Several guests aboard the Mariner of the Seas report that a passenger who went overboard from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship tonight has been located and rescued from the water.

I first heard of the overboard and the rescue from updates on Twitter from @kcjarvis who posted information, via a live video “periscope” app, operated under “Mariner of the Seas #rcperiscopers.”

He reported that “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar” announcements were made on the ship as it headed toward Nassau. Search and rescue protocols were then followed.

@kcjarvis provided updates from guests on the Royal Caribban cruise ship.

Later, he dramatically stated that the captain of the Royal Caribbean ship announced that the overboard person had been successfully rescued and brought aboard the ship.

The Mariner of the Seas left Miami on the late afternoon of March 18, 2019 for a four night cruise to the Bahamas (Nassau and Coco Cay). The ship is scheduled to return to Miami on the early morning of March 22nd.

It is unusual (but great news) for an overboard person to be rescued (and so quickly) and to have an account of such good news covered via a live video.

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Photo credit: Spaceaero2 – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.

Video credit: @kcjarvis / Mariner of the Seas #rcperiscopers

On Thursday, February 14, 2019 a cruise passenger was reportedly seriously injured in a bus excursion accident in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

We were informed that the passenger was injured in a bus/auto accident while on a cruise sponsored tour after the Allure of the Seas arrived in San Juan. The women reportedly had to be airlifted from the island. Her son was reportedly on another excursion which was cut short to get him back to be with his family. The woman’s family departed from the Allure following the excursion accident.

At this point, we have received no details regarding either the accident or the cruise guest’s injuries.

The Allure of the Seas left Miami on February 10th and called on Philipsburg, St. Maarten on February 13th. The ship arrived in San Juan, on February 14th. After this accident, the ship was delayed several hours leaving San Juan and arrived at the private destination in Labadee, Haiti yesterday. The Allure will return  to Miami tomorrow.

There have been at least seven bus excursions throughout the Caribbean in the last ten years where Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises passengers have been killed or seriously injured, including the following incidents:

In 2017 and 2016, there were bus excursion accidents in Mexico and Jamaica which involved the deaths and serious injuries of dozens of cruise passengers.

In January 2017, a Celebrity Cruises excursion bus collided with a car during a cruise sponsored trip in New Zealand, leaving a half dozen cruise passengers from the Celebrity Solstice seriously injured.

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.  You can read information about the accident in an article titled Injured Visitors to Dominica Airlifted to Miami.

You can read about prior cruise excursion accidents here.

We represented passengers against Royal Caribbean and Celebrity in litigation involving several of these accidents.

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 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. Royal Caribbean often represents that the tours which it sells to its passengers are allegedly “the best” excursions using “the best” tour operators and “the best” transportation.

Cruise lines collect hundreds of millions of dollars each year promoting and selling shore excursions in foreign ports of call, and are not even subject to U.S. taxes on this highly profitable business.  Yet, after their cruise guests are injured or killed during these excursions, they claim that their local agents are “independent contractors” who are not subject to jurisdiction here in the U.S.

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Photo credit: Daniel Christensen CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

The Mariner of the Seas returned to the port of Miami this evening due to an injured passenger requiring emergency medical treatment.

A passenger on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship informed me that there was an “alpha call today for the sports deck” earlier today. The ship returned to Miami and an ambulance took the injured man from the port.  It is unknown exactly how the passenger was injured, although there are comments on social media (above) that the man may have fractured his pelvis.

The Mariner of the Seas left Miami yesterday on a two night cruise and was scheduled to spend the day at CocoCay in the Bahamas and then return  to Miami tomorrow (February 9th). The ship reportedly couldn’t tender in CocoCay due to high winds.

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Two men reportedly trying to board the Allure of the Seas at PortMiami on Sunday were arrested by federal agents for possession of a large quantity of drugs which they were intending to sell on the cruise ship.

Local 10 News reports that a Homeland Security special agent intercepted emails from the government-issued computer of Peter Melendez, age 35, (Facebook page here), who is a government contractor at the Pentagon, and Robert Koehler, age 27, (Facebook page here), discussing their strategy to distribute the smuggled drugs to other passengers on the ship.

