Carnival Ship Rescues 27 People Adrift at Sea in the Caribbean

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On Sunday, April 21, 2024, the first full day of her current sailing, Carnival Paradise rescued 27 refugees from Cuba while the cruise ship was sailing west of the island nation en route to Roatan, Honduras.

All individuals were brought safely aboard the ship and provided with emergency care while official authorities were notified regarding the next steps.

Carnival Paradise Rescues Boat in Distress

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on the first full day of her current 5-night cruise, the ever-vigilant bridge crew of Carnival Paradise spotted a small boat signaling for assistance. The ship immediately turned to render aid, bringing aboard 27 Cuban nationals from the overcrowded boat.

The incident happened approximately 20 miles southeast of Los Cajuelos, the westernmost point of Cuba. Carnival Paradise was enjoying a day at sea as the ship sailed for Roatan, Honduras, for a scheduled port visit on Monday, April 22.

The small wooden boat was in poor condition, with what appeared to be a makeshift sail, though it was not in use. With 27 individuals aboard, the boat was overcrowded and was not carrying adequate supplies for those aboard.

Carnival Paradise Rescue
Carnival Paradise Rescue (Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line)

Every was able to be brought aboard Carnival Paradise without difficulty, and each refugee was provided with food, water, and medical care as needed. The US Coast Guard Sector Key West was notified, as were Roatan officials. The refugees will be turned over to authorities as soon as possible, as is standard procedure with these incidents.

No Delay to Current Itinerary

Because Carnival Paradise was on a scheduled day at sea, the time spent with the rescue operation will not significantly impact the ship’s itinerary. Cruise ships typically travel more slowly on sea days (when operationally possible) to make outside deck conditions more enjoyable for guests.

Read Also: Carnival Paradise Cruise Ship – Overview and What to Do

This means that the ship will be able to increase speed later in the day or over the nighttime hours to compensate for the short loss of time for the rescue intervention, and ought to arrive in Roatan as planned.

Carnival Paradise Cruise Ship
Carnival Paradise Cruise Ship

Carnival Paradise left her homeport of Tampa, Florida on Saturday, April 20, for the 5-night Western Caribbean sailing. After visiting Roatan on Monday, the ship is scheduled to visit Cozumel, Mexico on Tuesday before another day at sea. The cruise will end in Tampa on Thursday, April 25.

At this time, there are no expected changes or delays to the ship’s itinerary or overall schedule.

Not the First Rescue for One of Carnival’s Oldest Ships

The 70,367-gross-ton, Fantasy-class Carnival Paradise is one of the oldest and smallest ships in the fleet, but she proudly does her duty to preserve life at sea whenever the need arises.

In just the past few years, Carnival Paradise has been instrumental in three separate rescues. In May 2019, the ship rescued a sailor when his boat was taking on water 13 miles north of Cozumel. One of the cruise ship’s lifeboats was launched to immediately rescue the man.

In the summer of 2022, the ship made two separate refugee rescues in less than a month. The first was at the end of July, with at least 20 individuals rescued from an overcrowded rowboat. The second rescue was on August 19, and involved a makeshift raft with six refugees aboard.

Both of those incidents were also near Cuba during days at sea, just as this most recent rescue.

Carnival Paradise is homeported from Tampa year-round, offering 4-, 5-, and 6-night Western Caribbean and Bahamas sailings. Depending on departure date and cruise length, the ship visits ports of call such as Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, Nassau, and Bimini.

In August 2025, the ship will add the new Celebration Key to select itineraries once the private Bahamas destination, now under construction on Grand Bahama Island, opens for visitors.

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