Cruise Bruise

Cruise Parenting Failures
Cause Children's Injury and Deaths

Parents distracted by cameras, video cameras and ship amenities

Cruise Ship Overboards Suicides
Cruise Ship Deaths Murders
Missing Passengers Crew
Cruise Ship Listing Sinking
Cruise Groundings Collisions
Cruise Fires Explosions Pirates




Cruise Parenting Failures
Cause Children's Injury and Deaths

Parents distracted by cameras, video cameras and ship amenities

It seems nearly every month there is an incident where parents left their parenting skills at home before they cruised. In some cases, it could be argued the parenting skills were not left home, they never existed. On a cruise, the parenting failures of a single family can drastically change the cruise enjoyment for many, if not all aboard.

Many years ago, the biggest problem with parenting failures was having kids running around the cruise ship all hours of the day and night. They were unsupervised, getting into trouble and almost always they were 12 to 17-year-old children. In recent years, however, the age of the children being unsupervised has been steadily decreasing and child injuries, deaths and sexual assaults aboard cruise ships has been on the rise.

The latest event, Monday June 13, 2016, involved a three-year-old child who was injured aboard a cruise ship. The child required medical treatment at the cruise ship medical center. Then, the child received a medical evacuation for more extensive medical treatment after the cruise ship turned around and went back to port. Once the ship arrived back at Galveston, paramedics loaded her into an ambulance.

The family, reportedly from College Station, Texas sailed from Galveston, Texas aboard Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Liberty. Numerous news reports say parents were posing for family photos soon after the cruise ship set sail. This allowed the child to slip through a railing and fall from the 14th to the 12th deck, a distance around 12 to 15 feet.

In the photo taken during the medical evacuation, several civilians are seen, some of them were other children and a man wearing a baseball cap is seen near the child as she is loaded into the waiting ambulance. It's unclear if any or all of the other children or adults are related to the injured child.

Carnival Liberty embarked from Galveston, Texas on Monday June 13, 2016 at 1600 hours. The cruise was on a 4-day round-trip to the Western Caribbean with a port call at Cozumel, Mexico. Minutes after embarking, the child is out of parent hands, reportedly falling an incredible distance for such a small child. Having small children beyond reach and frequently beyond view, is a troubling problem the cruise industry deals with on a daily basis.

Another incident involving a Texas family was on Monday December 19, 2015, during a Christmas cruise, an eight-year-old boy drowned in the swimming pool while sailing towards Cozumel, Mexico from Galveston, Texas aboard Liberty of the Seas. Another passenger saw the boy and pulled him from the water. No parents were within arm’s reach.

On a New Year’s celebration cruise on January 2, 2016 a 4-year-old boy from Italy had wandered into the wave pool aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ Oasis of the Seas and “remained underwater anywhere between an estimated five to 10 minutes”, according to Mike Jachles, spokesman for Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue.

A year ago on May 17, 2015 the first full day of the cruise at sea Katelyn Blair, 10, from New York was sailing aboard Norwegian Gem with her little brother when they had to be rescued from the adult swimming pool after the parents were not supervising the children. Her brother survived, she did not. The mother sued the cruise line after she failed parenting of her two small children.

On October 13, 2013 Qwentyn Hunter, 6, also from New York, was sailing on the first full day of the cruise with his family aboard Carnival Victory when he too was found in the adult swimming pool without his parents, he died as well.

Some parents are so focused on their own enjoyment of the cruise, the children are left to fend for themselves. No case drives the message to extreme better than the murder of Baby Doe who was murdered aboard Carnival Dream by her mother on October 10, 2011. Mommy dearest Alicia Keir was pregnant, gave birth to a live baby in her cruise ship cabin, stuffed the newborn infant under her cabin bed and went on with enjoying her cruise.

Parents Distracted From Parenting Job

A Youtube video posted July 5, 2015, shows two small brothers, Zac and David are playing in the Carnival Magic water park, "Waterworks". The mother is filming the boys, when one gets injured. But, the mother keeps on filming, the show must go on. The mother is a professional Youtube Video Blogger and this video has received over 48 million views.

The video description says, "Carnival Magic Waterworks" when tragedy struck. We were playing in the lower level kids area at the kid-powered water place. I noticed that the pressure was REALLY strong, and Matt [husband] even stood in the path of the water and said it almost hurt to stand too close.” This was the time to actively parent the situation and stop video blogging.

The video description goes on to say, “A few moments later, while I was recording, Zac went to go look in the hole while David was at the wheel. I yelled NO NO NO but it was too late. I watched it unfold in front of my eyes and I felt frozen, although i wished to jump over and get between Zac and the water. “

Where was husband Matt while she was filming an area they had already identified as dangerous? The mother kept filming as the incident unfolds, then pauses after the boy is injured. She starts filming again on deck, with Zac crying and blood from his eye running down his face.

Another parental judgment call is called into question as she paused to video the crying boy with a bloody injury before going to the medical center to get the boy emergency medical treatment. The video goes on for seven minutes as Zac is seen by the ship’s doctors, later going into Grand Cayman to see an eye doctor.

