Freedom Of The Seas accidents and incidents

Freedom Of The Seas cruise ship


Length (LOA)
338 m / 1109 ft

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CruiseMapper's Freedom Of The Seas cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 4541-passenger vessel owned by Royal Caribbean. Our Freedom 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, Norovirus, etc.

  • fire – 2015
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew)- 2006 (338 / 46)
  • deaths – 2009, 2012 (bus crash in St Maarten), 2013
  • injuries/crimes – 2012, 2013, 2016 (2 drug busts), 2018 (Aruba)
  15 August 2018Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On August 15, 2018, a 7-year-old female passenger sustained serious injuries in an ATV accident ashore, while the liner was docked in call port Oranjestad (Aruba). The girl (Jednniely Perez Rivas, from Bayamon, Puerto Rico) was traveling with her mother in an off-road vehicle which was involved in a crash accident with a van. The girl was ejected from the ATV and sustained injuries to her leg and lost her foot.

Another cruise ship passenger (Sean Whelan, retired NYPD officer), arrived at the scene of the accident. He found the kid not breathing  and administered emergency medical treatment. He  used a towel to stop the bleeding and performed CPR for some 20 min until the kid started breathing again. He accompanied her to a hospital and, finding that her family had no medical insurance, paid USD 15,000 for air ambulance from Oranjestad to San Juan (Puerto Rico). In San Juan, the girl was placed in medically induced coma.

The incident occurred during 7-day Southern Caribbean cruise (itinerary Aug 11-18) roundtrip from homeport San Juan to Charlotte Amalie (St Thomas), Willemstad (Curacao), Oranjestad (Aruba) and Basseterre (St Kitts).

  26 April 2016Drug Smuggling

On April 26, 2016, two male crew were arrested on the ship and charged with cocaine smuggling into the USA (Port Canaveral Florida) from St Maarten. Both crew members (of Jamaican origin, galley workers) admitted making multiple deliveries using drugs-filled sandals. For each delivery they’ve been paid USD 1250.

  15 March 2016Drug Smuggling

On May 15, 2016, four female passengers (of US origin) were arrested and charged with cocaine smuggling. The drug bust was in Port Canaveral (Orlando, Florida), while the women were disembarking the ship after a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise with call ports Labadee (Haiti(, Falmouth (Jamaica), Grand Cayman and Cozumel (Mexico).

Over 6,5 kg of the drug were discovered in all 5 vacuum-sealed packages. Custom officers searched one of the women after noticing that her hands were shaking and she was avoiding eye contact. Then the officers searched her travel companions and found the packages with cocaine in each of their bras and girdles.

  22 July 2015Fire Accident

On July 22, 2015, upon entering into Port Falmouth, Jamaica, the ship experienced a fire incident. Royal Caribbean announced that “a small fire” started in a “mechanical area”. All passengers were gathered to the respective muster stations. No injuries among passengers were reported, but a crew suffered 1-degree burns. The fire broke out at 9:15 am. The ship’s fire suppression system in the area activated immediately and quickly extinguished it. All the vessel’s systems were functioning normally. Freedom was on a 7-day roundtrip itinerary from Port Canaveral to Labadee (Haiti private resort), Falmouth, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

According to an unofficial information leaked via active crew on the ship, during the fire accident, Royal Caribbean was installing on the ship a new generation emission purification system (AEP), often referred to as “scrubber”. Excepting the newest vessels, RCI ships use high-sulphur cheaper diesel fuel instead of low-sulphur diesel fuel. To comply with the industry’s norm and the IMO’s requirements, the line decided to upgrade the existing equipment by installing the new AEP system (scrubber equipment). These new units are located in the engine room, positioned in and around diesel engines and exhaust systems. Usually, for passenger safety reasons, such works are done during dry dock refurbishments.

A passenger reported to us he saw the equipment being loaded on the ship. When he asked the crew, he was told it is for the water filtration system. Also, the night before, many cruise cabins suffered toilet malfunction, so passengers had to use the public restrooms. The man also told us, that upon leaving the ship, he walked through stairwells and hallways that reeked of urine and feces. On upper decks there was a smell of welding, mold and toxic fumes.

