Royal Caribbean Passenger Says Crew Wouldn’t Let Her Leave Her Cabin After Daughter Fell Overboard

Last September, a 21-year-old woman on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship fell overboard and lost her life. In a recently filed lawsuit, the woman’s mother says she was kept under guard in her cabin for days after the incident and that she was not allowed to leave her room or contact her other children.

Further, the mother alleges that the ship did not turn around to search for her missing daughter until two hours after the incident.

According to the suit [via Courthousenews.com], a passenger in a cabin below the mother and daughter told the ship’s crew immediately about having seen something fall from above and off the ship.

The mother says crew members located her in the ship’s casino and “approached her, took hold of her, and physically escorted her from the casino to question her about the whereabouts of her daughter.”

When she learned her daughter could not be found, she says she tried to search the ship, but “the crew members physically restrained her and prevented her from leaving.”

“After having been detained for some time in this manner, a high-ranking crew member in her presence made an announcement over the ship’s radio that there was a person overboard,” reads the complaint, which alleges that the crew of the ship, the Allure of the Seas, had surveillance video of the incident, but that the ship “did not stop or begin to turn around in a timely or appropriate fashion to attempt to search for and rescue [the daughter].”

The mother claims that the U.S. Coast Guard was not notified until two hours after the passenger alerted the crew to seeing something go overboard.

The suit alleges that “the crew denied [the plaintiff] access to her room, her belongings, or contact with her fellow work associates [She had won the trip through her job]. She was moved by crew members to a cabin without a balcony and guarded there by crew members stationed outside her door and inside of her cabin.”

The mother says she made repeated pleas to be left alone, but the crew refused and that “For the remainder of the cruise, crew members did not permit [the plaintiff] to leave the cabin or travel anywhere about the ship without the presence of security. They did not permit her to receive guests or messages that her associates had apparently left her or to contact them. They did not even allow her to go to the chapel on board the ship to pray for her daughter’s well-being.”

According to the suit, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages for wrongful death, false imprisonment and negligent infliction of emotional distress, rather than allow the mother to contact her other children to tell them of the tragedy, she says that Royal Caribbean chose to make a public statement that a 21-year-old from her town in Tennessee had fallen overboard. Her sons say they attempted to contact their mother on the ship, but were unsuccessful.

UPDATE: A rep for Royal Caribbean says the company can not comment specifically on the lawsuit but did provide the following statement to Consumerist:

“We extend our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends” of the woman who fell overboard during the September cruise. “Royal Caribbean’s Care Team provided support to [her] mother who was traveling with her at the time. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with her and her family as they deal with their loss.

“We reported the incident to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and we continue to support them during their investigation.”