'Drunk' cruise ship passenger jumps off balcony on a Royal Caribbean cruise in front of his family

05 Apr 2024

A recent cruise on Liberty of the Seas turned into a tragedy this Thursday after a man reportedly jumped overboard.

Liberty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Freedom-Class ship was sailing on a 4-night Eastern Caribbean cruise and returning to Fort Lauderdale, Florida when the incident occurred.

The 1,111-foot-long vessel was approximately 57 miles from the Great Inagua Island, Bahamas at the time.

The passenger, a 20-year-old man traveling with his family, allegedly jumped overboard while drunk, and has not been recovered.


The New York Post reported that around 4:30 A.M. on Thursday, April 4th, the unnamed passenger was returning to his stateroom after relaxing in a crowded hot tub.

As his dad and brother began walking toward him, he suddenly jumped out of the window and overboard the side of the ship.

The decision appeared to be impulsive, although some have begun calling it a suicide attempt.

Crew was alerted immediately, and the ship stopped to begin conducting a search.

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson made a statement.

"The ship's crew immediately launched a search and rescue effort alongside the U.S. Coast Guard, who has taken over the search.”

“Our Care Team is providing support and assistance to the guest's family during this difficult time. For the privacy of the guest and their family, we have no additional details to share."

No information has been released about the identity of the passenger or his family.

Reddit user Thick_Horse_2405, who was apparently onboard as a passenger on Liberty of the Seas, posted that the ship stopped until around 9:00 or 9:30 A.M. when the Coast Guard arrived.

“So sad!”

At 1:11 P.M. on Thursday, the United States Coast Guard announced on X that the USCG Cutter Seneca and Air Station Miami HC-144 crews were conducting the search.

Coast Guard

As of the writing of this article, the Coast Guard is still conducting a search, and the man has not yet been found.

After the Coast Guard arrived to take over the search, Liberty of the Seas continued sailing.

Cruise Mapper tracking shows that the ship is currently returning to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Liberty of the Seas Itinerary

Liberty of the Seas sailing away from Port Everglades

At the time of the incident, Liberty of the Seas was on a sailing that embarked on Monday, April 1st, 2024. 

The ship left Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and called on Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. 

The 3,634-passenger vessel is scheduled to return to Fort Lauderdale and continue 3 and 4-night cruises to the Caribbean and Bahamas.

Liberty of the Seas

On May 4th, 2024, Liberty of the Seas will make New York City her new homeport and offer longer Bermuda and Eastern Caribbean cruises.

No further delays to her itinerary have been announced or noted.

What happens when someone goes overboard?

Railing on cruise ship

Cruise ships make efforts to ensure no one ever falls overboard with measures like high railings on decks and balconies. 

Dr. Ross A. Klein, a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, estimates that only 314 overboard incidents have happened since 2000, out of the millions of people that cruise every year.

However, tragic incidents still occur. 

In July 2023, a passenger on Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas fell overboard after allegedly sitting on a railing.

The 64-year-old woman unfortunately was not recovered and passed away.

The response is immediate when someone goes overboard on a cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean ships have safety measures such as surveillance cameras and trained crew members ensuring that they can respond as swiftly as possible.

Once the ship receives a notification that someone has gone overboard, emergency protocols are initiated.

Usually, they will sound alarms and notify the bridge and relevant local authorities.

Once alerted, the crew on the bridge will stop the ship to begin search and rescue operations.

At the same time, trained crew members and security staff will attempt to visually locate the person in the water.

Maritime authorities, such as the Coast Guard in the United States, will also join the ship and work to find the individual.

They may use search and rescue techniques such as aircraft, cameras, and radar systems.

Meanwhile onboard the ship, the cruise line is also responsible for investigating how the incident could have occurred.

They review surveillance footage, speak to relevant witnesses, and study onboard accounts.

In the case of Thursday’s incident, witnesses reported that the passenger was very drunk.

Royal Caribbean cruise passenger goes overboard after allegedly sitting on railing

31 Jul 2023

Unfortunately a cruise ship passenger fell overboard after allegedly climbing and sitting on a cruise ship railing meant to keep passengers safe.

Spectrum of the Seas in Singapore

The Strait Times reported on Monday a guest from Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas fell overboard. The ship's security footage captured the guest  sitting on the ship's railing at about 4 a.m. 

The incident occurred on the last day of a 4-night cruise from Singapore.

The report cited the person is a 64-year-old woman who was traveling with her husband.

Spectrum of the Seas docked

The husbands says he woke up in the middle of the night and discovered his wife was not in their cruise cabin. 

After notifying the ship's security, video footage was checked to see that the woman was sitting on the ship's railing.

