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Royal Caribbean files motion to keep volcano eruption lawsuits in Australian courts

24 Dec 2020

As some of the guests on the White Island volcano shore excursion pursue legal action against Royal Caribbean for having offered the tour, the cruise line has asked the Australian government to have the cases heard there, and not in the United States.

A couple from the United States, Ivy and Paul Reed, filed a lawsuit in Miami after they were severely burned when the White Island volcano erupted while they were on a shore excursion there. Australians Marie and Stephanie Browitt have also filed a lawsuit in the US against the cruise line.

Royal Caribbean believes the ticket contract governing the voyage means courts in the Australian state of New South Wales are the only venue that can hear disputes over the incident.

On December 9, 2019, the White Island volcano erupted while tourists were visiting, including some on a shore excursion. The natural disaster killed 22 people, along with 25 additional injuries. Among the dead are Marie Browitt’s husband, Paul, and daughter, Krystal. 

Ovation of the Seas was visiting the port of Tauranga, a coastal city about 90 km (56 miles) from White Island.

A number of Royal Caribbean guests were touring the volcano on the day of the eruption.

The lawsuit alleges that Royal Caribbean was aware, or should have known, the volcano was dangerous but offered the tour anyway.

The Reeds and the Browitts have filed separate lawsuits in the US against Royal Caribbean, seeking damages for the disaster. The lawsuits are made under Florida’s wrongful death laws.

Royal Caribbean claims that both the Reeds and the Browitts are bound by ticket terms and conditions that restrict any legal action to the New South Wales courts, and that the legal cases filed in the United States should not move forward.

An Australian lawyer for the Browitts, Peter Gordon, claims the family never got a contract, "didn’t get a contract that said anything about where suits should be litigated."

Royal Caribbean filed to trademark "Make Ship Happen" pun

16 Jan 2020

If you have gone on a cruise in the last year or so, you would know there has been a big trend in guests wearing shirts with fun cruise puns on them, and it appears Royal Caribbean is getting in on that action.

On January 10, Royal Caribbean filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for "Make Ship Happen".

Trademark registrations are usually quite vague, and rarely contain any information on what the trademark is intended to be used for in the future.  In this case, the trademark is listed as being for good and services and described as "Ornamental lapel pins".

The "Make Ship Happen" phrase has become popular with guests who make matching t-shirts for everyone in their group to wear aboard the cruise ship. Other popular phrases I have seen include, "Yea buoy!" and "Let's get ship faced!".

Even more curious, on the same day, Royal Caribbean also registered a trademark for "Rec Room" with the description of "Cruise ship services". 

Would you buy merchandise with "Make Ship Happen" on it? Do you enjoy the cruise pun shirts? Let us know in the comments!

Royal Caribbean sues owners of typo domain names

31 Mar 2015

Royal Caribbean has filed a lawsuit against the owners of two web sites that have domain names that are typos of

The two sites, and, are lead generation sites that are meant to look like Royal Caribbean's official site.

The lawsuit claims these mis-spelled domain names aim, "to misdirect potential customers away from Royal Caribbean's website.  The Defendant Domain Names thereby wrongfully profit from the goodwill and reputation of Royal Caribbean and its distinctive Royal Caribbean mark."

It appears both domains are owned by the same person and the lawsuit claims the owner lives in India.

Royal Caribbean is seeking the two domains be transferred to Royal Caribbean's ownership and any other damages the court deems appropriate.

Royal Caribbean appeals rejection of trademark "Broadway At Sea"

09 Aug 2014

Royal Caribbean tried to trademark the name "Broadway At Sea" for its onboard musical theater that it offers but its trademark registration was denied by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

This week, Royal Caribbean filed an appeal with the TTAB.

Royal Caribbean believes that "Broadway" is traditionally used as a noun to refer to the street in New York City, whereas Royal Caribbean's name differs.

The trademark office attorney argued why Royal Caribbean's trademark request was descriptive, "Applicant is reminded that the question is not whether someone presented only with the mark could guess what the services are.  In context with the identified services offered by applicant, potential consumers will immediately understand that the term 'Broadway' refers to Broadway-style shows."

Royal Caribbean has fraud case thrown out

23 Apr 2013

A Florida federal judge threw out a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean that alleged fraudulent behavior in which the company's executives were accused of “artificially inflating the company’s stock price by concealing lagging bookings”.

District Judge Kathleen M. Williams said the plaintiffs couldn’t prove the cruise company knowingly took such action, which was specifically over activity in the European and Mediterranean markets.

In addition, the judge said Royal Caribbean was protected by safe harbor provisions under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. This is because the firm included forward looking statements in its earnings conference calls and filings with US Securities and Exchange Commission that weren’t boilerplate, which the plaintiff had argued.