The local news station reported that after both men arrived at the port, a drug sniffing canine alerted its handler to their luggage which contained MDMA (ecstasy), ketamine, Viagra, Adderall and GHB.

The news station stated that the men were arrested on charges of illegal drug trafficking with Melendez charged with intent to traffic MDMA.

The Chesapeake Today newspaper reports that the men were planning to cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas which had been chartered to Atlantis Events for its annual gay cruise to the Caribbean.

Pentagon contractor busted when boarding cruise with his bag of drugs to sell; used government computer for planning peddling pills

In 2011, a passenger, Barry Krumholz, was arrested for selling large quantities of ecstasy pills, methamphetamine, ketamine and other drugs aboard the same Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Allure of the Seas, which was involved in this latest case and had again been chartered by Atlantis Events. There were reportedly a half-dozen drug overdoses during the cruise.

A week before that Royal Caribbean/Atlantis cruise, I wrote Is Royal Caribbean Ready for Medical Emergencies During the World’s Largest Gay Cruise?  I questioned why Royal Caribbean tolerated the widespread use of drugs during Atlantis Events cruise parties.

In the 2011 incident, Customs and Border Protection agents searched Krumholz’s cabin and  reportedly found more than 142 ecstasy pills, nearly 3 grams of methamphetamine, a small quantity of ketamine and about $51,000 in cash.

Other Atlantis Events cruise parties have been marred by drug overdoses and deaths over the years.

Last year, Storm Chasers’ star Joel Taylor died of a suspected overdose on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, which had been chartered by Atlantis Events, according to TMZ and other websites. These tabloids reported that passengers on the Royal Caribbean ship stated that “drugs on the party boat were plentiful.”

In 2009, a passenger died after he reportedly took drugs during a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas cruise ship which had been chartered for the use of Atlantis Events.

In 2010, I wrote the article Another Death on a Royal Caribbean – Atlantis Cruise after a passenger died while aboard the Liberty of the Seas which had been chartered to Atlantis Events. There was widespread discussion regarding the use of drugs during Atlantis Events sponsored events.*

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Image Credit:Atlantis Events / Royal Caribbean Cruises

February 5, 2019 Update: NBC News covered the drug bust. Other major news media have been reluctant to identify the Allure of the Seas as the cruise ship where the men intended to sell the drugs.

*/A reader of this blog contacted me last week and pointed out that Atlantis Events changed it policies apparently based on last year’s death on the Harmony of the Seas. Its new vacation guide states that it will have medically-related personnel at its cruise party. At page 14 of its website under “Safety at Sea” it states:

“Our new Care Team is here to help! At all our parties and events you’ll find a team of dedicated medical professionals here to assist with absolutely anything. They will be wearing bright blue T-shirts with our Care Team logo and all have experience in working large festivals, sports events, and nightlife.

If you or anybody around you needs assistance or might need medical care, please simply ask them. They are here to help and will provide support in a nonjudgmental manner regardless of the situation. All matters are handled in the same ethical manner as in a land-based hospital.

Most importantly, please look after yourselves and each other. If you see somebody who over-indulged or is unwell, please let our team assist first.

Enjoy yourselves, but remember to take breaks to eat, sleep, and of course hydrate! Most people don’t realize how different being at sea is and how the combination of motion, sun, and late hours can sneak up on you. Take a night off once and a while and explore the myriad of options we have planned for you!

You are here on vacation, and we truly want you to go home feeling rested, not exhausted.”

A crew member has reportedly gone overboard from the Majesty of the Seas last night according to several passengers on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

This morning shortly before 8:00 a.m., we received the following message from a guest on the cruise ship:

“We are on the Majesty of the Seas. It was just reported that we will be late to get to port today because a crew member went overboard. No other information has been given to us. They said we assisted in the efforts last night to look, but no one was found.”

Another guest contacted us on Facebook around 7:00 a.m stating:

“Currently on Royal Caribbean majesty of the seas … search and rescue underway with coast guard for crew member that threw themselves overboard.”

The following information was also posted on Twitter:

Local news stations are reporting that the crew member is 26 years old. There is an active search and rescue operation underway around 37 miles east of the Miami area.

Two Royal Caribbean crew members and one officer from a Celebrity Cruises ship have gone overboard in the last two months. All three apparently decided to end their lives.