The outlet also reports the ship's overboard detection system alerted that something or someone had fallen overboard the ship.

Spectrum of the Seas at sea

Royal Caribbean issued a statement regarding the incident, "the ship and crew immediately reported the incident to local authorities and launched a search and rescue operation."

"The shipboard team is working with local authorities and our Care team is now offering assistance and support to the family."

The danger of being somewhere off limits

Side view of Spectrum of the Seas

The report indicates the woman who fell overboard was a result of being on top of a safety railing, which is not permitted.

Deck railings on Royal Caribbean cruise ships are at least 42-inches high, which comply Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) of 2010.

Royal Caribbean's guest-conduct policy says, "Sitting, standing, laying or climbing on, over or across any exterior or interior railings or other protective barriers, or tampering with ship's equipment, facilities or systems designed for guest safety is not permitted." 

Breaking the rules can result in being kicked off the ship at the next port.

Kids on a cruise ship railing

In past similar incidents, guests have not only been kicked off the ship but also banned for life from the cruise line.

A woman that stood on her balcony railing in 2019 was banned for life.

How cruise ship overboards happen

Railing on cruise ship

Media reports of man overboard situations get shared a lot, but if you aren't familiar with cruises, you may not understand how it could happen.

A 2022 article from The Points Guy points out that cruise ship railings are sufficiently high enough on all decks and balconies to ensure someone does not slip and fall overboard.

"The only way you risk a fall is if you're standing on furniture to peer over the side or climbing somewhere you're not supposed to," the article's author states.

Owner suite balcony

"It's not possible for you to trip over a door frame or slip on a wet deck and fall off of a vessel."

Not being somewhere you're not supposed to, or doing something you're not supposed to, is key to safety at sea, "Play by the rules and remain in control of your actions, and you don't have to worry about inadvertently falling overboard from a cruise ship."

What happens when someone is overboard?

Ocean water

As is the case with the incident this week on Spectrum of the Seas, the first thing the ship's crew will do is attempt to ascertain when the man overboard situation occurred.

The ship will also contact local authorities to help conduct a search.

In the United States, the Coast Guard is contact, but since this occurred in Asia, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Singapore was the agency Royal Caribbean contacted to assist in the search.

The ship and local authorities will attempt to search an area based on where the person likely hit the water, and where they are likely to be.

Photo shows kids dangerously sitting on cruise ship balcony. Cruise fans infuriated it was allowed to happen

25 Jul 2023

Two kids were photographed sitting on the balcony of their cruise ship.

Kids on a cruise ship railing

The blatant breaking of safety rules for cruise ships demonstrates how passengers doing things they're not supposed to do has the greatest potential for injury.

The unidentified kids are seen sitting on top of the balcony in their cabin, having climbed up on the balcony railing first.

The photo was posted on Facebook in a cruising group, with the photo attributed to Liz Pride.

The Carnival Cruise Line Miami blog posted the caption, "Where are the parents?" inferring a lack of supervision.

Brilliance of the Seas side docked

It's not clear which cruise ship this photo was taken from, but it certainly resembles Royal Caribbean's Radiance Class ships.

One reader believes it is from Serenade of the Seas.

Tweet confirming which ship the photo is from

Royal Caribbean's guest-conduct policy says, "Sitting, standing, laying or climbing on, over or across any exterior or interior railings or other protective barriers, or tampering with ship's equipment, facilities or systems designed for guest safety is not permitted." 


Breaking the rules can result in being kicked off the ship at the next port.

In past similar incidents, guests have not only been kicked off the ship but also banned for life from the cruise line.

A woman that stood on her balcony railing in 2019 was banned for life.

Cruise fans incensed

Angry person

As soon as the photo started making rounds online, cruise fans were outraged at both the behavior of the kids, as well as the lack of supervision by the parents.

Kelly Hatfield-Lampton wrote, "And THAT is how people fall overboard."

Lisa Babcock wrote, "OMG!! Hello!! Where are the parents??"

Many could barely look at the photo because it made their scared just thinking about the possibilities, "I am getting anxious just looking at this picture," said Danielle Benton.

Tanya Walker said, "Perfect example of how you go overboard in a ship!"

Major potential for harm

Side of Freedom of the Seas

What the kids did in this photo was incredibly dangerous, and the sort of reckless behavior that gives the cruise industry a bad name.

Cruise ships are designed to have balcony railings at such a height that prevents someone from accidently slipping and falling over. These railings are right around chest height on the average person on open deck areas and cabin balconies. They are placed intentionally to ensure passenger safety.

The risk of fall only occurs when someone is doing something they're not supposed to, such as climbing on furniture to access the top of the railing.

