Emerald Princess accidents and incidents

Emerald Princess cruise ship


Length (LOA)
288 m / 945 ft

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CruiseMapper's Emerald Princess cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 3679-passenger vessel owned by Princess Cruises. Our Emerald Princess accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • fires - 2014, 2016, 2019
  • collision - 2011 (St Petersburg Russia)
  • propulsion/power loss - 2010, 2016
  • deaths - 2010 (Bonaire), 2017 (crew, murder/homicide), 2019 (murder), 2023 (overboard)
  • illness - 2009 (swine flu)
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2007 (156/22), 2011 (400+), 2012 (189/31), 2023 (99/21)
  • medevacs - 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2023

11 August 2023Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On the morning on August 11, 2023, a male passenger went overboard while the ship was approx 8 mi / 13 km off Hilo (Hawaii Island).

The Hawaiian Police received the ship's report about the missing man (59-year-old Kenneth Schwalbe, a citizen of California USA) at 8:40 am Hawaii (18:40 UTC) after the onboard search failed to find him. The ship also notified the USCG District Fourteen (Honolulu) and the Coast Guard Station in Hilo, and a search and rescue operation was initiated.

After docking in Hilo, police investigation officers boarded the ship and reviewed CCTV/surveillance footage from an outdoor camera positioned on Deck 9. The video (taken on Aug 11th at 4:18 am Hawaii/14:18 UTC) showed the man falling overboard from the ship.

The incident occurred during the 16-day "Hawaiian Islands Cruise" (itinerary Aug 5-21, roundtrip from Los Angeles CA) with call ports in Hawaii USA (Hilo/Aug 11, Honolulu/Aug 12, Nawiliwili/Aug 13, and Lahaina/Aug 14) and in Baja California Mexico (Ensenada/Aug 20).

24 May 2023Coast Guard Medevacs

In the afternoon on May 24, 2023, a 3-year-old girl (experiencing symptoms resembling seizures) was medevaced from the ship approx 90 mi (145 km) off Santa Barbara/California's coast.

For the medical evacuation, from USCG Sector San Diego was dispatched a Sikorsky MH-60T Jayhawk rescue helicopter. A CG aircrew was lowered onto the ship while the helicopter was hovering just above the top deck. The girl and her mother were placed in a metal basket, airlifted into the aircraft and flown to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. According to the CG, the girl was in stable condition.

The incident occurred during the 7-day "Classic California Coast Cruise" (itinerary May 20-27, roundtrip from Los Angeles, California USA) with call ports San Francisco (May 22-23 overnight), San Diego (May 25) and Ensenada Mexico (May 26).

April 2023Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In April 2023, CDC reported that on the voyage from March 17 to April 1, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected a total of 99 passengers (out of 2123, or 4,66%) and 21 crew (out of 1192, or 1,76%).

Predominant symptoms were vomiting and diarrhea.

The outbreak occurred during the 15-day Panama Canal Cruise (repositioning from Florida to California/Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles) with call ports in Colombia (Cartagena), Panama City, Costa Rica (Puerto Caldera/Puntarenas) and Mexico (Huatulco, and Puerto Vallarta).

09 May 2020Other Incidents

On May 9, 2020, after spending a total of 56 days at sea, the cruise liner was allowed to dock in the USA. The CDC approved Emerald Princess to berth in Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale, Florida). Initially, for May 5th was organized a flight charter from Nassau, where the ship was supposed to dock for crew debarkation, but the local authorities cancelled the operation. During the port stay were disembarked a total of 193 crew (Canadian and US citizens).

Emerald Princess was passenger-free (all tourists were disembarked on March 15) and had no any Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases onboard.

28 February 2020Coast Guard Medevacs

On February 28, 2020, due to medical emergency, the liner arrived in Los Angeles hours before schedule. After docking at Berth 93 (~8 pm) 4 ambulances with paramedics were deployed to handle 4 passengers from the ship - 2 suffering unknown injuries and 2 with unknown illnesses. All patients were ambulanced without lights or sirens. The ship was scheduled to arrive on Feb 29, so the remaining passengers remained onboard overnight waiting for US CBP (Customs and Border Protection) clearing in the morning.

