Click here to edit title

News | Blog

Former RCCL Song of Norway to be scrapped

Posted by RCI fans on November 19, 2013 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Royal Caribbean's first cruise ship, the Song of Norway is to be sold as scrap, according to Maritime Matters.

Image: Brian Fisher

The founding vessel, was built in 1970 and was a popular ship within the cruise industry. She was the pioneer of modern era cruising.

The vessel originally had a gross tonnage of 18,000 tons, and could carry 724 passengers. Following a mammoth refit in 1978, she was lengthened by 85 feet, to provide capacity for 1,024 passengers. This increased her size to 23,000 gross tons.

Song of Norway operated seven and fourteen-day cruises out of Miami, Florida.

The Song of Norway was retired from the Royal Caribbean fleet in 1996 and has since been in the hands of many different cruise lines, each giving her a different name. She currently is called Ocean Pearl and has been berthed in China since 2011.

She will be sent to the breakers yard in 2014 and will become the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship ever to be scrapped. 

Couple die on shore excursion in Mexico

Posted by RCI fans on November 19, 2012 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

The Orlando Sentinel reports that a Central Florida couple was killed this weekend during a third-party shore excursion in Cozumel.


Friends identified the couple as 39-year-old Jim Melillo and his girlfriend, 41-year-old Susan Borges. The two were aboard the Liberty of the Seas on a four-night sailing from Port Everglades that included a stop in Cozumel, Mexico.


The couple died around 1:30 pm on Saturday 17th November while participating in a non-cruise sponsored sand buggy shore excursion, according to a statement from Royal Caribbean.


The driver of the sand buggy apparently lost control of the vehicle and hit a metal bar. Melillo and Borges died on impact.


Ferreira was initially held at a jail in Mexico, but has since been released and returned to Florida. He was not charged with a crime, said Nicole Rego, a friend of the couple who is acting as family spokesperson.

Royal Caribbean issued a statement about the incident, "We extend our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the 43-year-old male guest and 31-year-old female guest from the United States who died on November 17, 2012. ... Our care team is providing support and assistance to guests, family and friends. Our thoughts are with their family and friends, and we will continue to do our very best to assist them."


Australia's PR manager Allison Brennan dies

Posted by RCI fans on October 22, 2012 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

e-Travel Blackboard report that Allison Brennan, Royal Caribbean Australia's public relations manager for Australia and New Zealand, has passed away.


The announcement that Allison Brennan had passed away late last week has saddened Australia and the travel industry.

According to the D'Arcy Partnership's Michelle Tan, Ms Brennan passed on Friday due to natural causes.

“As anyone who’s met Allison knows, it’s hard not to be moved by her positivity and joie de vivre,” Ms Tan said. “Hence why even though she had only been with the company for a few months, we are all saddened by the news and she will be deeply missed.”

Ms Brennan, who heavily promoted Voyager of the Seas and the many features to Australian consumers over her short, but impressive career at Royal Caribbean never got to see the largest vessel sail into Australian waters which is due to arrive on November 2nd.

Royal Caribbean passenger dies during Kayaking Excursion

Posted by RCI fans on July 17, 2012 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

A Royal Caribbean passenger traveling aboard Rhapsody of the Seas died while kayaking on Mendenhall Lake in Juneau, Alaska.


Michael Ray Fullerton, a 62-year-old man from Texas died late Sunday afternoon when his kayak overturned. He was part of a group of kayakers who rented kayaks to tour the lake, which at the foot of Mendenhall Glacier.


Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole said Fullerton apparently became fatigued and was unable to paddle.


“The group tied their kayaks together and it’s still unclear to us at this point how the kayaks overturned,” Cole said.


Others in the group also overturned, although they survived and were treated for hypothermia.


The equipment for the excursion was provided by Alaska Boat and Kayak in Auke Bay. The group was not part of a guided trip but they were given a safety briefing before they loaded their kayaks and gear.


