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"Royal Caribbean saved my dad's life": Daughter speaks out after dad has cardiac arrest on cruise ship

09 May 2024
Calista Kiper

After crew members assisted a passenger who was having a heart attack, the US Air Force rescued a man in the open Pacific Ocean last Tuesday.

Rescue at sea

No one wants the worst to happen while on a cruise ship, but this week's events show that Royal Caribbean staff is well-prepared.

User ChedderCheeseCheetah posted to the Royal Caribbean sub Reddit page that staff onboard Ovation of the Seas saved her dad's life.

"My dad had a cardiac arrest onboard the Ovation two days ago and RC staff responded immediately with excellent CPR and successfully resuscitated him with an AED, stabilized him, and kept him alive for 36 hours," she wrote.

The user shared on Reddit that her dad made it to the hospital safely. 

Medical center

"[He is] safe and stable but still critically ill."

She credits the cruise line's crew members for making a difference. Without the quick response from Royal Caribbean crew members, ChedderCheeseCheetah's dad may not be alive today.

She commented that she wanted to sing their praises publicly because of this.

"I am just in awe of Royal."

Ovation of the Seas was hundreds of miles from land when the cardiac arrest occurred

Ovation of the Seas was on a 9-night one-way cruise from Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver, Canada when the medical emergency happened.

Built-in 2016, she has a capacity for a total of 4,905 guests and 1,500 crew members.

She became the first Quantum Class ship to offer cruises to Alaska in 2019. Ovation of the Seas is also the newest Royal Caribbean ship to cruise to Alaska.

Read moreComparing the Royal Caribbean ships sailing to Alaska in 2024

Ovation of the Seas in Sydney Australia

The unnamed man who suffered the cardiac arrest was onboard celebrating his upcoming 40th wedding anniversary with his wife.

At the time, Ovation was located in the middle of the sea, with no time to sail to land.

The patient had to be stabilized by medical staff and then evacuated off the ship via helicopter.

After his evacuation, the wife remains onboard and will have to wait until the ship disembarks in Vancouver.

The rescue was coordinated by the United States Coast Guard and Air Force

The Reddit user ChedderCheeseCheetah reported that, after her father's cardiac arrest, medical staff onboard Ovation of the Seas resuscitated and stabilized him, then placed him in a medical coma for the helicopter recuse.

Once the US Coast Guard could get within range of the ship, they were able to send a helicopter to lift the father to a hospital in California.

ChedderCheeseCheetah said the United States Coast Guard and Air Force worked together to coordinate and complete the medical evacuation.

Videos show the evacuation involved a military-grade Pave Hawk helicopter and a C130 to refuel it in the air.

Ovation of the Seas on a sunny day

That way, the helicopter could fly hundreds of miles out to sea and back.

This rescue involved complex coordination between Royal Caribbean, USCG, and USAF. It is an impression accomplishment that the evacuation could take place to save this man's life.

Reddit user jpchopper added that the evacuation was "no small thing... and it's an even bigger accomplishment that they were able to coordinate all of this in 2 days."

ChedderCheeseCheetah also said she found it "funny but not funny" that her father is an Army combat veteran.

"[He] would be beside himself with pride at the job well done by our military men and women for this rescue. And he would have loved the helicopter ride if he hadn’t been medically sedated for it."

Many users resonated with the heartwarming story 

Many Redditers commented, sending their prayer to the poster's father and applauding Royal Caribbean staff members.

"I got the chills reading this," HurryAdventures8335 said. "It’s so amazing that everything turned out okay."

The Reddit post also served to connect passengers who are currently on the Ovation of the Seas cruise.

Mfhicks wrote to the original poster: "I am so glad you have shared this! My uncle sat with him [in the Main Dining Room] throughout the week and was very concerned when he wasn’t there a couple of days ago. 

"We would love to keep up with his progress and offer any assistance possible."

Users also pointed out that, in addition to the fast medical response, Royal Caribbean is doing its part to reimburse passengers on the current sailing and the next for the cruise ship delays.

"This couldn’t be cheap for Royal because they are reimbursing passengers for missed flights and hotel stays. They are doing the right thing and willing to absorb a loss for it," pharmecist commented.

At the time of this article, Cruise Mapper showed Ovation close to the North American West Coast, making its way to Vancouver.

The cruise ship's arrival at port was delayed by nearly 12 hours.

Guests booked on Ovation's next sailing also commented on Reddit that their cruise had been delayed.

Calista Kiper graduated from Wheaton College, IL, with a B.A. in English Writing. 

Growing up traveling around the world, she developed a passion for diversity and cross-cultural communication. From her first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, she has delighted in the intersection between travel, diversity, and writing in the cruising world.

Calista spends her free time reading, cooking, and researching the latest human-interest stories. 

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