Empress Of The Seas accidents and incidents

Empress Of The Seas cruise ship

Former names
MS Empress, Pullmantur Empress, Nordic Empress, Future Seas

Length (LOA)
210 m / 689 ft

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CruiseMapper's Empress Of The Seas cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 1910-passenger vessel owned by Cordelia Cruises India (Small Cruise Lines). Our Empress Of The Seas 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • sold in 2020
  • fire - 2001
  • propulsion/power loss - 2005, 2016, 2018
  • injuries/crimes - 2004 (7 crew, lifeboat fall), 2012, drug busts (2014)
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2005 (72 / 5), 2 outbreaks in 2007 (200+)
  • Illness - 2006 (1 crew with typhoid fever)
  • 5 cancelled inaugural Caribbean cruises from Miami (2016 April)
  • boat rescue - 2018
  • All scheduled for 2019 cruises from the USA to Cuba (from June 5 onward) were revised by substituting the Cuban ports with alternative Caribbean ports.

The vessel was previously operated under the names Future Seas (construction order), Nordic Empress (1990-2004, by RCI), Empress of the Seas (2004-2008 and since 2016, by RCI) and MS Empress (2004-2016, by Pullmantur Cruises).

  05 June 2019Other Incidents

On June 4, 2019, the USA banned travel to Cuba (effective immediately). On June 5, RCCL officially canceled all pre-scheduled for 2019 Cuban cruises. On both affected RCI liners (Majesty OTS and Empress OTS) all Cuban ports were substituted with alternative Caribbean ports. All affected customers were provided with the option to either remain on the revised cruise and receive a 50% refund (in OBC) or cancel the booking with a full refund.

  21 December 2018Boat Rescue

On December 21, 2018, due to adverse weather, the cruise liner altered its itinerary route. While en-route from Cuba back to Miami, and between Grand Cayman and Jamaica, the ship rescued two sailors stranded at sea for 20 days.

Crew operating the radar system noticed an anomaly that turned out to be a drifting fishing boat. The ship lowered one of its tenders and pulled both men out of the water.

The incident occurred at the end of 6-day "Best Of Cuba Cruise" (itinerary Dec 17-23) roundtrip from homeport Miami Florida to Grand Cayman (George Town) and Cuba (Cienfuegos, Havana).

  29 October 2018Propulsion / Power Loss

(CruiseMapper mail) On October 29, 2018, due to "incomplete repairs" (unspecified technical issues resulting in reduced cruising speed), liner's Cuban itinerary was changed, with call port Santiago de Cuba skipped.

The incident occurred during 7-day "Best Of Cuba" cruise (itinerary Oct 25 - Nov 1) roundtrip from homeport Miami to Bahamas (Nassau), Haiti (Labadee) and Cuba (Santiago de Cuba, Havana).

  September 2017Other Incidents

On September 9, 2017, the 4-day Florida and Cuba cruise from Tampa (itinerary Sept 9-13, call ports Key West and Havana) were cancelled due to hurricane Irma. All cancelled bookings received 100% future RCI cruise credit. All booked shore excursions were fully refunded. Next scheduled itinerary (Sept 13-18, 5-day Florida-Cuba-Mexico, call ports Key West, Havana and Cozumel) was also cancelled. All bookings were fully refunded plus 25% future RCI cruise credit (if booked in the next 30 days).

  26 June 2016Propulsion / Power Loss

On June 26, 2016, engine problems caused the ship to alter the 5-day Western Caribbean cruise from Miami (itinerary June 25-30) to Grand Cayman and Key West). The incident related to one of the vessel’s 4 engines, and resulted in reduced speed, skipping call port George Town (Grand Cayman) and calling on two ports in the Bahamas instead (Nassau June 26, and CocoCay June 27). As compensation, passengers received 10% of the cruise fare paid per cabin in onboard credit.

  April 2016Other Incidents

April 2016, due to prolonged drydock refurbishment works, the ship’s inaugural cruise plus 7 more scheduled sailings were cancelled. The list of affected itineraries includes the ship’s Miami to Caribbean departures on March 30 and April 4, 7, 11, 16, 21, 25 and 29. The cancelled itineraries were 3-, to 5-days.

All booked passengers were allowed to switch to a same cabin type booking on the RCI’s Majesty of the Seas ship (itineraries through April 29, 2016) at no additional cost. Passengers re-booking on the Empress cruise ship received $100 in onboard credit. Cancelled bookings were fully refunded. Passengers with booked through RCI flights were rebooked on new flights without extra charge. RCI also covered the flight change fees of all privately booked fly cruise passengers.

  10 April 2014Drug Smuggling

On April 10, 2014 (as Pullmantur Empress) while the ship was docked in Santos Brazil, during a routine inspection Federal Police officers arrested a male crew and charged him with drug trafficking. The man (of Honduran origin) was trying to smuggle to Europe almost 100 pounds (over 45 kg) of cocaine. The drug was packed in 333 casings in 4 bags hidden in coffee pouches.

