Margaritaville Paradise accidents and incidents

Margaritaville Paradise cruise ship

Former names
Margaritaville At Sea Paradise, MAS Paradise, Grand Classica, Costa neoClassica, Costa Classica

Length (LOA)
220 m / 722 ft

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CruiseMapper's Margaritaville Paradise cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 1680-passenger vessel owned by Margaritaville at Sea (Margaritaville at Sea). Our Margaritaville Paradise 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • fire - 2005 (Greece), 2014 (Red Sea)
  • ship collisions - 2008 (with MSC Poesia in Dubrovnik Croatia), 2010 (with a cargo ship on Yangtze River in China)
  • propulsion/power loss - 2010
  • canceled port calls in Turkey - 2015
  • deaths - overboard (2009, 2014), 2005 (5 killed, 43 injured in a bus crash in Madeira Portugal), 2018, 2023 (crew), 2024 (2)
  • injuries/crimes - sexual (2012, 2023), 2009 (5 thefts), 2010, 2023 (loaded firearm)

Previously, the vessel was operated under the names Costa Classica (1991-2014), Costa neoClassica (2014-2018), Grand Classica (April 2018-2022), and Margaritaville Paradise (since April 2022).

Since 2018, the ship is owned and operated by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line and is homeported in Palm Beach Florida.

11 March 2024Crew / Passenger Deaths

On the afternoon of March 11, 2024, a 27-year-old female passenger died on the ship en route from the USA to the Bahamas.

The woman (a Florida resident) was discovered inside a stateroom and was found unresponsive. Despite efforts by the ship's medical personnel to resuscitate her, she was declared deceased.

The Bahamian police officers reported the confiscation of suspected cocaine seized from the cabin. Following the discovery, a 32-year-old male passenger (also from Florida) was arrested in connection with the case. At the time of the arrest, the authorities didn't disclose the relationship between the suspect and the deceased, nor did they reveal their identities.

Margaritaville at Sea Cruise Line duly notified all necessary authorities, including the FBI, as per standard protocol for such occurrences.

The incident occurred at the beginning of the 3-day "Bahamas Cruise" (itinerary March 10-13, roundtrip from Palm Beach FL) visiting Freeport (on March 12th).

27 February 2024Crew / Passenger Deaths

On the evening of February 27, 2024, a 35-year-old female passenger died after developing difficulty breathing during dinner.

Although assisted by the ship's physician, the woman remained unconscious and died a short time later.

The victim's body was offloaded in Freeport (Grand Bahama Island) on Feb 28th. The Bahamian police, the Colonel's Office, and the American embassy were duly notified. 

The incident happened in international waters and during the 2-day "Bahamas Cruise" (Feb 27-29) roundtrip from West Palm Beach (Florida USA) and visiting Freeport Harbour.

04 December 2023Crew / Passenger Crimes

In December 2023, a female passenger managed to board the ship in Port West Palm Beach, carrying a loaded 9 mm gun.

The weapon was in her possession during the entire voyage (3-night/4-day roundtrip to the Bahamas/Dec 4-7). The firearm was discovered by US CBP officers on Dec 7th, during routine X-ray screening, when the woman disembarked the ship and was about to leave the terminal.

The gun (fully loaded with 8 bullets) was confiscated. The woman (with hearing disabilities, described by the CBP agents as "unstable and uncooperative") was not arrested.

Following the incident, the Port's private security provider Weiser Security Services Inc was placed on probation. The company was required to submit a comprehensive plan to address the security breach. Weiser's officer who monitored the X-Ray system on Dec 4th was reassigned for retraining.

11 October 2023Crew / Passenger Deaths

On October 11, 2023, a male crew died during a general fire drill on board conducted at homeport West Palm Beach (Florida USA).

The incident happened at ~9:45 AM Florida time (~13:45 UTC), when the ship's fire crew team was training to extinguish a simulated fire near the Infirmary on Deck 3.

