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Royal Caribbean cruise ship rescues individual who went overboard

30 Oct 2023
Elizabeth Wright

A person that went overboard from a cruise ship in Europe was successfully rescued.


A person was reported going overboard while sailing on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas shortly after departing Barcelona, Spain. 

Just hours after setting sail, guests reported hearing "Oscar, Oscar, Oscar" over the ship's PA system, which is the code for man overboard. 

X user @landonb94 posted that he could see spotlights and rescue boats from his balcony. 

Thankfully, the individual was rescued and taken to the ship's medical facility. 

The incident occurred on the first night of Symphony of the Seas' 14-night transatlantic cruise

Abyss on Symphony

Symphony of the Seas' 2023 European season has come to an end. She departed Barcelona on Sunday, October 29 to begin her repositioning sailing to Florida, where she will remain until May 2024. 

The individual fell overboard after departing from Barcelona while en route to Valencia. 

Other scheduled ports of call during the voyage include Cadiz, Spain and Nassau, Bahamas. She'll arrive in Fort Lauderdale on November 12. 


The ship turned around, and after about an hour of search and rescue efforts, the Captain made an announcement that the person had been successfully recovered.  

No details have been given about the individual who went overboard

Symphony of the Seas docked

Royal Caribbean has not announced whether the individual who went overboard was a crew member or passenger. They also have not disclosed their gender, age, or any other details, such as why they went overboard in the first place. 

A full investigation will need to happen to determine if there are any safety violations. 

This is not the first time someone has gone overboard during a Royal Caribbean cruise


Back in April, an Australian man went overboard while sailing onboard Quantum of the Seas from Australia just two days before the ship was scheduled to arrive in Hawaii. A few months later in July, a woman cruising to Singapore on Spectrum of the Seas went overboard. 

On August 29, a 19-year-old guest sailing onboard Wonder of the Seas went overboard on a Caribbean cruise. 

Wonder of the Seas

According to CruiseJunkie's website, there have been 60 passengers who have gone overboard on Royal Caribbean ships since 2000, not including this recent incident on Symphony of the Seas. 

Oscar, Oscar, Oscar

Crew member emuster

Cruise ships have a variety of code words for different situations to avoid alarming guests. "Oscar, Oscar, Oscar," for instance, lets other crew members know that someone has gone overboard.

"Alpha" means there's a medical emergency and is typically followed by a location, such as Deck 11 Aft. 

Royal Caribbean also uses "Charlie, Charlie, Charlie," to alert the crew of a security threat onboard.

Night aerial photo Symphony of the Seas

Not all cruise lines use the same codes. If you hear "Alpha Team, Alpha Team, Alpha Team" on a Carnival ship, there is a fire onboard, rather than a medical emergency. 

Elizabeth graduated from New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute with her M.A. in Journalism in May 2023. Growing up, she had the privilege of traveling frequently with her family and fell in love with cruising after sailing on the Oasis of the Seas her freshman year of high school. She wanted to pursue a career that highlighted her passion for travel and strengths as a writer. 

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