“The court finds that these warnings were given in advance of the risks materializing and thus are sufficient to protect defendants under the PSLRA’S safe harbor provision,” Judge Williams said. “Therefore, having found that the allegedly misleading statements were forward looking and were accompanied by meaningful cautionary language, dismissal is appropriate.”

Judge Williams said Royal Caribbean specified in its Form 10-K filings with the SEC that operating internationally brought with it risks of “volatile local political conditions,” the possibility of decreased demand because of “fear of hostilities and resulting political instability” and “effects from “economic or geo-political factors beyond our control.”

“The warnings, which went back to 2009 before the Arab Spring and Japanese tsunami, cautioned investors that the company operated internationally in the travel industry and thus was subject to the uncontrollable factors of political and economic instability and port availability,” Judge Williams said. “Moreover, because the company is a leisure company, its success is dependent on its customers’ financial situations and fluctuating ability to afford vacations in difficult economic times.”

US Senator calls for Cruise Ship Bill of Rights

18 Mar 2013

In news that potentially could affect all cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, New York Senator Charles "Chuck" Schumer is asking the cruise industry to adopt a "bill of rights" for passengers that will guarantee  certain protections while aboard their ships.

The Democrat from New York says he will ask the big cruise lines to voluntarily adopt guidelines that would include guarantees that cruise ships have sanitary conditions, back-up power, medical staff and other standard procedures.

Schumer's plan would also include the right to a full refund if a trip is abruptly canceled due to mechanical problems.

The senator is also calling on the Secretary of State to negotiate with countries that host cruise ships U.S. passengers use to adopt the rights.

Brazilian court upholds verdict against Royal Caribbean

11 Jul 2012

Brazilian Judge Juarez Fernandes Folhes of the 14th Civil Chamber of the Court of Rio, upheld a ruling against Royal Caribbean Brazil that compensated a cruise ship passenger, Solange Maria Cordeiro da Silva, for $ 10,000 in damages.

According to the decision, while onboard Royal Caribbean's ship, Solange had a strong allergic attack caused by painting repairs that were made by Royal Caribbean in the corridors near his cabin.  He contends the paint fumes ended up affecting his physical health negatively.

For the judge, the conduct of the company to paint  the inner walls of the vessel while passengers are onboard, is incompatible with the nature of the services provided by the cruise company, "It is unreasonable that a ship entertainment, fully functioning, complete paint repairs during the voyage, leaving his crew at the mercy of odors and discomfort generated by the use of toxic dyes."

Royal Caribbean claimed that the fact that the paint used have caused allergic reaction was exclusive fault for what happened, because if the passenger had reported the possibility of allergic reactions by using products such as paint, the company would had changed its procedures.

However, the judge found that Royal Caribbean has a strict liability on the procedures to take and respond to the physical integrity of its passengers. He also highlighted the moral and material damage that the passenger could no longer enjoy the services he was entitled to under the cruise contract because his health was compromised.

Brazilian suspect pleads guilty to raping minor on Royal Caribbean ship

16 Jun 2012

A man from Brazil pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery in the rape of a 15-year-old girl on the last day of cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.

Luiz Scavone, 20, was sentenced by Broward County Judge Matthew Destry to one year in prison and was also declared a sex offender. In addition, following Scavone's jail sentence, Federal officials will arrange for the man to be deported back to Brazil.

Scavone and his 15-year-old brother were arrested back on January 3 for sexual assault of a teenage girl from Iowa that they lured to a private room from an onboard nightclub.

 If Scavone returns to the United States, he will be required to notify corrections officials and be supervised as a sex offender. 

Man sentenced to 20 years in prison for smuggling heroin aboard cruise ship

08 Mar 2012

Loxly Johnson was sentenced to 20 years in prison for after he tried to import drugs into Baltimore aboard Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas.

According to federal prosecutors, Johnson and his accomplices picked up cocaine and heroin in the Dominican Republic but a security officer tipped off U.S. Customs officials, who set up an inspection when the ship returned to Baltimore.

Royal Caribbean employee indicted on sex abuse charges with teenage girl

12 Jan 2012

Records show that a 25-year-old Royal Caribbean employee has been indicted on charges of sexually abusing a minor after allegations arose that he had sex with a teenage girl aboard Royal Caribbean's Enchantment Of The Seas, which sailed out of Baltimore on December 17.

The victim told police that she was alone on the deck of the ship when she met the man, Fabian Palmer, and he took her into a men's locker room where he began having sex with her.  He was stopped when another employee knocked on the door.

Video cameras captured "the likeness of Palmer," the victim, and the second employee outside the locker room around the same time that the victim said the abuse occurred, records show. Palmer was interviewed by Royal Caribbean employees and admitted having sex with the girl, but said he believed she was 16, records show. He was indicted on one count of sex abuse of a minor on Jan. 11.

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