The ship was ending a 28-day "Hawaii, Tahiti and Samoa Cruise" (itinerary Feb 1-29) roundtrip from homeport Los Angeles CA, with call ports in Hawaii (Honolulu, Lahaina, Nawiliwili), American Samoa (Pago Pago), Samoa (Apia) and French Polynesia (Bora Bora Island, Papeete Tahiti, Moorea Island).

16 December 2019Coast Guard Medevacs

(CruiseMapper emailed incident report by Roger S) On our recent Emerald Princess cruise through the Panama Canal (Los Angeles 12/3/19 - Fort Lauderdale 12/18/19), someone who was seriously ill was medevaced by helicopter to Jamaica (Kingston?). It was around noon on our first full sea day after departing Cartagena, Colombia. All passengers on certain decks were asked to leave their staterooms (or pool / eatery) and go down to the public decks so as not to interfere with the evacuation operation.

The incident allegedly occurred on December 16, during the 15-day Panama Canal cruise (itinerary Dec 3-18) from Los Angeles CA to Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades, Florida), with call ports Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco (Mexico), San Juan del Sur (Nicaragua), Puntarenas (Costa Rica), Fuerte Amado (Panama City), Panama Canal transit (Dec 14), and Cartagena (Colombia).

14 April 2019Fire Accident

On April 14, 2019, during the scheduled dry-dock refurbishment (April 1-14) in Victoria BC (Canada), the liner caught fire shortly after the float-out from the drydock facility. The electrical fire was on Deck 3 aft (crew-only area / in a dry-storage room) and occurred while lifeboats were being mounted on the vessel.

Note: During drydock, ship's lifeboats are offloaded and stored dockside for equipment maintenance and repairs. After its float-out, the vessel leaves the area and loads its lifeboats (floating around) in an adjacent area.

The fire was fought from the above Gala Deck (passenger deck 4). The operation was successfully completed quickly by using a CO2 extinguisher. Reportedly, the fire was caused by a dehumidifier and produced large amounts of smoke. No injuries or serious material damages were reported. The cruise vessel re-started its 2019 itinerary program on schedule, leaving from Vancouver BC on April 15 on a 3-day repositioning cruise to Los Angeles (Long Beach CA).

03 January 2019Crew / Passenger Crimes

(CruiseMapper email from Janis Moore) I was on the Emerald Princess cruise (1/3/19 thru 1/18/19). There was a crime on the ship, cabin B314 had crime scene taped across the door and the key card access had been taped also. Speculation was that someone was murdered in the cabin. I have not seen any news online regarding this.

The incident occurred during 15-day Hawaii and Mexico cruise (itinerary January 3-18) roundtrip from homeport Los Angeles to Hawaii (Honolulu, Nawiliwili, Lahaina, Hilo) and Baja Mexico (Ensenada).

14 October 2018Coast Guard Medevacs

On October 14, 2018, an 83-year-old male passenger (suffering from stroke symptoms) was medevaced from the ship approx 240 km (150 mi) north of Kaneohe Bay (Oahu Island, Hawaii).

The medical rescue operation was conducted by a US Navy helicopter crew (flying on Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk) dispatched from JRCC (Joint Rescue Coordination Center) Honolulu. At ~3:15 pm, the elderly man (Canadian) was hoisted and flown to Honolulu (Queen’s Medical Center). The medevac was supported by a USCG Lockheed HC-130 aircraft dispatched from Air Station Barbers Point (Oahu).

The incident occurred during 15-day Hawaiian Islands cruise (itinerary Oct 4-19) roundtrip from homeport Vancouver, BC (Canada) to Hilo (Hawaii), Lahaina (Maui), Honolulu (Oahu) and Nawiliwili (Kauai).

25 July 2017Crew / Passenger Deaths

(murder) On July 25, 2017, a 39-year-old female passenger (Kristy Manzanares, from Utah USA) was reported dead following a domestic dispute. The onboard death was reported to USCG and FBI. The ship made an unscheduled docking in Juneau AK, where FBI agents boarded for investigation.