“They get questioned about how much paddle experience they’ve had, and then they get a thorough safety briefing that talks about self-rescue, using the bilge pump, paddle float, wearing the PFD and spray skirt, and how to work together and paddle as a group,” owner Sean Janes said.


Forest Service Supervisor Cole said the agency continues to investigate the accident.

Family of man overboard on Allure, speak out about their experience with Royal Caribbean

Posted by RCI fans on February 29, 2012 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

One of our members, Michael Hynes, feels strongly about how Royal Caribbean International and Atlantis Events has handled Kenneth Gemmell's death onboard Allure of the Seas on 3rd February 2012. Particularly, how they are assiting the family. (Read the original story HERE).

Michael Hynes is a family friend of the Gemmell family and is disgraced by how the two companies have dealt with the death and most importantly, the family.

Kenneth Gemmell, 30, was said to have deliberately plunged 100ft from his balcony stateroom on the 11th-deck, when, Allure of the Seas, was close to the port of Cozumel, Mexico. Allure was chartered by Atlantis Events, a firm specialising in gay and lesbian holidays and the vast majority of those on board the vessel, were gay men. Michael is now trying to get Royal Caribbean and Atlantis Events to 'come clean' and assist the family of Kenneth.

Kenneth Gemmell booked the holiday with Atlantis Events who chartered Allure of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International for a Caribbean cruise starting in Fort Lauderdale on 30th January 2012. Kenneth was travelling solo and went on the trip to celebrate his 30th birthday on 1st Feb.

Michael states that he has come across many people who met Kenneth on the trip who said that he was enjoying the trip and was considering booking another cruise next year. Kenneth is reported as having fallen overboard at approx 7.15 am on the friday morning. Irish Garda (Police) notified the family of the tragedy on the saturday morning at 5am. Joseph Duenaz who said he was a medic on the ship contacted the family twice about the incident. Paul Roule, a police superintendant who is handling the investigation has been in contact also with the family, twice. He says that they have CCTV footage of Kenneth jumping from the ship at the starboard side Royal Caribbean said it was unaware of any altercation and insists that the CCTV footage shows mr Gemmell stepping 'on top of the balcony table in order to jump over the balcony railing.'

RCI also say they have footage of him before it happened. The footage shows Kenneth having some sort of disagreement with a bar tender on the ship.

We have been told by the Police that this bar tender got off the ship at Cozumel and did not reboard. The family have been given some photo shots of the alleged jumping, but they are not clear images.

When we contacted Royal Caribbean about contact details for the bar tender they replied and said he was not employed by them and was infact employed by Atlantis Events. However, Atlantis Events are denying that they employed the bar staff. We have had two confirmed emails that the bar staff are employed by Royal Caribbean.

Kenneth was given a cabin with another male for the trip. The family have asked Royal Caribbean for this man's contacts as well, but Royal Caribbean have denied to do this for them. Royal Caribbean stated in several press statements that they are assisting the family. Michael believes this is totally untrue. "Royal Caribbean are just doing a big cover up and want to wash themselves of it. Every overboard that has occurred in the past, Royal Caribbean say it's suicide and sometimes that the people have taken drugs". Michael then goes on to state that the family want all the clear video footage, the contact details of the bar tender, the video footage of the altercation of words, the name and contact details of his room partner who would be able to assist them on the times he shared with Kenneth. The family want the return of all his property, clothes, camera and all other property taken from his cabin and at the starboard side.

Kenneth Gemmell was employed as an air steward with Emirates airlines in Dubai for the past six years. His mother and sisters last met Kenneth when he arrived in Dublin on a stop over. He had come with christmas presents for all his family. His family says that "he was a loving and caring young man who loved life and travel".

International Cruise Victims ( has been in contact with the family. They are an organization who help suffering families, rom maritime disasters. They are also trying to make cruise companies more accountable. The family have also had support from Rebecca Coriam’s family in the UK who went missing from another cruise ship in Cozumel, 11 months ago.