A Royal Caribbean crew member, also 26 years of age, went disappeared from the Adventure of the Seas at the end of November of last year.  He was subsequently identified as Jack Daniel Ackroyd, from Cotgrave (near Nottingham) England, who worked on the ship’s sports deck.

Another Royal Caribbean crew member, a performer identified as Arron Hough, age 20, of the United Kingdom went overboard from the Harmony of the Seas the day after Christmas.

A young Celebrity Cruises officer, Anton Ilichev hung himself on the Celebrity Millennium, on December 6, 2018.

It again appears that this Royal Caribbean cruise ship was not equipped with a modern auto man overboard system, which would instantly send a signal to the bridge and then track the overboard person in the water even at night.

Like other cruise lines, Royal Caribbean claims that it does not believe the available overboard detection technology is “reliable,” a conclusion refuted by numerous experts and manufacturers of state-of-the-art MOB systems.

Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain was quoted in an article in Quartz by Rosie Spinks titled People fall off cruise ships with alarming regularity. Can anything be done to stop it? He stated that MOB technology “is not yet at a viable stage,” despite effective systems like this and this.

As I have stated before, it never ceases to amaze me that a cruise line that collects over 8,000,000,000 (billion $$) dollars a year tax-free, and builds billion dollar Genesis class cruise ships like the Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas,  Symphony of the Seas and the Harmony of the Seas, refuses to invest in such life-saving technology.

We have written before about Royal Caribbean’s dismal attitude about MOB systems and procedures relative to crew members – Royal Caribbean Unreasonably Delays Reporting Overboard Crew Member from Vision of the Seas.

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.

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

Just a few days ago, a crew website, the Crew Bar, published an article titled The Crew Need Your Help… which addressed the problem of crew member suicides and proposed significant changes to address the problem of crew member working conditions.

According to cruise expert Professor Ross Klein, 335 people have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000.  26 people went overboard from cruise ships last month – an average of two a month.

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Read: Misery Machines and Crew Member Suicides.

January 25, 2019 Update: The crew member is Enis Mahic from Montenegro.

A lack of functional air conditioning on much of the Anthem of the Seas for the past week has left many guests feeling that they did not receive the cruise vacation which they paid for and which Royal Caribbean promised to them.

A couple of cruise passengers contacted our office yesterday to state that the air conditioning in their cabins, as well as to others parts of the cruise ship, were not cooling adequately.  Instead of blowing at a desired temperature in the high 60’s or in the 70’s, the air conditioning was leaving their cabins hot, with temperatures ranging from the low to mid-80’s with some cabins as hot as 89 degrees.  The heat has interrupted the guests’ sleep and made their cruises unpleasant.

It seems that the problem with the air conditioning began on or around Monday the 13th although there are comments posted on the Anthem of the Seas Facebook page dated earlier. Many guests with balconies opened their balcony doors but did not get much relief as the ship sailed in the Caribbean.

The ship has been slow to advise the guests the nature of the problem (“it will be fixed shortly” type of response). And there have been sporadic updates regarding how the engineering department will try to solve the widespread problem. Not all decks seem to be affected with many complaints focusing on the cabins on decks 10 and 11 as well as public areas on the ship.

Royal Caribbean recently offered the guests an on board credit (OBC) of $200 for interior cabins and cabins without a balcony, $300 for cabins with balconies, and $400 for suites. The credits are for the cabin, not the number of guests in the cabin.

This offer seems to have made matters worse. Guests seem to consider the OBC as a pittance, considering that they paid several thousands of dollars for the cruise and particularly compared to the full refund offered to all of the passengers on the Oasis of the Seas where around 600 guests became sick during a gastrointestinal illness outbreak last week.

A few guests have posted comments on Twitter:

The Anthem is now heading back to New Jersey (after a medical emergency detoured the ship to Bermuda) where it will dock shortly. The cooler weather in the northeast has apparently made the ship more pleasant for the passengers for the past day. But there are many passengers who are still understandably hot with the way that the matter was mishandled by Royal Caribbean. After the success in handling the public relations fallout following the debacle of the recent GI outbreak on the Oasis, it seems that the cruise-line decision makers and bean counters back in Miami have made an unforced PR blunder.

