Royal Caribbean is the second largest cruise operator in the world. The company’s main brand is Royal Caribbean International, but it also owns the Celebrity and Azamara Club cruise lines. The original Royal Caribbean was founded in 1969 and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines came into being when it merged with Celebrity Cruises in 1988. Today the huge cruise company has multiple brands and a large fleet of passenger ships.
The cruise industry is a type of maritime business that offers customers exciting and relaxing vacations. Unlike many other types of maritime companies, the fleet of ships carries thousands of people, including both crew members and paying guests. This means that when accidents happen or mistakes are made on cruise ships, the results can be much more devastating and far-reaching. Both guests and workers on cruise ships are vulnerable to getting hurt or killed during these accidents.
About Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean International has been in the cruising business since the late 1960s and today it has a fleet of 25 ships and takes passengers to six continents and visits 77 different ports. The ships of Royal Caribbean are known for innovations in the passenger experience, being among the first to offer such features as ice skating and rock climbing.
Royal Caribbean’s other six brands include Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Pullmantur, CDF Croisières De France, and TUI Cruises. The latter is the most recent brand in the lineup and focuses on wellness health. Together these brands add another 20 ships to the Royal Caribbean fleet.
The history of Royal Caribbean dates back to 1968 when it was founded in Norway. In 1970 the company built the first cruise ship designed for trips to warm weather locations and in 1988 it launched the first mega cruise ship, the Sovereign of the Seas. This new ship was the largest of its kind in the world and included many new features and luxuries.
In 1997 Royal Caribbean acquired celebrity cruises and added four new ships to its fleet. Inn 1988 the company debuted new Vision Class ships with two acres of glass windows to give passengers better views than ever before on a cruise ship. The company began offering inland tours in 2000 and launched another world’s largest ship in 2003 with the Voyager of the Seas.
Safety Policies and Practices
Safety, both for passengers and crew members on board, is an important consideration for any cruise company. Many things can go wrong that may lead to accidents, injuries, and fatalities. From rough waters to pirates to fires to equipment failures to assaults to outbreaks of illness, the dangers on a cruise ship are numerous and companies like Royal Caribbean are responsible for limiting them.
Unlike many other ships in other maritime industries, cruise ships face instances of crime. Royal Caribbean has a security force on board every ship to address any accusations or incidents. The company also attempts to ensure safety through training of its workers. Security staff members undergo specialized training, but all crew members are trained and drilled for all kinds of safety situations.
Like many other cruise companies and even other types of maritime company, Royal Caribbean has faced a number of accidents on their ships. Because there are so many people on a cruise ship, illness is a major concern. In 2014 the company made the news when 689 passengers aboard the Explorer of the Seas contracted norovirus, a foodborne and contagious virus that causes gastrointestinal distress. It was the largest outbreak of illness on a cruise ship in decades and affected more than 16 percent of people on board.
With so many people on board, cruise ships often experience violent crimes. One infamous incident aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas occurred in 2005. Passengers discovered blood on the outside of the ship below balconies attached to passenger rooms. An investigation found that one passenger, George Allen Smith, was missing. He was ultimately presumed to have fallen overboard and to be dead, and although the mystery was never fully solved, foul play was suspected.
Cruise ship captains and crew have little control over weather, but when the weather does turn bad the crew must make quick decisions to keep passengers safe. In February of 2016 Anthem of the Seas was headed from New Jersey to the Bahamas for a seven day cruise when it was forced to return early after traveling through a rough storm. The storm battered the ship with 125 mile an hour winds and Royal Caribbean was later criticized for sailing into the storm in the first place. Passengers endured 12 hours of dangerous rocking tipping. Four people sustained minor injuries and the ship had some damage.
The same ship faced another emergency situation just months later when an eight year old boy suffered an accident in one of the ship’s pools. The company did not release the name of the boy or what was wrong with him, but the ship had to return to port in New Jersey and have the child medevaced to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Maritime Accidents and Compensation
Any maritime company faces a big responsibility when keeping workers safe, but cruise lines face the additional responsibility of protecting thousands of passengers. Like any kind of maritime activity, cruising can easily lead to accidents that cause injuries or deaths. From falls overboard, trips and falls, and fires to power outages, crimes, and illnesses, cruise ship passengers and crew members put themselves at risk when they go out to sea.
Passengers can always sue a company like Royal Caribbean in an attempt to recover monetary damages. If the company, or anyone representing it including staff, can be proven to have been liable for an accident, illness, injury, or death, there is a good chance that a passenger has a strong case and can get compensation to help cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and for punitive damages.
For crew members, there are also routes available for seeking compensation after an accident on a cruise ship. Most crew members on cruise ships are considered seamen. They spend most of their working hours on board a functioning ship out at sea. The Jones Act is a maritime law that protects these workers specifically and provides them with a way to seek compensation after an accident. The burden of proof is low and workers must only show that the employer, such as Royal Caribbean, was negligent even to a small degree in the accident.
If you work on a cruise ship and have been injured, made sick, or hurt in any way, you can rely on maritime laws to back you up and help you get the compensation you need. You will also want to rely on a maritime lawyer, an expert in the field who can guide you and represent you.