Explorer Of The Seas accidents and incidents

Explorer Of The Seas cruise ship


Length (LOA)
311 m / 1020 ft

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CruiseMapper's Explorer Of The Seas cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 3938-passenger vessel owned by Royal Caribbean. Our Explorer 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • fires - 2003, 2022
  • ship listing/tilting - 2005, 2010
  • propulsion/power loss - 2009
  • ship collision - 2012 (with Norwegian Star in Bermuda)
  • structural - 2020 (canceled "Royal Amplified" USD 110 million refurbishment project)
  • boat rescue - 2008
  • deaths - overboard (2010), 2011, 2024
  • injuries/crimes - 2011, 2012, 2018 (overboard-rescued), 2024 (sexual)
  • medevacs - 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2006 (total 360 / 34), 2014 (634 / 55), 2015 (182)
  • Coronavirus - 2022 (110 crew)

18 April 2024Crew / Passenger Deaths

(CruiseMapper-emailed report from Ayden Bermudez)

On Explorer of the Seas, around 2 in the morning, the captain made an announcement that said “Alpha, Alpha, Alpha. Stateroom 6327.” A few hours later at about 1:33, the person was taken off the ship via helicopter. Turns out that the person had died due to a sickness.

The date of the incident was the 18 on the 2nd to last day, we were near the coast of Cuba. The captain had to slow the vessel down to allow the helicopter to land. The medical team tried to revive the patient but failed.

The incident occurred at the end of the 5-day "Bahamas Cruise" (itinerary April 14-19, roundtrip from Miami, Florida USA) visiting only CocoCay/Little Stirrup Cay (Apr 15). The original Western Caribbean itinerary was revised and had scheduled visits to Jamaica (Falmouth/Apr 16) and Haiti (Labadee/Apr 17).

04 March 2024Crew / Passenger Crimes

(sexual) On March 8, 2024, upon arrival in PortMiami, a 21-year-old male passenger was arrested for unlawful sexual activity (sexually soliciting a minor) and detained at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center/TGKCC (1300-bed maximum security facility in Miami-Dade).

The man (Anish Shan, from Columbus, Georgia USA) approached a 14-year-old male passenger in the onboard wellness complex's sauna on March 4th (at ~7 PM/midnight UTC), while the ship was en route from Florida to Jamaica and navigating in international waters. He was charged with "lewd and lascivious conduct" and "lewd and lascivious exhibition on a child under 16".

According to the police report, he approached the boy and asked about his age. After he told him he was 14, the man started to masturbate while making eye contact with the kid. Then he asked the child if he had ever had oral sex. After the teen said no, he proposed oral sex, which the boy declined.

On March 8th, following the arrest, the offender was released from the correctional facility on a US$12500 bond.

The incident occurred at the beginning of the 5-day "Western Caribbean Cruise" (itinerary March 3-8, roundtrip from Miami) visiting Jamaica (Falmouth/Mar 5) and Haiti (Labadee/Mar 6).


19 September 2022Fire Accident

On September 19, 2022, while en route from Florida to Bonaire, the liner suffered a fire in a store room on Deck 13.

The fire produced heavy smoke and caused interior damages. The entire Deck 13 and partially Deck 12 were closed.

No injuries among the crew or passengers were reported.

The accident occurred at the beginning of an 8-day "Southern Caribbean Cruise" (itinerary Sept 17-25, roundtrip from Miami) visiting The Netherlands Antilles' ABC islands Bonaire (Kralendijk), Curacao (Willemstad) and Aruba (Oranjestad).

Note: A fire accident on Explorer OTS' Deck 13 was reported in February 2003, but it resulted only in minor damages to the flooring and the glass railings.

January 2022Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(Coronavirus) On January 8, 2022, an anonymous crew reported that the ship had a total of 110 COVID-positive crew. Allegedly, the infected were transferred to the fleetmate Rhapsody OTS on Jan 5th, while Explorer OTS was docked at Philipsburg (St Maarten Island).