It also remains to be seen how Royal Caribbean intends to fix the air conditioning problem once the Anthem is back in port in Cape Liberty this morning when the cruise ship will take on another round of passengers looking forward to a relaxing cruise.

The Anthem left New Jersey on January 6th, sailed to San Juan, Puerto Rico arriving on January 9th,  Philipsburg, St. Maarten on January 10th, St Johns, Antigua on January 11th, Castries, St Lucia on January 12th, Bridgetown, Barbados on January 13th, Basseterre, St. Kitts on January 14th and is scheduled to arrive back in New Jersey shortly.

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January 18, 2018 p.m. update: Comment from cruise passenger osted on Twitter:

 

A cruise passenger has reportedly died after falling from the Harmony of the Seas, according to a passenger who contacted us.

This evening we received an email which stated that between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. today, there was a suicide/accident on Harmony of the Seas; someone fell/jumped from his balcony and died.

Later this evening, a guest on the cruise ship tweeted the following:

The passenger is apparently a 16 year old teenager (although there is also accounts that the passenger was in his 50’s who fell from an upper deck ), according to a guest on the ship. One passenger stated on Twitter that the guest died after hitting the “pavement.”  Another passenger posted on Twitter that the person struck the “concrete dock.”

The Harmony of the Seas is currently on a week-long cruise to the Caribbean. The cruise ship left Fort Lauderdale on January 6th and has sailed to Philipsburg, St. Maarten and San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was scheduled to stop in Labadee, today from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. this evening. It is scheduled to return to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, January 13th.

A crew member, Arron Hough, went overboard from the Harmony of the Seas two and one-half weeks ago.

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January 15, 2019 Update: Boy, 16, falls to his death while trying to climb into room from balcony of Royal Caribbean ship via the Sun Sentinel.

 

More than 100 people on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailing in the Caribbean have become sick with a gastrointestinal illness, according to at least one guest who has contacted this blog.

The outbreak reportedly occurred on the Oasis of The Seas which called on the port of Falmouth, Jamaica yesterday. The guest states that passengers were not let off of the ship. Royal Caribbean is reportedly offering an on-board credit for missing the port in Jamaica.

The Oasis of the Seas left Port Canaveral, Florida on January 6th and sailed to the cruise line’s private port in Labadee, Haiti on January 8th. The cruise ship was scheduled to call on Falmouth yesterday and is scheduled to arrive in Cozumel, Mexico tomorrow. It is then scheduled to return back to Port Canaveral on January 13th.

Officials with Royal Caribbean reported that there 167 cases of a stomach virus on board the ship.

WESH Channel 2 reports that Royal Caribbean reported 167 cases of gastrointestinal illness to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which represent 2 percent of the 8,454 guests and crew on board. The cruise line told the news stations that:

“We are bringing additional medical staff on board and we’re engaging in intensive sanitary procedures to minimize the risk of any further issues,” a statement from Royal Caribbean said.

The CDC states that cruise ships are required to log and report the number of passengers and crew who indicate that they have symptoms of gastrointestinal illness. The  report is required when 2% or more of the passengers or crew have gastrointestinal illness.  The CDC is required publish data on the Outbreak Updates for International Cruise Ships portal maintained by the agency where 3% or more of passengers or crew report symptoms of gastrointestinal illness to the ship’s medical staff.

The last gastrointestinal outbreak on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship to have been reported on the CDC portal occurred in December of 2017 when 310 of 4,160 of guests and 22 of 1,398 crew members became ill with norovirus on the Independence of the Seas.

January 10, 2019 a.m. update:  The Oasis of the Seas reportedly is skipping the port of Cozumel and will return to Port Canaveral. The number of those affected by the gastrointestinal outbreak now exceeds 250. Royal Caribbean is also refunding the cruise fares to the passengers.

January 11, 2019 update: The CDC states that over 400 people were sickened by the gastrointestinal outbreak; 385 of 6,285 (6.12%) of passengers and 17 of 2,169 (0.78%) of crew members. The CDC has not indicated whether the GI outbreak was caused by norovirus.

January 12, 2019 update:  “The number of people hit with a gastrointestinal illness on a Royal Caribbean International cruise ship has swelled to nearly 500 (475), a company spokeswoman said Friday,” according to NBC News.