Reportedly, the man died in the Infirmary suffering from a heart attack, after running up and down the stairs between decks 3 and 8, carrying heavy protective equipment.

06 May 2023Crew / Passenger Crimes

(sexual) On August 14, 2023, a female passenger (H.B.) filed a lawsuit against Margaritaville at Sea for severe emotional and psychological trauma from a sexual assault by a male crew.

The incident occurred during the 3-day/2-night "Bahamas Cruise" (May 5-8) roundtrip from West Palm Beach (Florida USA) to Freeport (Bahamas), and at sea/in international waters while the ship was en route to The Bahamas.

On the first evening of the voyage, the woman and her female friend/roommate had several drinks (at two different bars) and eventually returned to their stateroom at ~1 am.

During the interview with the FBI on May 9th (after the ship returned back to homeport West Palm Beach) the victim said that on that night (Aug 5th) while sleeping in her bed she was awakened by a man who was "touching her breasts, kissing her neck, and vaginally penetrating her". She recognized the offender as the bartender from one of the bars (the ship's karaoke bar). The other woman also awoke and recorded part of the incident by taking photos of the man touching the face and breast of her asleep roommate.

According to the affidavit, the crew accessed the stateroom using the woman's keycard (previously used for paying for the drinks at the karaoke bar). Both women were sleeping in separate beds and were naked.

The bartender told the investigating FBI agents that the woman invited him to her stateroom and was asleep when he entered but woke up before the sex. According to him, during their intercourse, the other woman was asleep/passed out. He also said that he left the cabin after a few minutes of sexual intercourse when the woman told him to leave.

In a Miami federal court, the perpetrator (Hoobesh Kumar Dookhy) was charged with "abusive sexual contact". The charge carries a 2-year (max) jail sentence and a fine of US$250,000.

13 July 2022Structural and Technical Issues

On July 13, 2022, following a routine inspection, the USCG issued a "No Sail Order" and the ship remained docked at Port Palm Beach (Florida USA) until July 14th.

As a result, one 2-night voyage to The Bahamas was canceled. All passengers were disembarked and received compensation for the inconvenience.

According to Nicole Groll (USCG's Public Affairs Officer), under federal law, all cruise vessels operating in the USA are required to have a COC/Certificate of Compliance inspection every six months. During the annual exam, Port State Control officers had identified conditions, which required Margaritaville Paradise to stay in port until rectified due to the safety of the passengers and crew.

Following minor repairs, the vessel's Certificate of Compliance (COC) was renewed and the Bahamian program resumed as scheduled.

03 September 2021Other Incidents

(Grand Classica) On September 3, 2021, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line announced that the ship is chartered by "Entergy New Orleans" (electricity provider) to serve as a hotel ship for front-line/relief workers in New Orleans following the disastrous Hurricane Ida (highest wind speed 150 mph/240 kph, USA total deaths 66).

2021's Hurricane Ida (August 26 - September 4th, highest wind speed 150 mph/240 kph, damage cost USD 50+ billion, USA total deaths 77) was ranked Louisiana State's second-most damaging - after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (August 23-31st, highest wind speed 175 mph/280 kph, damage cost USD 125+ billion, USA total deaths 1836).

Southeastern Louisiana sustained heavy infrastructural damages including building collapses and heavy flooding in the coastal areas (New Orleans, Golden Meadow, Houma, Galliano, LaPlace, Grand Isle). Luckily, New Orleans City's levees/floodbanks survived. Hurricane Ida's damage cost was estimated at ~USD 50 billion.

02 June 2021Other Incidents

(Grand Classica) On June 2, 2021, Bahamas Paradise received approval from the CDC to start "simulated voyages" (test cruises) in June. CDC's requirements were all passengers (volunteers cruising for free) and the crew to be COVID-vaccinated.