Accidental overboard situations occur when the safety precautions are bypassed. This can occur because someone is inebriated, or simply attempts a stunt.

In other situations, some people choose to jump off a ship purposefully in order to cause themselves intentional physical harm.

What to expect with Royal Caribbean's new virtual safety drill

13 Nov 2021

One big change that Royal Caribbean has implemented this year is Muster 2.0. Otherwise known as eMuster, this is a streamlined and digital upgrade to the traditional muster drill.

The muster drill is a mandatory safety briefing during which passengers learn where to go and what to do in case of an emergency onboard. The drill must be completed by all passengers on the first day of a cruise before the ship can depart.

Prior to the cruise shutdown, the muster drill was an activity many passengers disliked. Passengers had to gather at their muster station at the same time as everyone else in their group. This often led to large crowds and a lot of waiting around outside in uncomfortable temperatures.

Muster 2.0 is a new and improved hybrid model, completed partly on the Royal Caribbean app (or stateroom television) and partly in-person at your designated assembly station. It is a quick, flexible, and stress-free experience.

If you haven’t been on a cruise yet this year, it’s important to know when and how to complete the new emuster drill. After all, you don’t want to be that one passenger who is delaying the ship’s departure!

Here’s what you can expect when doing the emuster drill on your next cruise.

What to do first: Download the Royal Caribbean App

The first step to completing Muster 2.0 is to make sure you have the Royal Caribbean app downloaded on your smartphone. Royal Caribbean’s app is free and is available on both iOS and Android devices.

After the app is downloaded, login to your Royal Caribbean account. You should see your next sailing appear on the app. Once on the main page, select the safety button in the bottom left corner. This will take you to the page where you can begin the emuster drill.

No smartphone?

If you do not have a smartphone, you can complete all necessary Muster 2.0 steps on the television in your stateroom once you get onboard.

Keep in mind that you could download the Royal Caribbean app on a tablet as well.

Muster 2.0 Steps

On the safety page within the app, you will see three steps that you must complete. Next to each step, you will see a box that says “incomplete”. As you complete each step, each box will change from “incomplete” to “complete”.

Step one: Watch the short safety video

The first step on the emuster drill is to watch a short, animated safety video demonstrating how to properly put on a lifejacket. At the end, you click on a checkbox next to your name to confirm that you have watched the video.

Step two: Listen to the emergency horn

If there is an emergency onboard, you will hear a very loud, high-pitched beeping sound. The emergency horn on Royal Caribbean ships consists of seven short beeping noises followed by one long noise. It is important to know what the horn sounds like so that you are aware of an emergency should the horn blast through the cruise ship’s speakers.

To complete this step, simply press the blue play button in the “Emergency horn” box. Make sure your phone’s audio levels aren’t up all the way as the emergency horn can be quite loud.

Step three: Locate and visit your assembly station

Step three of the emuster drill differs from the first two steps in that it requires going to your assembly station onboard the ship.

After you’ve listened to the emergency horn, scroll down to the box that says “Visit Assembly Station” and click “Find on deck”. A deck plan of the ship will pop up showing you exactly where your assembly station is located.

With your phone in hand (or SeaPass card if you do not have a smartphone), go to your assembly station. If you need help locating your assembly station, simply ask one of the crew members.

Once you arrive at the assembly station, a crew member will give you a very brief safety demonstration. After this is done, they will scan your SeaPass, indicating that you have completed the emuster drill.

It’s a good idea to double check that all steps on the app’s safety page have been marked as complete. Once you see a green “complete” box next to each step, you have successfully completed the emuster drill.

How to do Muster 2.0 with children

Children also have to complete the emuster drill, although the process is a little different for them. When an adult in the cabin watches the safety video and listens to the emergency horn, the children in that cabin are automatically considered to have completed those steps too.

Children must also accompany the adults in their cabin to the assembly station to have their SeaPass cards scanned, indicating that they have completed the emuster drill.

Royal Caribbean also has a safety section for children located at the bottom of the safety page on the app or on the stateroom television. It is called “Learn about safety with Lulu & Mika” and goes over the safety information in a fun, cartoon-style video.

The video is not mandatory to watch, but may be helpful to give children a better idea of what to expect in an emergency situation.

When to do the Muster 2.0

In the weeks leading up to your cruise, you may be eager to get everything done ahead of time. You can watch the safety video and listen to the emergency horn at any time on the app, but unless you see the “Incomplete” box next to each step, the muster drill has not officially opened for your sailing yet.

You will receive a notification on your phone when you can start working on the steps of the emuster drill. If you don’t receive a notification, simply check the day before your sailing to see if the emuster drill is available.