An anonymous crew reported that the Freedom of the Seas fire in Jamaica was not contained within the mechanical spaces. According to the insider, the fire started near the engine and spread up to the top deck (above the lounge “Viking Crown”) through the exhaust system. Many photos and videos published online confirmed this information. They all showed big flames burning and a billowing smoke erupting from the ship’s top.

As compensation for the port hours missed in Jamaica, all passengers received US$200 in onboard credit. If the shipowner Royal Caribbean had shut down the vessel in Jamaica for a (mandatory) SOLAS inspection (abbrev from “Safety of Life at Sea”), this would have resulted in huge financial losses from passenger lodging, flights to Miami FL and refunds.

When the fire incident occurred, the ship was on a 7-day Western Caribbean roundtrip Port Canaveral cruise itinerary to Haiti (Labadee /private resort), Jamaica (Falmouth / 8 am-4 pm), Grand Cayman (George Town) and Mexico (Cozumel). The voyage started on July 19, and all call ports dates and times were as scheduled.

The ship was back in homeport Port Canaveral on July 26, 2015 at 6 am. The vessel docked at Cruise Terminal 1 and was boarded and inspected by an USCG team. At 4:30 pm the ship left the port on the next scheduled 7-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary to Bahamas (Coco Cay /private island), St Thomas (Charlotte Amalie), and St Maarten (Philipsburg).

  15 December 2013Crew / Passenger Deaths

On December 15, 2013, a 75-year-old female passenger died from natural causes on the ship during a 7-day Caribbean voyage.

  03 December 2013Coast Guard Medevacs

On December 3, 2013, a helicopter airlifted a male passenger from Coco Cay (aka Little Stirrup Cay /private island in Bahamas). Later on the same day, the ship disembarked in Nassau, Bahamas, two other passengers, who were transported to a hospital.

  2013Coast Guard Medevacs

In 2013 were filed several reports on medical emergencies. On December 4, due to 3 emergencies, the ship stopped at San Juan Puerto Rico instead of St Thomas. On December 5, the ship returned to St Maarten soon after departure due to an emergency. On December 9, about 3 hours after departure from Port Canaveral the ship returned due to an emergency.

  10 August 2012Crew / Passenger Crimes

(sexual) On August 10, 2012, Mexican newspaper reported a 19-year-old female passenger being drugged and sexually assaulted by four Senor Frog’s employees (bar-restaurant in Cozumel Mexico). When boarded the ship, she experienced pain and had bruises on her body. The girl’s family decided to end the cruise and stay in Cozumel to report the incident to the local police.

  19 July 2012Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

(bus crash accident) On July 19, 2012, 36 passengers from the ship were involved in a bus crash accident during an organized by Royal Caribbean shore excursion on St Maarten. They were on a zip line tour called “Loterie Farm Treetop Adventure”. The tour bus lost control while descending a steep road on a hill, hit a speed bump, stroke a taxi car (overturning it), then hit a tree and and plummet into a ditch. The land tour operator was “Dutch Tours Enterprises NV”.

Six of the cruise ship passengers (all US citizens) and the driver were injured (minor injuries, a broken wrist). The taxi driver suffered a broken foot. The injured were transported to Louis Constant Fleming Hospital. Staff members and a doctor from the ship remained with them during the hospital stay. All embarked the ship the same day.

  04 September 2009Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On September 4, 2009, a 50-year-old male passenger died after falling overboard from the ship in Cozumel. The vessel was maneuvering for docking when the man fell overboard. The body was sucked into the propellers.

  December 2006Cruise Illness / Norovirus Outbreaks

December 2006, CDC reported on voyage Dec 3 to 10, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected a total of 338 passengers (out of 3823, or 8,8%) and 46 crew (out of 1402, or 3,3%). All sick suffered from Noro virus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) and were quarantined to their cabins.

The ship was on 7-day Caribbean itinerary from homeport Miami. Because this was the 3rd voyage with reported Norovirus outbreak (since Nov 26), CDC inspectors recommended the vessel to remain docked for 48 hours (out of service) for extensive cleaning and disinfection.

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