“Don’t call us if you get sick on a cruise.’ — Miami-based cruise-industry lawyer Jim Walker,” according to Marketwatch.

The CDC reports that the total number of sick passengers with GI are 561 passengers and 31 crew members.

Full refund by Royal Caribbean: The cruise line earns PR points by issuing a full refund to all passengers.

Photo credit: Baldwin040 – CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

A crew member went overboard from the Harmony of the Seas yesterday morning, according to a Royal Caribbean ship employee who wishes to remain confidential.

The crew member is reportedly an entertainer from the U.K. who was a member of the shipboard musical production of Grease on the Harmony of the Seas.

The Harmony of the Seas left Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 23rd and was sailing to Philipsburg, St. Maarten where it arrived this morning and will remain until 5 p.m. today.

The crew member apparently went overboard early Christmas morning some where north of Puerto Rico before the cruise ship reached St. Maarten.

The U.S. Coast Guard identified the missing crew member as “Arron Hough, 20, of the United Kingdom.”

The last Royal Caribbean crew member who went overboard disappeared from the Adventure of the Seas. He was subsequently identified as Jack Daniel Ackroyd from Cotgrave (near Nottingham) England.

As in the case of Mr. Ackroyd, Mr. Hough apparently disappeared without anyone noticing. Due to the absence of a auto man overboard system, which would instantly send a signal to the bridge and then track the overboard person in the water even at night, there was apparently no timely search for the crew member.

Like other cruise lines, Royal Caribbean claims that it does not believe the available overboard detection technology is “reliable,” a conclusion refuted by numerous experts and manufacturers of state-of-the-art MOB systems.

Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain was quoted in an article in Quartz by Rosie Spinks titled People fall off cruise ships with alarming regularity. Can anything be done to stop it? He stated that MOB technology “is not yet at a viable stage,” despite modern systems like this and this.

It never ceases to amaze me that a cruise line that collects over 8,000,000,000 (billion $$) dollars a year tax-free, and builds billion dollar Genesis class cruise ships like the Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas,  Symphony of the Seas and the Harmony of the Seas, refuses to invest in such life-saving technology.

We have written before about Royal Caribbean’s dismal attitude about MOB systems and procedures relative to crew members – Royal Caribbean Unreasonably Delays Reporting Overboard Crew Member from Vision of the Seas.

According to cruise expert Professor Ross Klein, 327 people have gone overboard from cruise ships since 2000. 25 people have gone overboard this year alone – an average of more than 2 a month.

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December 26, 2018 PM update: According to the Miami Herald, the Coast Guard was not notified until 1:45 pm today, even though the crew member apparently went overboard around 4 am.

Royal Caribbean’s PR department states that:

“We are saddened to report that after a review of the ship’s closed-circuit camera footage, he was observed entering an area on Deck 5 at around 4am and was not seen again. Local authorities were notified and a ship-wide search for the crew member was conducted.”

This means that the Harmony of the Seas did not conduct a search at sea at all.

Photo credit: Top – Royal Caribbean promotional video of the Harmony of the Seas; bottom – Aaron Luke Hough Twitter

The United States Coast Guard medevaced a cruise passenger from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship on Wednesday night as the ship was returning to New York from a Caribbean cruise.

The Coast Guard launched a MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Elizabeth City in North Carolina to medevac a 79-year-old man suffering from kidney failure, according to a statement by the Coast Guard.

The Anthem of the Seas was more than 400 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, when the Royal Caribbean cruise ship contacted the Coast Guard.

You can watch the video of the medevac here.

The Anthem had sailed from New York City, New York, leaving for December 10th to San Juan, Puerto Rico; St Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Basseterre, St. Kitts; St Johns, Antigua and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. It returned to New York City this morning.

The Coast Guard medevaced a 83 year-old woman, who was experiencing renal failure, from the Anthem of the Seas which was approximately 160 miles southeast of Elizabeth City, North Carolina in May of 2018. She was flown to North Carolina for emergency medical treatment. Before that, the Coast Guard medevaced a 71-year-old man from the Anthem of the Seas which was approximately 50 miles east of Ocean City, New Jersey, in April of this year.

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Video credit: U.S. Coast Guard Fifth District via Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS)