A guest aboard a recent sailing on Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas has been arrested for several charges after installing a hidden camera in one of the ship’s public restrooms.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the incident, and seeking possible victim information for the case.
Hidden Camera Discovered on Harmony of the Seas
During the April 29, 2023 cruise of Harmony of the Seas, Jeremy Froias installed a hidden camera in a public bathroom onboard.
Video footage recovered from the camera’s micro SD card showed Froias setting up and adjusting the camera so as to view the toilet area, as well as connecting the camera to his iPhone via Wi-Fi.
The camera was placed in a unisex restroom aft on Deck 16, between one of the FlowRider surfing simulators and the Wipe Out Bar. The restroom is a popular place for guests to change in or out of swimwear.
Froias installed the camera on April 30, the second day of the 7-night cruise while sailing in international waters. It was discovered on the evening of May 1 by another passenger, who reported it to the ship’s crew.
After inspecting the area, crew members removed the camera, reviewed its footage, and subsequently interviewed Froias, who admitted to installing the camera and knowing it had been discovered when he went back to check on it and could no longer find it himself.
In total, more than 150 people are estimated to have been captured on the video, either using the restroom or changing into or out of swimsuits. Of those people, approximately 40 are believed to be minors.
Froias has been charged with video voyeurism and attempted possession of child exploitation material. Charges were filed on May 3, 2023, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was previously employed as a cybersecurity officer with the City of Kissimmee, Florida since 2004, but his employment has now been terminated.
Harmony of the Seas continued on its cruise uninterrupted, calling on St Maarten, San Juan, and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in The Bahamas, before returning to Miami as planned on Saturday, May 6. No delays were reported, and the next sailing was not impacted.
Victim Input Sought
The FBI is legally mandated to identify victims of crimes it investigates, and those individuals may be eligible for services or restitution under state or federal law. Participation is completely voluntary, but may be useful in the course of the investigation.
Anyone aboard the impacted Harmony of the Seas sailing who believes they may have been recorded can fill out an information form online, or parents or guardians can fill out the form for their minor dependents.
The form includes contact information and a simple declaration of contact with Froias. If necessary, FBI representatives may reach out for further details.
Above the form, the FBI says, “The FBI believes he primarily targeted cruise ship passengers between the timeframe of April 30 and May 1, 2023, who may have used the public bathroom on the aft of the Harmony’s top deck between the “Flow Rider” surfing simulator and a bar. Passengers using this bathroom may have been video recorded by Froias.”
Incidents with hidden cameras onboard cruise ships are extraordinarily rare, but can happen. In 2017, a family discovered a hidden camera in their stateroom onboard Carnival Fantasy.
Are Small Cameras Prohibited?
To safeguard one’s privacy, it is always best to be alert to the surroundings, and to carefully inspect personal areas, such as a stateroom, before using them. Returning to the stateroom to use the bathroom would be more private than using public restrooms.
It should be noted that miniature cameras are not on Royal Caribbean International’s prohibited items list, though electrical extension cords are. Depending on how such a camera might be operated, it could be considered in violation of that policy.
Such cameras are also not directly prohibited aboard Carnival cruise ships, but Carnival Cruise Line does not permit “internet-related equipment” and it is possible these types of cameras could qualify under that description.
With the rise of personal videos taken on smartphones as well as internet influencers and YouTubers, it would be challenging for any cruise line to completely prohibit small cameras, but perhaps certain types of filming devices will be reviewed and added to prohibited items lists in the future.