The accident happened at sea (~9 pm on July 25) while the cruise ship was en-route from Seattle WA to Ketchikan AK, approx 7 ml / 11 km from Forrester Island. The ship was operating on a 7-day Alaskan cruise (Inside Passage with Tracy Arm Fjord/itinerary July 23-30) roundtrip from Seattle and visiting Ketchikan, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria BC (Canada).

The scenic Tracy Arm Fjord cruising ((July 26) was cancelled, as well as ports Ketchikan (July 25) and Skagway (July 27). On July 28, the husband (Kenneth Manzanares) was charged with murder/homicide. His wife (mother of 3) was found in their cabin by the ship’s medical personnel with a head wound. Her blood was spread on multiple surfaces. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

(law news) On August 17, US federal grand jury indicted the husband and charged him first-degree murder. If convicted, the man could be sentenced life in prison or the death penalty. On the fatal voyage, the couple celebrated their wedding anniversary.

19 February 2017Coast Guard Medevacs

On February 19, 2017, a 68-year-old female passenger was medevaced from the ship in Dunedin Harbour NZ. The woman was offloaded and transported to Port Chalmers via one of the ship’s tender boats.

09 February 2017Ship Grounding

On February 9, 2017, the same day when a crew was killed in Port Chalmers NZ, the ship stroke a rock in Milford Sound NZ. Fortunately, the hull sustained only minor damage.

09 February 2017Crew / Passenger Deaths

On February 9, 2017, at ~5 pm. a male crew died onboard while the ship was berthed in Port Chalmers (Dunedin, New Zealand). The accident happened on Promenade Deck 7, where a 45 kg /100-pound gas cylinder (full with compressed nitrogen) exploded, became a projectile and hit the man, killing him instantly.

The cylinder was later found on the docking wharf, with a blown out base. The gas cylinder was used to power a gantry crane that lowers and lifts the lifeboats in cases of emergency. The cruise ship (carrying 3115 passengers at the time) sustained no structural damages.

Princess Cruises’ official announcement said it happened during technical works on a lifeboat launching system. Two male crew (Allan Alarde Navales and Bernabe Santos) were carrying out the maintenance work on lifeboat 24. The work required filling its gas canisters to a required level. Once refilled, Navales instructed Santos to start the hydraulic launching system. After ~1 min, one of the cylinders exploded. The standing beside it Navales was killed instantly. Blast's force caused another nitrogen-filled cylinder to be thrown overboard. It landed and spun around onto the wharf in an area with walking passengers and crew. Fortunately, no one was injured.

An expert analysis concluded that the failure was due to “overload caused by corrosion thinning”. The failed cylinder had large areas of pitting corrosion. The next day, a Maritime New Zealand team boarded the vessel for investigation. It also showed that both crews were not trained on how to do that particular job (refilling the cylinders).

As the liner left Dunedin a day later than scheduled, the itinerary was altered, with the next call port (Milford Sound) being dropped.

(law news) Princess Cruises was charged with "causing a maritime product to be maintained or serviced in a manner that caused unnecessary danger or risk to other people".  The charge carried a max fine of USD 100,000. The cruise company subsequently pleaded guilty to the charge and on November 26, 2018, was sentenced to pay USD 800,000 to dead crew's family in The Philippines.

30 October 2016Propulsion / Power Loss

On October 30-31, 2016, while navigating in Thailand waters, the vessel suffered power loss while en-route from Koh Samui Island to Laem Chabang (Bangkok). Vesselfinder’s AIS tracking showed slowing down the cruising speed from 19-21 Kn (22-24 mph / 35-39 kph) to 2 kN (2 mph / 4 kph) on several times during the night.

11 October 2016Other Incidents

On October 11, 2016, the ship conducted “Piracy Attack Drill” intended to prepare its passengers to act accordingly in case of eventual attack by pirates in the waters near Yemen. The ship was on 48-day World Cruise 2016 (itinerary Sept 28 - Nov 15)  from the UK to Australia (Southampton to Sydney). During the voyage, Emerald Princess passed through the Gulf of Aden (off Somalia's coast) at night.