A good idea is to complete the first two steps of the emuster drill the night before your cruise so that all you have to do once onboard is go to your assembly station. You can even choose to do this immediately after boarding so that you are done with the emuster drill within the first few minutes of being on the ship.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to do the emuster drill! Some passengers may be so excited to explore the ship or grab a drink by the pool that they completely forget about it. The ship will not leave port until all passengers have completed every step.

Royal Caribbean is constantly working to improve the cruise experience for its guests, and Muster 2.0 is no exception. What used to be an experience many passengers disliked doing on the first day of a cruise is now an easy, straightforward process that will allow your vacation to begin without any hassle.

Royal Caribbean announces electronic muster drill on its cruise ships

24 Jul 2020

Royal Caribbean announced a new way for guests to conduct the cruise ship safety drill by digital app, which will help with promoting social distancing onboard.

Known as Muster 2.0, the cruise line revealed its plans on Friday to implement a new way to conduct the mandatory guests safety drill, known as the muster drill. 

The rollout of these reimagined safety drills will debut in Germany this week on board Royal Caribbean Group’s joint venture, TUI Cruises GmbH, and continue in Royal Caribbean Group’s return to service. 

In order to comply with maritime law, passengers on an ocean-going vessel must be aware of what to do for a response to an emergency condition onboard.

How it works

With Muster 2.0, the new tech will be used to help provide the information to guests via their mobile devices and interactive stateroom TVs.

Travelers will be able to review the information at their own time prior to setting sail, eliminating the need for the traditional large group assemblies. 

After reviewing safety information individually, guests will complete the drill by visiting their assigned assembly station, where a crew member will verify that all steps have been completed and answer questions. Each of the steps will need to be completed prior to the ship’s departure, as required by international maritime law.

One on the cruise ship, guests have a set time (indicated by a timer in the app) during which muster drill must be completed by all of the passengers and, in response, a message is transmitted to each mobile device that the muster drill has commenced.

As well, subsequent to a lapsing of the timer, a listing is displayed of any passenger not recorded as having completed the muster drill.

Muster 2.0 was first tested on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas in January 2020. Guests who took part in the mock process indicated a strong preference for the new approach and also reported better comprehension and retention of the safety information.

Solving a problem

For many cruise passengers, the muster drill is viewed as a necessary annoyance.

Traditionally, in the context of a passenger cruise ship, a muster drill is performed at the beginning of the cruise before the cruise ship departs or shortly thereafter. During the muster drill, each individual passenger reports to an assigned muster station—a specific location on the vessel. A crew member then confirms the presence of each passenger expected to be present at the specific location during the muster drill so that all passengers may be accounted for in the event of an actual emergency and a resultant actual muster.

Further, the muster drill can be confusing for some—particularly the elderly and children—both of whom often require additional assistance locating and moving towards assigned muster stations.

For crew members, trying to perform the drill with thousands of guests may create unnecessary confusion or missed opportunities to educate and inform, in light of the ultimate goal.

Moreover, an electronic muster drill would potentially allow guests to conduct the safety drill at their leisure during the first day, and while maintaining proper social distancing. 

The inventor of Muster 2.0 is Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President of Entertainment, Nick Weir, who is listed as the inventor on the patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Royal Caribbean applied for a patent on the concept in September 2019, and the application was granted on March 3, 2020.

An innovation for everyone

Despite Muster 2.0 being a proprietary invention of Royal Caribbean is offering to license the patented technology to interested cruise operators and will waive patent license fees during the time the world and industry battle the global pandemic.

Patent licenses have already been granted to the company’s joint venture, TUI Cruises GmbH, as well as Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Royal Caribbean adds safety muster information to app

07 Jun 2020

Could this be one aspect of Royal Caribbean's rumored eMuster functionality?

Royal Caribbean has added a new feature on its app, "Learn about safety at sea" that lists the safety information for guests that is usually given during a traditional safety muster drill.

The app includes a video for watching how to put on a life jacket, what to do and what not to do during an emergency, youth evacuation instructions and assembly station information.

The new feature comes a few months after Royal Caribbean filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for "EMUSTER". This lead many to speculate that Royal Caribbean might be considering a change to the required safety drill at the beginning of every sailing.

Royal Caribbean has not commented publicly on the trademark, nor on if they have any plans to change the safety drill.

In its traditional form, the muster drill involves all guests reporting to their assembly stations and being lined up closely together to hear and see the safety demonstration of what to do in casy of an emergency.

An electronic muster drill would potentially allow guests to conduct the safety drill at their leisure during the first day, and while maintaining proper social distancing. 