Royal Caribbean Fans understands that this is a very difficult situation for his family and friends. Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with them. This is a touching story and the family would be very greatful for your support too.

Anyone who has information on this tragedy is asked to email Michael at The family say they just want to know what happened to their son.

Police investigating suicide on Allure of the Seas

Posted by RCI fans on February 7, 2012 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Bahamas police are investigating an apparent suicide of a British man on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas that occurred last Friday. This investigation is related to the incident that was first reported about a man who fell off the ship.

The Police report that at 7:10am while aboard Allure of the Seas, the man committed suicide while the ship was off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico.

American Federal agents are assisting the police in the Bahamas, including Superintendent Paul Rolle, Head of the Central Detective Unit, along with officers from the Broward County Sheriff's Office and Customs and Border Protection.

"We do not have much information we can share with the public at this point. All we know is a British man is dead and it may or may not have been suicide. We are still conducting our on scene investigations and interviewing eyewitness. We are being assisted by other law enforcement agencies and expect to wrap up our investigations shortly. At that time, I will provide an update," he said.

Royal Caribbean also issued a statement that said the 30-year-old fell from the balcony of his stateroom on Deck 11. The statement also said, "The ship made multiple public announcements and began a complete search of the ship, in efforts to locate the guest. When the guest did not respond to the pages and was not found onboard, the captain alerted the local authorities of the situation."

Passenger falls overboard on Allure of the Seas

Posted by RCI fans on February 3, 2012 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

A British passenger sailing onboard Allure of the Seas is missing after apparently going overboard.

The passenger fell over the railing from his stateroom as the ship was sailing to Cozumel, Mexico, according to a fellow passenger. CCTV footage on board the ship confirmed the story of the passenger falling off the 11th deck balcony.

According to Royal Caribbean International, multiple public announcements were made and a complete search of the ship did not locate the guest. The Allure of the Seas left Sunday on a seven-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale.

The Mexican Navy and Coast Guard, the Allure of the Seas, and a pilot boat are assisting in the search for the passenger. Royal Caribbean said, 'Our Care Team is providing support to the guest's family and our thoughts and prayers are with them'.

FBI investigating death on Liberty of the Seas

Posted by RCI fans on January 30, 2012 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

A 47-year old woman died on board Liberty of the Seas after she missed a step and fell down a flight of stairs.

The incident happened on Monday night. The FBI is now investigating the incident.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman Wright said their department's crime scene techs were sent to Port Everglades to investigate the death of the woman on the ship. However, since she died in international waters, Coleman Wright said the investigation will actually be in the jurisdiction of federal authorities.

Despite the investigation, Coleman Wright confirmed that they do not suspect foul play.

Royal Caribbean Suspend Parasailing Excursions

Posted by RCI fans on November 21, 2011 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Carnival Cruise Lines is the latest of three lines to cancel parasailing trips in St. Thomas, following an accident that killed one passenger and left another critically injured.

Celebrity Cruises has canceled all parasailing trips in the Caribbean indefinitely.

Royal Caribbean have also stopped offering parasailing excurisons in the Caribbean, pending the outcome of the matter.

A 60-year-old passenger sailing on Celebrity Eclipse, who the Virgin Island Daily News identified as Bernice Kraftcheck, 60, died as a result of her fall. Her daughter, Danielle Haese, 34, who was riding in tandem, is still being treated at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Celebrity Cruises spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez confirmed that the mother and daughter were participating in a ship-sponsored shore excursion.

According to the Daily News, "squalls and wind gusts in St. Thomas on Tuesday afternoon may have factored into the death." Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad told the outlet that the women hit the water at the same time.

The U.S. Virgin Islands' Web site says that the accident happened just before 5 p.m.

At least six government agencies have convened to investigate the matter, and these agencies have also been working in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard at the Federal level, said the USVI's Department of Tourism in a statement. The parasail company has voluntarily suspended operations until the completion of the full-compliance inspection.

NCL have not yet commented on the matter, but it is suspected that they will also follow swiftly with the other cruise lines.