarcaciones que debian partir ayer desde el puerto de Venecia, aun se encuentran amarradas, aguardando que pasen los fuertes vientos y el clima sea el adecuado para comenzar sus itinerarios.Esperemos que todo mejore pronto! #CelebrityConstellation #CruceroFun #LaSpezia #Fun #MomentosFun #ModoFun #Cruises #Cruceros📽 Chiara Angelinelli

Posted by Crucero Fun on Monday, October 29, 2018

 

We were subsequently informed via Twitter that once the mooring lines broke, the Constellation struck the Costa Magica which was also in port in La Spezia.

A friend on Twitter informed me that there is very bad weather affecting the western & central Mediterranean Sea, with gale-force winds affecting the region causing commercial vessels to cancel their sailings. The heavy wind caused chaos to some of the container ships in port as well, according to some of the people on Twitter.

Many of the passengers are now on buses heading to Rome, after being told that the port in Rome is closed and after the Constellation remained in La Spezia.

Cruise passenger Debbie Laughton tweeted that Celebrity has “given us back our luggage & expect a mass exodus off the ship over the next two hours! Five hours to Rome . . . ”

Another Celebrity passenger on the Constellation complained of poor communications from the cruise ship staff, tweeting that “communication is soooo incredibly bad, in particular for those who have to leave the ship early tomorrow. So bad!!!”

Have a comment? Please leave a comment on out Facebook page.

Video credit: Crucero Fun

The United States Coast Guard medevaced a passenger from a Celebrity Cruises cruise ship yesterday. 

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew performed a medical rescue of a woman from the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship near Noyes Island, west of Craig, Alaska, on May 30, 2018.

The captain of the Celebrity cruise ship contacted the station of the 17th Coast Guard District in Juneau, Alaska that a 61 year-old woman was suffering a heart attack. The Coast Guard station then dispatched a helicopter from the Coast Guard station in Sitka.

The Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted the woman and transported her to Ketchikan, Alaska, where a Guardian Flight crew was waiting for transport to additional medical care. 

Video Credit: Petty Officer 1st Class Jon-Paul Rios, U.S. Coast Guard District 17 via Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.

A number of newspapers are reporting that a resident of New York is suing Celebrity Cruises after he scalded his feet on a hot deck on one of its cruise ships several years ago.

The 66 year-old passenger, who apparently suffered from pre-existing neuropathy of his feet, was sailing aboard the Celebrity Silhouette when the incident occurred. The cruise ship had docked in Greece and, after briefly leaving the ship, he returned to the Silhouette after deciding that it was too hot and he would rather spend time in the cruise ship pool.

The New York Post explains that he reportedly parked his scooter cart near a swimming pool on deck 12 (not sure exactly which one), took off his shoes (and apparently his socks) and walked bare-footed the rest of the distance, around 10-12 feet, to the pool. Because of the nerve damage to his feet, he did not realize the scalding heat of the pool deck surface or the burns to his feet. But when his spouse and another traveling companion joined him in the pool, they noticed that his feet were severely burned and “from toe to heel, the skin was just hanging off,” according to the new accounts. He reportedly declined an offer by the cruise line to fly home for medical treatment. His feet later became infected and he ended up having one of the toes amputated.

He located a lawyer who filed suit against the cruise line in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, seeking $5,000,000 in damages for his injuries and $1,000,000 for his wife’s loss of consortium claim. The lawsuit alleged that Celebrity should have warned passengers about the “extremely hot” deck. The newspaper quoted him saying: “. . . I took off a pair of shoes and left them in the cart to go to the pool. If they had just given a hint that it was that hot…”

The popular cruise blog, Cruise Radio, asked the questions every cruiser wants to know: “Do you believe the cruise line had a responsibility to post warnings about the hot deck? . . . Or should someone with his condition have been more cautious given he returned to the ship due to the heat?”

Of course, the answer to both questions should be “yes.” Any time that a simple warning can avoid serious injury, including the amputation of a portion of a guest’s body, it should be provided. Only the most cynical person would not want to see such mental and physical suffering to be avoided. But at the same time, anyone suffering from peripheral neuropathy affecting his feet should obviously take special precautions to avoid this type of injury. There is no mention in the articles whether the passenger thought to simply touch the surface with his hand and then wear his shoes, or sandals, or flip-flops across the hot deck to the pool.

The news accounts of the lawsuit has generated considerable press, with most readers calling the injured cruise ship guest “stupid” and his lawsuit “frivolous.”

But there is no question that a pool deck can create second degree burns to a passenger on a hot summer day; the cruise lines are aware of this danger and can avoid injury to their guests with an Silhouette Hot Deck Lawsuiteffective warning. There have been a number of lawsuits filed against the Miami based cruise lines for burns due to hot decks.