The outbreak occurred during the 7-day Southern Caribbean Cruise (itinerary January 2-9, roundtrip from homeport San Juan (Puerto Rico), with call ports Charlotte Amalie (St Thomas USVI/Jan 3), Frederiksted (St Croix USVI/Jan 4), Philipsburg (St Maarten/Jan 5, port stay 8 am - 5 pm), Castries, St Lucia/Jan 6), Bridgetown (Barbados/Jan 7) and Basseterre (St Kitts/Jan 8).

June 2020Structural and Technical Issues

In 2020 (March 17 - May 6) for Explorer OTS was scheduled a USD 110 million drydock refurbishment by RCI-Royal Caribbean's "Royal Amplified" fleet renovation program. Unfortunately, the vessel entered drydock at the start of the global Coronavirus pandemic. Soon the Navantia Shipyard (in Cadiz Spain) was closed and the works on the cruise ship halted.

Due to the shipyard's closure and RCCL's financial loses (during the pandemic), the original project was revised and to be finished on a later date. The drydocking in 2020 was limited to technical works, including hull cleaning / repainting, technical upgrades, and routine maintenance. The same happened to the fleetmate Allure OTS (planned for USD 165 million Royal Amplification at Navantia Shipyard).

To be able to finish what was started on Explorer OTS, RCI had to cancel the scheduled for August 2020 Mediterranean itineraries.

05 November 2019Other Incidents

Due to bad weather in the UK, the 11-day Sunshine In The Canaries cruise (itinerary October 25 - November 5) was changed, affecting also the following planned 14-day Transatlantic repositioning cruise (itinerary November 5-19). On the 11-day voyage (roundtrip from Southampton to Funchal Madeira, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Vigo, La Coruna), tha last 2 ports (Vigo and La Coruna) were cancelled and replaced with Malaga and Lisbon. Instead of docking in Southampton on November 5 (at 5:30 am), the liner spent an extra 3 nights at sea and the current itinerary was extended to 14-days.

The itinerary change affected the next scheduled Transatlantic crossing (Southampton to Miami) with late departure (Nov 8 instead of Nov 5, at 4:30 pm) and skipping all planned Caribbean call port visits (St Lucia, Barbados, Dominica, Antigua). This way, the repositioning cruise was reduced to 7-days (all sea days).

RCI offered full refunds to all cancelled bookings.

June 2019Coast Guard Medevacs

(CruiseMapper emailed incident by Olliecad) Just got off Explorer OTS after a 14-day cruise around the Mediterranean from Southampton. We had two medical emergencies on board during this time.

The first (17th June) was an elderly lady (unclear what her situation was) who was tendered to the island of Capri via lifeboat, shortly after we left Naples and later taken to hospital via helicopter. Slight delay into Sardinia the next day.

The second occurred a few days later (19th June) at around 10:30 PM. A patient was medevaced via helicopter off the coast of Italy. Unclear what the situation was. We had a forward facing room and saw the whole thing. The patient was hoisted up on a stretcher, followed by a member of the family. The whole thing took about an hour. Slight delay into Cádiz the next day.

The incidents occurred during the 14-day Italian Mediterranean cruise (itinerary June 9-23) roundtrip from homeport Southampton England to Gibraltar, Villefranche-sur-Mer (Nice, France), La Spezia Italy, Civitavecchia-Rome, Naples Italy (June 17), Cagliari Sardinia (June 18), and Cadiz Spain (June 20).

06 October 2018Coast Guard Medevacs

On October 6, 2018, a 67-year-old male passenger (suffering diabetic emergency and a possible stroke) was medevaced from the liner approx 200 mi (320 km) off the coast of Oregon USA.

The USCG helicopter crew (MH-60 Jayhawk) was assisted by an airplane (C-27J Spartan) dispatched from Sacramento CA. The cruise ship requested medical evacuation at ~2 pm (Oct 6). The man was airlifted (hoisted) and transported to Astoria Regional Airport (Warrenton OR), from where an air ambulance flew him to Portland OR (Providence St Vincent Medical Center).

The incident occurred during the 22-day repositioning cruise from Alaska to Australia (itinerary Oct 5-27) from Seattle to Sydney NSW, visiting Hawaii (Honolulu, Lahaina), Fiji (Suva), Vanuatu (Port Vila, Mystery Island) and New Caledonia (Noumea).

19 July 2018Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

(overboard) On July 19, 2018, two male crew fell overboard while working on a lifeboat on the ship navigating near Victoria BC (Canada). Both crews were recovered (alive) by another vessel (pilot boat C-Tow Victoria). They were assessed for injuries and returned to the liner. A 3rd crew was initially reported missing but was later found on the boat. The lifeboat was towed for a while then restarted and hoisted back on the liner.

The incident occurred during 7-day Alaska Glacier cruise (itinerary July 13-20) roundtrip from homeport Seattle WA to Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm Fjord, and Victoria (Canada).

11 July 2017Coast Guard Medevacs

On July 11, 2017, a 68-year-old male passenger was medevaced while the ship was close to Kake (Southeast Alaska). The man sustained injuries after falling down a flight of stairs. He was airlifted by a USCG helicopter (dispatched from Juneau AK) and flown to Sitka AK.

22 September 2016Coast Guard Medevacs

On September 22, 2016, a 66-year-old male passenger suffering internal bleeding (condition unclear) was medevaced by USCG at ~4:30 am and transported by an ambulance to Olympic Memorial Hospital (Port Angeles).

The ship was operating on a 7-day Alaskan cruise from Seattle WA (itinerary Sept 16-23).

December 2015Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

December 2015, an Australian news media reported a Norovirus illness outbreak affecting 182 passengers and crew, which is  3,9% of all the carried 3566 passengers and 1139 crew. The shipowner Royal Caribbean notified the NSW Health authorities of the outbreak.

When the ship docked in homeport Sydney (~6 am on Dec 16), at the Overseas Passenger Terminal ambulance paramedic teams were on standby to take the sick to a hospital for treatment. No medevacs or passengers requiring hospitalization were reported.

The ship was on 14-day Australia to New Zealand cruise (itinerary Dec 2 – 16, roundtrip from Sydney AU) with call ports Bay of Islands, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Picton, Dunedin, Fjordland Park.

28 November 2015Other Incidents

On November 28, 2015, the two largest cruise ships deployed in the South Pacific Ocean met in Sydney Harbour (Australia). Both Royal Caribbean ships (Explorer and the Voyager of the Seas) carried over 10,000 passengers and crew for the celebration.

The Explorer ship was ending a 16-day Australia-New Zealand itinerary from Fremantle-Perth (through Adelaide and Melbourne) and called on Sydney for the first time. On the same day, the Voyager ship left Sydney on a 7-day itinerary to Melbourne and Hobart Tasmania. The special rendezvous event started at 6 pm near Fort Denison, with both vessels performing maneuvres and a water-supply tugboat doing the traditional water-spraying show.

January 2014Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

January 2014, CDC reported on voyage Jan 21 to 31, a major Norovirus outbreak affected a total of 634 passengers (out of 3071, or 20,6%) and 55 crew (out of 1166, or 4,7%). The ship was operating on a 10-day Eastern Caribbean cruise from homeport Cape Liberty (Bayonne, New Jersey). On Jan 24 (en-route to St Martin), 281 passengers and 22 crew were reported with Norovirus symptoms.

CDC sent an officer and an epidemiologist to the vessel on Jan 26, who boarded it in St Thomas (USVI). By Jan 27, the number of Norovirus cruise passengers increased to 564, plus 47 crew. The voyage was cancelled (Puerto Rico and Tahiti were dropped). When the ship returned to Bayonne NJ, the number of sick was already 634 passengers and 55 crew.

14 September 2012Ship Collision / Allision

On September 14, 2012, the ship was docked and moored in Kings Wharf (Bermuda) when strong winds pushed the NCL ship Norwegian Star towards its stern. Both ships suffered only minor damages and continued on their itineraries.

14 September 2012Crew / Passenger Crimes

On September 14, 2012, while the ship was en route to Bermuda from Bayonne New Jersey, a 46-year-old male passenger was caught stealing Spa products of nearly USD 3000 worth. The items were stolen from the ship’s Spa while the staff were not looking, and after he and his wife had massages there.

12 December 2011Coast Guard Medevacs

On December 12, 2011, a 21-year-old female passenger experienced appendicitis symptoms. She was medevaced by USCG and transported to Key West (Lower Keys Medical Center). The ship was en-route back to homeport Port Everglades.

09 June 2011Crew / Passenger Deaths

On June 9, 2011, a 52-year-old female passenger died in Mangrove Bay (Somerset Island, Bermuda). The woman was on a helmet diving tour along with her family when began to experience breathing difficulties. CPR was given, then she was transported to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. Med staff was unable to revive her and at the hospital, she was pronounced dead (suspected heart attack).

09 February 2011Drug Smuggling

On February 9, 2011, a 32-year-old male crew (working as a waiter on the ship) was arrested and later sentenced 15 years in jail for cocaine smuggling into Bermuda. He was the organizer of a drug smuggling ring. Onboard CCTV camera records showed another male crew (from Jamaica) moving the bag with nearly 4 kilos of cocaine around the ship. The street value of the drugs was USD 735,000.

2011Crew / Passenger Crimes

Reports on crew and passengers arrested for possession of illegal drugs (marijuana) were filed in 2011 (October 12, August 3, April 12), 2010 (Aug 11).

11 October 2010Crew / Passenger Deaths

On October 11, 2010, a male passenger died on the ship (from natural causes). He was found dead in his cabin.

05 May 2010Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On May 5, 2010, a 26-year-old male crew jumped overboard committing suicide. The man was working as a bartender on the ship. The suicidal jump was recorded on a CCTV camera. The vessel turned around and circled the area for about 2 hours, but the body was never found. The accident happened 8 hours after the ship left San Juan Puerto Rico.

28 February 2010Ship Listing

On February 28, 2010, while en route to Puerto Rico, at ~4 am the ship experienced 45-degree listing (tilted). Some said the vessel was close to capsizing. For brief moments, passengers cabins on deck 3 (window staterooms) were under water. At 4:30 am the Captain publicly announced “losing control of the ship”. The ship listing lasted about 2 min. The cause for the incident was the ship’s autopilot that failed for a minute after the wind changed. In San Juan, many passengers were taken to a local hospital for treatments.

29 January 2009Propulsion / Power Loss

On January 29, 2009, while leaving the Port Samana (Dominican Republic), one of the ship’s propellers struck an unidentified object under water and was bent. The 11-day itinerary was changed (Labadee and San Juan were skipped) and the ship returned in Bayonne NJ on Feb 1.

On Jan 30, the vessel stopped near Turks and Caicos islands and drifted for over 1 hour while divers inspected and photographed the damaged propeller. The ship proceeded at reduced cruising speed to St Thomas (USVI), where divers repaired the bent propeller. The St Thomas port stay was extended 6 hours.

16 February 2008Boat Rescue

On February 16, 2008, the ship was en route to Florida from Cape Liberty (Bayonne, New Jersey) on a 9-days Caribbean cruise. The Navigation Bridge officers on duty heard a faint distress call with accident coordinates over the radio. It was sent from the crew of a 39 ft / 36 m sailing yacht named “Tumbleweed”.

The yacht was motionless, experiencing a breakdown of both the engine and sails. The yacht’s location was 275 ml / 440 km southeast of North Carolina, drifting in the area for 11 days. The cruise ship located the boat and rescued all three men, who left the ship in San Juan (Puerto Rico) on Feb 21.

April 2006Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

April 2006, CDC reported on voyage Apr 23 to 30, a Norovirus outbreak affected 117 passengers (out of 3292, or 3,6%) and 15 crew (out of 1188, or 1,3%). The ship was on a 7-day Caribbean cruise from Miami.

March 2006Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

February-March 2006, CDC reported on voyage Feb 26 to Mar 5, a major Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 243 passengers (out of 3245, or 7,5%) and 19 crew (out of 1184, or 1,6%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea) and were quarantined to their cabins. The ship was operating on an 8-day Southern Caribbean cruise from homeport Miami Florida.

02 August 2005Ship Listing

On August 2, 2005, after leaving Miami FL, at about 10 pm the ship experienced listing. It tilted to one side for about 10 min. The cause for the incident was a stabilizer (retracted at a faster rate than normal).

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