Passenger Jumps off World’s Largest Cruise Ship

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A male passenger from Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas is in critical condition after jumping overboard only one day into his 7-night Western Caribbean sailing, which embarked on May 25, 2024.

The incident, which occurred on the morning of Sunday, May 26, 2024, unfolded while the world’s largest cruise ship was en route to Roatan, Honduras, from its homeport of Miami, Florida. At the time, the ship was approximately 300 miles from PortMiami and about 30-40 miles north of Santa Lucia, Cuba.

Royal Caribbean stated to Cruise Hive:The ship’s crew immediately notified the U.S. Coast Guard and launched a search and rescue operation. Our Care Team is actively providing support and assistance to the guest’s loved ones during this difficult time. For the privacy of the guest and their family, we have no additional details to share.

Passenger Overboard Icon of the Seas, World's Largest Cruise Ship
Passenger Overboard Icon of the Seas, World’s Largest Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: @GenAIChad & @davidcanter)

The emergency was immediately noticed, and members of the 2,350-person crew sprang into action to stop the ship and begin a search and rescue mission. According to cruise tracking data, the ship halted her course for approximately two hours and stayed put until the man was brought back onboard.

Guests currently onboard the 7,600-passenger ship confirmed the situation by posting videos of two small rescue boats launched from the vessel. Sadly, since being rescued from the water, the man has passed away after initially being in a critical condition.

At this time, it’s unclear what prompted the man to jump. His identity has been kept confidential to protect the privacy of the passenger and his loved ones.

With the rescue mission ending in success after only a couple hours, Icon of the Seas Western Caribbean itinerary is thus far unaffected by the delay. The new, Icon-class ship should be able to make up time at sea to arrive in Roatan, Honduras, on time on the morning of Monday, May 27.

Before the 248,663-gross ton vessel returns to Miami on June 1, she will also call on Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico; and Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas, which is the cruise line’s private island destination. 

Since her maiden voyage on January 27, 2024, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship has been alternating between 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, which she is scheduled to continue operating as far out as April of 2026.

Recent Overboard Situations from Royal Caribbean Ships

This isn’t the first time in recent months that a Royal Caribbean ship has handled a man-overboard emergency. Unfortunately, the majority of these situations have a low chance of successful rescues, which can be made lower by injuries the person may have sustained in the fall, weather conditions, water temperature, and strong currents. 

It’s safe to say the Icon of the Seas guest is lucky to be alive, but crew members onboard Symphony of Seas did also successfully rescue a person who went overboard off the west coast of Spain on October 29, 2023. It’s unclear if this person was a guest or member of the 2,200-man crew.

But unfortunately, other recent incidents have ended in tragedy. Most recently, a 20-year-old man fell overboard from Liberty of the Seas on April 4, 2024, during a 4-night Eastern Caribbean cruise to and from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Icon of the Seas Cruise Ship
Icon of the Seas Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Ceri Breeze)

Despite quick action taken by the Freedom-class ship and the US Coast Guard, the rescue mission ended unsuccessfully after six days of searching with no sign of the missing guest. 

Over the 2023 holidays, a 41-year-old male passenger fell overboard about 127 miles east of Charleston, South Carolina, from Vision of the Seas on the night before Christmas Eve, December 23, 2023. The ship’s crew immediately initiated emergency protocols and contacted the US Coast Guard for assistance – but once again, the man was unfortunately not found. 

Looking even further back, Wonder of the Seas – which is now the second largest cruise ship in the world after the arrival of Icon of the Seas – experienced a man-overboard incident last summer. 

Read Also: Icon of the Seas vs Wonder of the Seas: A Giant Comparison

The passenger went into the water on August 29, 2023, while the 7,084-guest vessel was sailing just south of Cuba on a modified Western Caribbean itinerary to avoid a hurricane. 

Few details were ever released about this crisis. But it is known that for approximately three hours, the massive cruise ship retraced its path, using spotlights, small crafts, and watchers to try to locate the missing person. 

The situation was further complicated when a passenger onboard experienced a medical emergency, and the decision was made to stop the search in order to get the necessary treatment for the ailing guest. The person who went overboard was never found. 

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