The case of Gibbs v. Carnival Cruise Line involved an injury to a child, back in 1998, who suffered second degree burns on the soles of his feet when he stepped onto the hot surface of the deck of the Carnival Destiny. The child was under the care of Carnival employees in the cruise ship’s Camp Carnival child care program. His parents had to interrupt the family vacation and return home to New Jersey with their child to care for the boy’s injuries.

In 2012, an Orlando resident sustained severe burns on his feet caused by a hot surface of the Lido pool deck on a Carnival cruise ship. He sued Carnival for his physical injuries, as well as for pain, suffering and mental anguish related to the hot deck. He also alleged that his feet became severely infected due to the poor shipboard medical treatment. The Miami New Times commented on the lawsuit, stating that the “roasting deck surface led to nasty burns, as well as ‘serious and permanent scarring, disfigurement, and embarrassment.'” The New Times article gave the painful ordeal a comical spin in an article titled Lawsuit Claims Hairy Man Contest On Cruise Led To Burned Feet For Florida Man when it was learned that the guest was injured while participating in a “hairy chest” competition on a hot deck.

At least one hot Lido deck – burned feet case, very similar to the current Celebrity case, went to trial against Carnival last year. I heard that it also involved a guest with a pre-existing peripheral neuropathy involving his feet due to diabetes. The case ended with a jury returning a defense verdict against the passenger.

Carnival is not the only cruise line sued for super-hot pool decks. In 2016, a Norwegian Cruise Line passenger sustained second-degree burns on the bottom of his feet. He claimed that NCL failed to warn him that the deck near the pool area was hot enough to cause such an injury. The guest had gone swimming in the ship pool after taking off his flip-flops; but when it was time to get out of the pool, someone had removed his flip-flops, requiring him to step on the hot deck with his bare feet. He suffered from diabetic neuropathy and did not feel the severity of the heat as it burned his feet. His case settled at a mediation conference.

The curious thing about the recent Celebrity lawsuit is that is was filed in federal court in Brooklyn and that it was brought nearly four years after the incident in July 2014. The terms and conditions of all cruise passengers tickets require that lawsuits against Celebrity (as well as NCL, Carnival and Royal Caribbean) must be filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida (a condition which has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court (see Carnival Cruise Lines v. Shute).

Also, absent an agreement to extend the filing deadline, lawsuits against a cruise line must be filed within one year of the accident/injury. The docket sheet for the Celebrity lawsuit shows that the case was filed on May 10, 2018 (almost 3 years too late). The time for Celebrity’s response is not due until June 1, 2018.

Expect for the cruise line to move to dismiss the case for being filed too late and in the wrong courthouse.

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Photo credit: Top – Fred Hsu on en.wikipedia – CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

News sources in Mexico are reporting that an excursion boat with cruise passengers aboard sank last week. 

Riviera Maya News reports that the cruise excursion incident took place on Wednesday January 3rd, approximately 15 minutes after the boat sailed from Cozumel with ten cruise guests aboard it. The boat’s crew instructed the cruise passengers to head to the bow; however, the boat took on water quickly and the guests had to jump into the water. The cruise passengers reportedly were from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship and a Celebrity ship (the Celebrity Equinox). 

The cruise passengers were reportedly rescued from the water by other boats in the area, 

Local news sources state that none of the cruise passengers were physically injured.

The YouTube video at the bottom shows the bow of the sunken tourist boat bobbing in the water with some of the passengers being rescued. 

There have been several other similar incidents during cruise excursions near Cozumel, Mexico. Just six weeks ago, 95 German cruise poassengers from the Mein Schiff 6 cruise ship were rescued after a catamaran boat began to sink during an excursion, acording to the Baja Post (photo below).  

This mishap occurs just over two weeks after a deadly bus excursion accident near Costa Maya, Mexico when a bus with 11 cruise passengers from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship and a Celebrity Cruises ship was heading towards a Mayan ruins tourist attraction in Chacchoben, in Quintana Roo state, Mexico. 

Hahe a thought? Please leave a message below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Video credit (below): 5to Poder Periodismo ConSentido YouTube page. Image credit (bottom) of November 16, 2017 sinking –  Noticaribe via Baja Post.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=uqyzASqwGHg%3Frel%3D0

 Mexico Excursion Accident

 

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

 

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NTSB Report Ketchikan Accident Celebrity InfinityThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the probable cause of the Celebrity Infinity’s allision with a dock last year in Ketchkan, Alaska was the master’s failure to plan, monitor, and execute a safe docking maneuver.

You can read the NTSB report here. A photo from the NTSB report is to the left.

Last year, we reported on the allision in Alaska. As you can see in the video below, posted on YouTube by Maria Harvey, the cruise ship smashed into a dock at berth 3 in Ketchikan.

The NTSB concluded that bad weather played a factor in the mishap. The wind was gusts were as high as 50 mph. The master also admitted that he did not know that tug boats were available for assistance in the docking.