The liner's first test cruise was originally scheduled for June 25 (2-night/3-day roundtrip to Freeport/Grand Bahama Island from Palm Beach Florida) but later rescheduled for June 28.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line planned to officially resume its Florida-Bahamas passenger shipping operations on July 2. However, Bahamas Paradise had to postpone the CDC's simulated voyage (and eventually the previously planned restart date from July 2 to July 24) after one of the boat's vaccinated crew tested COVID-positive.

The ship's first in 16 months voyage was the 2-night Palm Beach-Freeport cruise (July 24-26) carrying ~400 passengers and 220 crew.

01 April 2019Other Incidents

(Grand Classica) On April 1, 2019, the liner assisted the Royal Caribbean ship Oasis of the Seas by providing temporary housing and meals to the entire crew (~1200 personnel). The large cruise liner sustained damages after a construction crane fell during the vessel's scheduled drydock refurbishment at Grand Bahama Shipyard (Freeport, Bahamas).

15 February 2019Other Incidents

(Grand Classica) On February 15, 2019, the liner was denied entry to Cuba. The incident occurred during the special 4-day roundtrip Palm Beach USA to Cuba cruise (itinerary Feb 14-18) with scheduled berthing in Havana (Feb 15, 10-hour port stay), sea day (Feb 16), back to Havana (Feb 17, 8-hour port stay) and back to Palm Beach (Feb 18).

In an official statement, the cruise company announced that "Due to the Cuban government denying entry into Havana without reason and despite advance approvals in place, Viva Travel's charter of Grand Classica is headed for Nassau to complete her four-day cruise".

19 October 2018Crew / Passenger Deaths

(Grand Classica) On October 19, 2018, a 29-year-old male passenger died after falling down the staircase. The ship contacted the USCG Station Lake Worth Inlet (Palm Beach) to report the incident soon after leaving West Palm Beach FL. The ship was approx 20 km (13 mi) east of Port Palm Beach and en-route to Grand Bahama Island. After the medevac, the ship continued towards Freeport (Bahamas).

The man was medevaced (airlifted) from the cruise liner and transported to West Palm Beach Florida. At St Mary’s Medical Center, he was pronounced dead.

On January 25, 2019, was reported that man's autopsy showed he was intoxicated (alcohol level 0,256 / ~3 times Florida USA's legal limit for driving). Being heavily drunk, he attempted to jump up a stair, lost his balance and fell backward 13 m (45 ft) down the stairwell. The man (Christopher McGrory) was celebrating his bachelor party.

18 August 2015Other Incidents

(Costa neoClassica) On August 18, 2015, Costa Cruises officially canceled its ship visits to the Turkish ports Istanbul and Izmir for the remainder of 2015. These 2 call ports in Turkey were replaced by alternative ports in Greece and Italy, and on some itineraries – with Valletta Malta. These itinerary changes affected 3 Costa ships – neoClassica (August through December), Costa Deliziosa (October and November) and Costa Pacifica (September, October, and November). The decision was made in response to the terrorist attack on the US consulate (Istanbul, Aug 10).

23 December 2014Fire Accident

(Costa neoClassica) On December 23, 2014, during 25-day Asia and Africa cruise itinerary from Europe (Savona to Mauritius), the ship experienced a fire incident (no data on its location). The fire broke out at ~9:30 pm, while the vessel was en-route to Aqaba Jordan (Red Sea) after the Suez Canal transit.

07 March 2014Crew / Passenger Deaths

(Costa Classica / overboard) On March 7, 2014, a 70-year-old male passenger (of German origin) fell overboard soon after the ship left call port Casablanca Morocco, and was en-route to call port Funchal Madeira (Portugal). The ship turned around and conducted a search operation for ~2 hours, but the body was not found.

19 February 2012Crew / Passenger Crimes

(Costa Classica / sexual) On February 19, 2012, a 32-year-old female crew (of Filipino origin, working on the ship as a security guard) was sexually abused by 2 male crew (both of Indian origin) who were employed on the ship as security officers.

