Royal Caribbean is a cruise line that was founded in Norway and is based in Miami, Florida. It is the largest cruise line by revenue and second-largest by passenger count, with approximately
19.2% of passengers and 14% of revenue in 2018. Royal Caribbean operates 26 ships, including the four largest passenger ships in the world. With these numbers to boast of, it’s no surprise that Royal Caribbean often shows up in the news, but it isn’t always for the right reasons.
Royal Caribbean has been criticized for a number of incidents and controversies in recent years.
A January 2014 norovirus outbreak aboard the ship Explorer of the Seas caused 689 of the 4,237 passengers and crew to get sick, the largest number of illnesses aboard a cruise ship in two decades.
In 2020, after the COVID-19 outbreak, Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines disembarked thousands of passengers but refused to repatriate many members of their crew due to costs.
Royal Caribbean was fined $9 million in 1998 and 1999 after one of its ships repeatedly illegally dumped waste into the ocean and falsified records to hide it, including giving fake documents to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Docking After Earthquake in Haiti
After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Royal Caribbean was criticized for continuing to dock their ships at the company-owned Labadee resort 60 miles away from the earthquake’s epicenter.
Royal Caribbean ships have been the site for numerous injuries. A passenger filed a $10 million injury lawsuit after breaking his pelvis in a 20-foot fall from a trampoline attraction and claimed to suffer permanent injuries.
A construction crane fell on a ship docked in the Bahamas for maintenance, and eight people were injured.
The cruise line’s ships have also seen more mundane incidents such as slips and falls resulting in injury.
Unfortunately, Royal Caribbean passengers and crew have fallen victim to injuries resulting in death on several occasions.
George Smith was an American man who disappeared from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in July 2005 at the age of 26. Smith was on a cruise for his honeymoon and disappeared somewhere off the coast of Turkey only eleven days after getting married.
Blood was found in his cabin and on the side of the ship, and it was suspected that he either fell or was tossed overboard. Royal Caribbean was criticized for its handling of this case.
In July 2019, 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand was dropped to her death by her grandfather from an open window on a Royal Caribbean ship docked in Puerto Rico.
The grandfather ultimately pled guilty to negligent homicide, but he and the family continue to blame Royal Caribbean for the window being open and have filed a lawsuit against the company.
White Island Eruption
In December 2019, the Royal Caribbean ship Ovation of the Seas was docked in New Zealand’s Port of Tauranga when the nearby White Island volcano erupted, killing 21 passengers and crew from the ship, and injuring several more, including with severe burns.
38 people from the ship were on the island at the time of the eruption, despite increasing seismic activity in the preceding weeks. The company is being sued for this incident.
Whether from accident, negligence, or error, Royal Caribbean finds itself the subject of unflattering news articles on a regular basis. If you have been injured in such an instance, a Royal Caribbean injury lawyer can help you pursue a claim against the company.