She shows near the end of the video how Carnival changed out the Waterworks equipment before the cruise ended. This incident demonstrates two things, some parents have their parenting priorities upside-down and the failure of a single person with poor judgment changes policy and amenities for everyone aboard. While this change was no loss to other passengers, it is a sign of the times with cruise ships, local communities, states or federal policy, regulations and laws changing for everyone when one person fails to exercise good judgment and common sense.

Unsupervised Children Missing, Endangered and Exploited

Sometimes the injuries resulting from not properly parenting a child on a cruise ship have lifelong lasting effects on the child. According to the Final Cruise Crime Report - US Senate Committee On Commerce, 34% of all sexual assaults which took place on a cruise ship involved children. WE note, nearly all of these crimes would not have taken place if the child had been supervised by their parent. In all but a few isolated cases, not only was the child beyond reach of one or both parents, but they were beyond parental view as well.

This is not just a cruise industry problem, it’s a growing social problem, as adults put their own personal needs and desires first, allowing children to wander in public places without parental supervision.

According to an U.S. Department of Justice 2002 report on non-family child abductions there were an estimated 58,200 (159 per day average) child victims of nonfamily abductions from 1997 to 1999.

Fifty-seven percent of children abducted by a nonfamily perpetrator were missing from caretakers for at least 1 hour before the caregiver noticed.. Nearly half of all child victims of stereotypical kidnappings and nonfamily abductions were sexually assaulted by the perpetrator.

A 2009 FBI report says, between 2000 and 2007, the FBI opened over 2,000 child abduction investigations. In nearly 60 percent of the cases, more than 2 hours passed between the time someone realized the child was missing and the time police were notified; and the primary motive for the abductor was sexual assault.

During 2012 alone, law enforcement entered 797,400 children as missing into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database. The FBI is the reporting agency for all cruise ship crimes on cruise ships departing from or calling at U.S. ports. They also investigate when an American is involved as a victim in a possible cruise ship crime, no matter where in the world the incident took place.

In general, a “missing child” is one who was out of the parents grasp and out of their view. While there are some circumstances which are largely unavoidable such as work and school, having a child out of view or having a small child out of grasp while on a vacation, especially cruise ships, is an avoidable parenting failure.

Cruise industry critics who line up to file lawsuits against cruise lines and/or testify before Congress fault the FBI for protocols used in handling cruise ships incidents. But, the 2012 FBI missing child statistics give a much better picture of the resource challenges the FBI and other law enforcement agencies face when it comes to missing children.

Young Teens Died on Cruise – Where Were Parents?

There are far too many cases of teens on cruise ships having a total lack of parental supervision. Three cases in particular stand out, as they resulted in the teen’s death. Lynsey O'Brien, 14, Costa Magica drunk overboard, Grant Medeiros, 14, Regal Princess overboard death and Hayman Ronald Lucas, 14, Majesty Of The Seas alcohol poisoning death.

Lynsey O'Brien was sailing with her two parents and three siblings. The parents left the children alone in their cabin while they went to enjoy adult amenities. Passengers reported they could hear kids partying in the cabin. Security came up at least 3 times to the kid’s cabin. A passenger claimed Lynsey was extremely drunk. They and other passengers called security many times because of the noise. Lynsey went out on their cabin balcony, then went overboard.

A drunken Hayman Ronald Lucas had been partying with a 24-year-old cruise passenger, was found by a crew member, staggering on deck at about 0500 hours. The crew member escorted Hayman to his family's cabin, and his father and stepmother were awakened. About 1100 hours, after the parents checked on him again, the stepmother called the medical office to report he'd stopped breathing.

Grant Medeiros was on a cruise with his parents. He had argued with his parents and threatened to jump overboard. Later, with his parents nowhere to be seen, he went overboard and was never seen again.

The Bewitching Hours
What passengers need to know about cruises are these important facts. The two most dangerous times during a cruise are the first twelve hours on the cruise and the last twelve hours of the cruise or the last night of the cruise. The first twelve hours include the sail away party and parents are settling into family ship life. The many exciting activities, crowds of people in close proximity and excited children are a distraction from common sense parenting. This is the period of time kids slip through the cracks, get injured and end up in swimming pools alone.

The last twelve hours are a double whammy. Adults or teens are trying to cram in as much as possible before the cruise ends making the family unit as a whole very vulnerable. Parents are distracted and opportunist criminals make their move. This accounts for a high percentage of thefts, assaults, adult and child sexual assaults and sadly, the time when cruise ship passenger overboard incidents most frequently take place.

Parenting Rules for Cruises
Some families should never cruise with their children. A cruise should not be considered if one of more of traveling children:
  • does not follow parent rules
  • is known for not listening or obeying
  • does not respect the authority of all adults in the traveling family unit
  • is prone to wandering
  • has ever disappeared at home or in a public place such as mall or park for more than a minute
  • is considered a risk taker with no fear

  • Parenting Cruise Contract
  • Read the ticket contract and parental consent form completely before booking each and every cruise to ensure the updated passenger contract and minor child consent form haven't changed since a prior cruise. Know the rules, follow the rules without exception.
  • Never assume that using a personal electronic communications device is a substitute for hands-on parenting. It violates the cruise line policy for minor child supervision aboard.
  • Never assume that the crew including security should or will watch the children under any set of circumstances while they are on deck. It violates the cruise line policy for minor child supervision aboard.