The woman was on duty and patrolling the crew area when at ~11 pm she was told to report to the security office. There she found the 2 suspects drinking. One of them started to make indecent advances, but she managed to escape the room. Around midnight, she was summoned again, just to find both men still drinking. As soon as one of them left the room, the other one raped her.

She reported the incident to the Captain and also filed a complaint to the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong China. Unfortunately, the culprits managed to disembark the ship in Hong Kong and escaped before the local police started an investigation.

24 January 2012Other Incidents

(Costa Classica) On January 24, 2012, over 300 passengers were not allowed to disembark the ship in call port Sanya China. All the banned passengers had their passports checked by the ship’s staff, but all of them had no visas for China. The incident caused numerous conflicts when all passengers lined up for disembarkation, causing a serious delay. Most passengers had to shorten or even cancel their Sanya tours.

18 October 2010Ship Collision / Allision

(Costa Classica) On October 18, 2010, at ~4:45 am, upon returning to homeport Shanghai China, the ship experienced a power failure, which led to a collision with a cargo vessel (named “Lowlands Longevity”) near the Yangtze River channel.

Of all passengers, 12 were reported suffering minor injuries, 3 of them were transported by an ambulance for further medical treatment ashore. In the collision incident, the Costa ship sustained a starboard hull damage (~60 ft / 18 m long gash above the waterline) affecting Pisa Deck 5 (cabin deck) midships.

At ~10 am, the ship was docked to offload all passengers (current itinerary was canceled), then continued to Port Changxing for drydock repairs. Repair works took ~4 days, and the vessel resumed service on Oct 22, with a revised itinerary (including only call port Hong Kong, while Manila Philippines was dropped).

24 August 2009Crew / Passenger Crimes

(Costa Classica) On August 24, 2009, four passengers (of Chinese origin) suffered cash thefts from their cabins. The money was stolen either from the cabin’s safe or from left behind wallets. The affected passengers suspected the cabin steward (of Filipino origin) who was responsible for cleaning the 4 staterooms. The search of his cabin didn’t find the missing money.

07 July 2009Crew / Passenger Deaths

(Costa Classica / overboard) On July 7, 2009, a female passenger and her son (both of Hong Kong origin) were reported missing and presumed fell overboard. The incident occurred on a roundtrip cruise from homeport Tianjin China to Japan, while the ship was en-route to Fukuoka from Hong Kong. The investigation suggested a suicide attempt after they found in the victims’ cabin 3 letters outlining the distribution of the family’s assets in the event of their deaths.

06 June 2008Ship Collision / Allision

(Costa Classica) On June 6, 2008, two cruise vessels – the Classica ship and MSC Poesia – collided in the harbor of call port Dubrovnik Croatia (Dalmatian coast, Adriatic Sea / Mediterranean). The accident occurred after the MSC ship’s anchor line loosened and the ship drifted towards Classica.

No injuries were reported. Both vessels continued on their scheduled itineraries without any delays.

23 December 2005Crew / Passenger Deaths

(Costa Classica) On December 23, 2005, the ship was docked in call port Funchal (Madeira Portugal), when on a Costa Cruises sponsored shore excursion 5 passengers (all of the Italian nationality) died in a bus crash incident. The tour bus overturned on the road leading to Sao Vicente. Another 43 passengers were injured, among those a 9-month-old baby boy.

The investigation indicated that the bus was speeding and the driver was tested positive for alcohol.

24 August 2005Fire Accident

(Costa Classica) On August 24, 2005, while navigating in Aegean Sea (Mediterranean), the vessel experienced a fire accident off the Poros Island (35 ml / 60 km south of Piraeus-Athens (mainland Greece). The incident occurred at ~9:30 am. The fire affected the aft starboard side and was extinguished after ~30 min.

No injuries were reported, but the ship suffered major interior damages (in the galley/kitchen area) and Costa Crociere had to cancel the voyage. As compensation, all passengers received a full refund, plus 25% future Costa cruise booking discount. The ship entered service again on Aug 21, leaving from Venice Italy.

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