Captain of Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas Passes Away

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Royal Caribbean International has sadly announced that the current master of Harmony of the Seas, Captain James MacDonald, has passed away following a heart attack and medical evacuation on April 30.

As a gesture of respect and mourning across the Royal Caribbean fleet, all ships will fly the Royal Caribbean flag at half mast on Friday, May 17, 2024.

Captain MacDonald suffered a severe heart attack on April 30, requiring Harmony of the Seas to divert for an unscheduled stop in Cozumel, Mexico, so that he could be medically evacuated. He was then flown to Miami for continued care, but unfortunately succumbed on Thursday, May 16.

Captain James MacDonald
Captain James MacDonald

“Our dear colleague, Captain James MacDonald, passed away this morning while at a hospital in Miami,” an internal email confirmed. “Capt. James was accompanied by his wife following his debarkation from Harmony of the Seas two weeks ago.”

Captain MacDonald joined Royal Caribbean in November 1990 and served well on a variety of vessels during his distinguished career, including Radiance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, and Liberty of the Seas, in addition to Harmony of the Seas.

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“Capt. James was an exceptional leader known for his dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment to our company,” the email continued. “All who had the privilege of working with Capt. James will deeply feel his loss. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, the Harmony team, and all those who sailed with him over the years.”

Condolences have been pouring out on social media as the news has spread, with many guests sharing fond memories of Captain MacDonald.

“We loved having him as our captain! He just had a style that made you like him… It kinda made you feel like you were on a cruise with your cool buddy as the captain! We sure hated to hear the news.”

“He was my favorite Captain and crew / guests will miss him, especially those that sail frequently from Galveston!”

“He was absolutely a great Captain! Prayers to his family.”

“He was funny and loved to walk around and talk to everybody. He made everyone comfortable and we had full confidence in his decisions. He was the best! We’ll miss you!”

“Sailed with Captain James many times. Great Captain and so sad to hear he passed.”

No further information about any possible memorial service has been announced at this time.

Support for Royal Caribbean Crew Members

Royal Caribbean International is making support services available to all crew members who may need help during this sad time, including counseling via telephone or through the Human Resources or Medical Teams onboard each ship. The cruise line is also continuing to support the MacDonald family through this loss.

Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas Cruise
Photo Copyright: KPegg / Shutterstock

Other Royal Caribbean ships are also making announcements to guests and offering gestures of solidarity, such as horn blasts to commemorate Captain MacDonald throughout the fleet.

Cruise Hive extends its most sincere condolences to the team aboard Harmony of the Seas, all Royal Caribbean International masters and team members, and all passengers who had the privilege to sail with Captain James MacDonald over the years.

Did you ever sail with Captain MacDonald? Share your memories on the Cruise Hive boards!

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