  06 December 2012Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On December 6, 2012 (as Pullmantur Empress) Brazilian news media reported a 23-year-old male passenger sustained serious head trauma and was hospitalized after falling from its cabin’s balcony. The man (Gabriel Moura Campos, of Brazilian origin) fell while trying to take a picture. He slipped and fell from Deck 10 to Deck 8. The incident occurred at ~2 pm while the ship was docked in call port Itajai (Santa Catarina, Brazil). The man was transported by an ambulance immediately to Hospital Maternidade Marieta Konder Bornhausen.

  05 December 2007Crew / Passenger Crimes

On December 5, 2007, while the ship was docked in St Kitts (Port Zante), during a routine K9 patrol a passenger was arrested for possession of cocaine.

  December 2007Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

December 2007, during a 12-days Caribbean cruise from Puerto Rico, a Norovirus illness outbreak affected over 140 people (no CDC report). All sick were quarantined to their cabins for 48 hours.

  February 2007Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

February 2007, the ship reported a Norovirus outbreak affecting 48 passengers (3,1% of all) and 10 crew (1,5% of all) during a 12-days Caribbean cruise roundtrip from homeport San Juan Puerto Rico.

  May 2006Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

May 2006, one of the crew (working on the ship as a bartender) was diagnosed with typhoid fever (Salmonella infection) – a life-threatening disease. The man (of Indian origin) joined the ship on April 29, 2006. He was taken off duty on May 11.

  29 April 2006Ship Listing

April 29-30, 2006, during a roundtrip Bermuda cruise from Philadelphia (Pennsylvania USA), for almost 1,5 days the ship encountered extreme weather conditions in the Atlantic Ocean. The vessel had to operate at reduced cruising speed to maintain tolerable levels of listing caused by 30-ft / 9 m waves and strong winds (over 50 mph / 80 kph). The storm ended early morning on May 1.

Among the damages suffered on board were broken TVs, furniture, dishes, and glassware. Most of the passengers remained in their cabins suffering by seasickness. The incident also resulted in an itinerary change. The scheduled arrival in Bermuda was delayed by a day. Port St George was replaced with Hamilton, and the port stay was 2 days (instead of 3). The next embarkation in Philadelphia was delayed by ~4 hours.

  12 September 2005Propulsion / Power Loss

On September 12, 2005, while en-route to Key West Florida, the ship experienced propulsion problems resulting in reduced cruising speed and a major itinerary change. In Key West were made some temporary repairs. Due to the accident, the itinerary was changed from a Mexico to a Bahamas cruise, calling at Nassau where more repairs were made. As compensation, all passengers received USD 150 in shipboard credit.

  January 2005Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

January 2005, CDC reported on voyage Jan 17 to 28, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 72 passengers (out of 1544, or 4,6%) and 5 crew (out of 685, or 0,7%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) and were quarantined to their cabins. The ship was on 11-day Caribbean cruise roundtrip from homeport San Juan Puerto Rico.

  08 September 2004Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On September 8, 2004, 7 of the crew were seriously injured in a lifeboat incident. It occurred while the ship was docked in King’s Wharf Bermuda. During a lifeboat drill (crew training exercise), one of the 8 life-boats plunged some 60 ft / 18 m into the water. One of the victims sustained spinal injuries and was airlifted for treatment. Another man suffered a near drowning and was in intensive care.

  15 June 2001Fire Accident

On June 15, 2001 (as Nordic Empress) the vessel carrying 1566 passengers and 650 crew suffered an engine room fire accident. No injuries were reported. The incident occurred ~10:30 pm, when the ship was approx 140 ml / 225 km northeast of Bermuda and en-route to NYC on a 7-days roundtrip cruise from New York.

The shipowner officially reported that the fire was safely extinguished by the ship’s fire-fighting system (Flexi-fog water sprinklers). However, the USCG report revealed a 3 hour firefight and drifting for ~7 hours. The ship called for assistance the USCG. Tugboats were sent out, but the vessel sailed back to port on its own power, using its starboard engine. All main onboard systems (lighting, air conditioning, water/toilets) remained fully functional.

Due to the engine room damages (affecting main engine Number 3 /portside), the vessel reversed its course and returned back to Bermuda, arriving in King’s Wharf on June 16. According to the incident report, the fire was caused by a ruptured fuel line between the 3rd and 4th main diesel engines.

While the ship was docked in Bermuda for repairs, all passengers were disembarked and flown back to NYC via charter flights and regular air service – at the shipowner’s expense. A total of 35 passengers remained on the ship (throughout June 16th) having been booked on other cruise ships to transfer them back to the US. As compensation, all passengers received a free Royal Caribbean cruise certificate (7-day itinerary). The next voyage (scheduled for June 17) was canceled.

All booked passengers received a free RCI cruise certificate (7-day itinerary) plus a full refund. The June 24 sailing departed as scheduled.

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