Thanks to RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers FionaMG and CGTLH for spotting this change.

Royal Caribbean offers an app for free to its guests that is available from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Royal Caribbean files trademark for possible electronic muster drills

25 Apr 2020

Royal Caribbean has filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for "EMUSTER".

The trademark potentially indicates a move by the cruise like to moving towards electronic muster drills.


It is important to note that trademark applications do not necessarily correlate with actual policy or procedural changes.

No other information was included with the trademark beyond the name, but it certainly fosters a certain level of intrigue.

The muster drill is a compulsory drill required of all guests to gather in designated areas around the ship in order to understand where to go and what to do in the case of a real emergency.

Currently, the muster drill involves large groups of guests lining up in close proximity to each other while being counted and briefed on what to expect in the case of an emergency.

Much like Royal Caribbean's recent trademark filing for "SEAFACE" mask, this could be another change the cruise line is preparing for resuming cruise service once the voluntary global cruise suspension ends.

In the last week, Royal Caribbean has filed trademarks for "SEAFACE", "TOUCHLESS", "CRUISE SAFE", "EMUSTER", and "ROYAL PROMISE".

Royal Caribbean debuts new muster drill safety video

01 Jun 2017

Guests aboard Royal Caribbean ships can look forward to seeing a new film during muster drill.

Cruise Critic spotted a new safety film that evokes a secret agent vibe that guests can watch in their stateroom prior to the mandatory safety drill that takes place before the ship can sail away.

The film is named "Operation: Little Bear," and will roll out to Royal Caribbean's fleet in June.

Guests aboard Oasis of the Seas reported seeing the film already as recently as last week.

Royal Caribbean to add lifeguards to its cruise ships

27 Feb 2017

Royal Caribbean will add lifeguards to all of its cruise ships in an effort to improve onboard water safety.

Cruise Critic reported the change, which will see Royal Caribbean add licensed lifeguards that are trained through a partner company, StarGuard Elite. At least one lifeguard will be stationed at every pool (including the Solarium) during all open hours, and will be noticeably visible in bright red and white uniforms. All have been hired specifically as lifeguards and will not serve in any other role onboard.

In addition, Royal Caribbean will present a 15-minute water safety presentation during the Adventure Ocean open house session on embarkation day. 

The lifeguards and water safety program will be deployed to all of Royal Caribbean's cruise ships over the next four months. The program debuted on Oasis of the Seas this week, and will be added to 14 ships by mid-April.  All remaining cruise shops will have lifeguards added by June 15.

  • Oasis of the Seas: February 26-March 5
  • Harmony of the Seas: March 7-11
  • Independence of the Seas: March 11-16
  • Anthem of the Seas: March 11-14
  • Liberty of the Seas: March 12-19
  • Freedom of the Seas: March 22-29
  • Allure of the Seas: March 23-26
  • Brilliance of the Seas: March 24-30
  • Quantum of the Seas: March 26-31
  • Ovation of the Seas: March 29-April 3
  • Navigator of the Seas: March 31-April 5
  • Serenade of the Seas: March 31-April 7
  • Jewel of the Seas: March 31-April 4
  • Rhapsody of the Seas: April 5-8
  • Majesty of the Seas: April 21-24
  • Empress of the Seas: April 24-29
  • Adventure of the Seas: April 26-29
  • Enchantment of the Seas: May 8-12
  • Grandeur of the Seas: May 13-18
  • Explorer of the Seas: May 15-26
  • Mariner of the Seas: May 26-June 4
  • Radiance of the Seas: May 28-June 6
  • Voyager of the Seas: June 5-12
  • Vision of the Seas: June 15-27

Royal Caribbean began offering guests the option to use life jackets for children to use in the pool in late 2015, but adding lifeguards and water safety programs is a big step forward.

Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas delayed in port due to Coast Guard inspection

14 Feb 2017

Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas was kept in port through Tuesday morning, after U.S. Coast Guard inspectors forced the ship to remain in port until an issue with the lifeguards was resolved.

Cruise Critic reports a spokesman from the U.S. Coast Guard cited the delay stems from the ship's older life jackets, "generally speaking, problems with older life jackets can include fraying straps that could break when a person was in the water or disintegrating foam that will not float in the water."

Royal Caribbean sent messages via Twitter to convey the company is working around the clock to fix the issues.

There has not been any indication yet when Majesty of the Seas will be able to set sail on her 4-night Bahamas cruise, nor what impact the delay will have on the ship's itinerary.

9:30am Update: Royal Caribbean is offering guests a 25% refundable onboard credit, and a 25% Future Cruise Certificate.

Subscribe to Safety