17 September 2016Fire Accident

On September 17, 2016, at ~11:30 pm, a fire broke out while the vessel was en-route from homeport Southampton to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands). Via the PA system, the Captain ordered all crew to the muster stations.

A passenger reported (unofficially) about a fuel leak causing engine room fire. Fire doors were automatically closed and diesel generators 1 and 4 were shut down. Smoke was detected aft on lower decks, as well as on Deck 16 near the funnels (where is also "Movies under the Stars" / outdoor movie screen). Engine room’s fire detection and suppression system quickly extinguished the fire. As a source for the incident was cited “combusted ventilation supply fan belt” (located on Deck 16).

No injuries or any serious damages were officially reported by Princess Cruises.

03 October 2014Fire Accident

On October 3, 2014, Princess Cruises officially announced, that the vessel experienced 2 technical incidents (engine failures) which caused 2 fires in the engine room. Both fires were quickly extinguished and without injuries. The company said both incidents didn’t pose any safety threat. All systems remained operational. The emergency response procedures were operated properly. The ship was safe.

On September 16, the Captain called the crew to muster stations due to an engine room fire emergency. Passengers were informed via the PA system about a “technical issue”. This incident occurred ~7 hours after the ship left homeport Southampton England.

On September 20, the second fire incident occurred. The ship was on 14-day Mediterranean cruise roundtrip from the UK.

December 2012Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

December 2012, CDC reported on voyage Dec 17 to 27, a Norovirus outbreak affected 189 passengers (out of 3235, or 5,8%) and 31 crew (out of 1189, or 2,6%). All sick were quarantined to their cabins for 48 hours. The ship was on a 10-day Caribbean cruise from homeport Fort Lauderdale.

17 May 2011Ship Collision / Allision

On May 17, 2011, while operating in Europe (Baltic Sea), the ship was docked in call port St Petersburg Russia, when a fuel barge hit it. While in the collision incident the ship’s hull didn’t sustain any damages, on the superstructure 2 of the starboard lifeboats (numbers 6 and 7) were seriously damaged and rendered inoperational. After examination, Russian port authorities cleared the cruise ship as it had inflatable liferafts with enough capacity to guarantee all passengers safety.

May 2011Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On May 6, 2011, an online news media reported that during the 16-day Transatlantic repositioning cruise from Florida to Europe, ~400 passengers (~16% of all) were reported with Norovirus symptoms ()vomiting, diarrhoea. To prevent the illness spread, the ship initiated an extensive sanitizing.

Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.

14 December 2010Crew / Passenger Deaths

On December 14, 2010, a 59-year-old male passenger died in an accident ashore while the ship was docked in call port Kralendijk Bonaire. The man (Timothy Scheibel, from Santa Clarita CA, USA) fell and suffered a severe neck injury. He was immediately flown to Miami by an air ambulance but died in the hospital during surgery. He was travelling with his wife to celebrate his 60th birthday.

25 July 2010Propulsion / Power Loss

On July 25, 2010, at 6:30 pm, while en-route from homeport Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades Florida) to the Bahamas, the vessel experienced power loss incident caused by a computer glitch. It took the crew ~4 hours to fix the problem. During the incident, all elevators and the air-conditioning system were inoperational and lighting was limited. All onboard toilets were preferably not to be used since there was no water supply for flushing and washing. The incident caused itinerary change - call port Princess Cays (Bahamas) was dropped.

June 2009Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On June 28, 2009, a Russian news media reported when the ship docked in call port St Petersburg, local authorities were notified about 14 crew suffering from swine flu (H1N1 pig influenza) symptoms – fever, chills, headache, coughing. The sick were quarantined on the ship and not allowed to disembark the vessel.

Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.

December 2007Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

December 2007, CDC reported on the voyage Dec 16 to 26, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 156 passengers (out of 3209, or 4,9%) and 22 crew (out of 1211, or 1,8%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea) and were quarantined to their cabins for 48 hours. The ship was on 10-day roundtrip Panama Canal cruise from homeport Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale Florida).

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