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

 

Celebrity ConstellationCelebrity Cruises passengers intending to depart yesterday on the Celebrity Constellation from Barcelona, Spain are stuck in that port for two days due to propulsion issues, even though the cruise ship just came out of dry dock.

During the recent two week dry dock, two new restaurants were constructed and certain suites were refurbished. The software on the ship which manages the turbines and propulsion systems was also upgraded. But shortly after departure from the dry dock facility in Marseilles, France, the Constellation experienced problems with her speed.

The Constellation was scheduled to sail to Monaco, (where the Grand Prix is occurring) and Villefranche. Instead, the cruise ship will sail Genoa and then resume her itinerary.

Popular cruise media sites are reporting that Celebrity promised to accommodate passengers and pay for meals while they stay in Barcelona over this Memorial day weekend as the Constellation is being repaired. Celebrity Cruises has also promised to provide onboard credit of an undisclosed amount for the missed ports. 

Celebrity posted a Facebook message yesterday which reads: "We  regret that we have had to delay the departure of Celebrity Constellation, due to depart on 26th May 2017 from Barcelona. Because we need to resolve an unforeseen technical challenge related to the software that manages the ship’s propulsion, boarding for the cruise will be delayed by two days. Constellation will now depart Barcelona, Spain on Sunday, the 28th May."

Since that time, many Guests expressed frustration on social media due to the lack of updates from Celebrity. Many people asked why they could not simply board the ship and stay in their paid-for cabins rather than experience confusion and delay looking for hotel rooms ashore. One answer may be that the ship is experiencing limited electric power generated from her engines, or that the ship may have to shut down her power system in order to perform the necessary repairs. Either way, this raises the issue whether this is simply a minor problem with the software. 

Cruise line often characterize power losses and profusion problems like this as "technical issues." 

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

Photo credit: Megadri – CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

Cruise Ship MedevacThe U.S. Coast Guard was busy on Thursday and Friday with four medevacs of ill cruise ship passengers off of the coast of Florida, North Carolina and Puerto Rico. 

The Coast Guard first provided an emergency airlift on Thursday morning to a 47-year-old male passenger from the Celebrity Reflection, to a hospital in San Juan Puerto Rico.

The Celebrity cruise ship was about 35 miles north of Puerto Rico, en route from St. Kitts to Miami, when the crew requested Coast Guard assistance in transporting the man who was described as being in "medical distress" to a local hospital.

On Friday, the Coast Guard reportedly medevaced a 53-year-old woman from the Carnival Ecstasy which was approximately 150 miles east of Port Canaveral. The crew of the Ecstasy contacted the Coast Guard at around 10:43 a.m., stating that a passenger was experiencing chest pain.

The Coast Guard station in Clearwater dispatched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to the Carnival cruise ship. The helicopter arrived at the Ecstasy aroung at 2:30 p.m., hoisted the cruise passenger and a ship nurse, and transported them to Halifax Memorial Hospital in Daytona at around 4:45 p.m. A video of the rescue is below at the middle.

Also on Friday, the Coast Guard station in Miami deployed a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter which hoisted a 41-year-old passenger man from the Carnival Magic which was about 100 miles southwest of Key West.

The man was experiencing chest pains and was flown to the Miami-based air station, where EMS personnel drove him to Jackson Memorial Hospital. A video of the medevac is at the bottom.

A family member left a message on the Defense Video and Imagery Services (DVIDS) webpage stating:

So thankful for your service . My son-in-law is going to be fine. They put a stint in and we should be able to bring him home to North Carolina soon. God is Good !! Our prayers were answered. May God bless each of you for your service and for getting him where he needed to be to get help. Our family is grateful for all you did.

A third medevac also took place on Friday afternoon. The Coast Guard medevaced a 60 year-old man from a cruise ship off the coast of North Carolina after the crew reported that he was experiencing kidney failure.

The Coast Guard station in Elizabeth City launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and a C-130 Super Hercules aircraft which arrived at the Norwegian Breakaway, around 120 miles southeast of Wilmington. The helicopter crew hoisted the man to the helicopter and transported him to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington for treatment. 

There is no reported inforrmation regarding the status of this NCL passenger or the other passengers who were medevaed for emergency medical treatment ashore from the Carnival Ecstasy or the Celebrity Reflection.  

The costs involved in U.S. Coast Guard medevacs are paid by the U.S. government. 

Another cruise ship medevac took place on Friday after a 66 year old woman fell and broke both of her legs on the P&O Pacific Jewel off the north-east coast of Australia (Queensland).

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Video credit: 

Top – 7News Australia.

Middle – Carnival Magic – U.S. Coast Guard District 7 via DVIDS.

Bottom – Carnival Ecstasy – Petty Officer 1st Class Luke Clayton, U.S. Coast Guard District 7 PADET Jacksonville via DVIDS.