Bahamas Press posted this video on YouTube on April 1st. It was not an April Fool's joke. Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas was undergoing planned repairs in Freeport, Bahamas shipyard when a crane toppled onto the ship damaging it and the facility. Fortunately, there were no fatalities or life-threatening injuries. Royal Caribbean has since inspected the ship and cancelled the next 3 sailings.
Oasis will head from Grand Bahama shipyard to be serviced at facilities in Cadiz, Spain. Oasis will resume her scheduled itineraries, beginning with the May 5 sailing from Barcelona.
"We are very grateful that there were no life-threatening injuries and everyone is recovering, as the safety of our crew and guests is always our number one priority." ~Royal Caribbean statement
What the News Media Isn't Telling You
The news media tends to focus on the negative aspects of cruise industry incidents. In fact, some outlets even tied this event to norovirus outbreaks that had occurred earlier. Shame on them for bringing that up at a time when they should have been reporting on the injured parties and impact on the shipyard, the Bahamas economy, impacted families, and the cruise line. For the record, norovirus isn't unique to cruise ships, but those are usually the stories that get told. Here is one of our old blog posts on the topic.
This shipyard accident couldn't have come at a worse time. This is Spring break time with families longing to get away, especially those who have had it with winter weather. The Oasis is one of the largest ships afloat (along with her sister ships), so that means the most passengers possible were impacted by the cancellations.
Responding to the incident as quickly as they did was no small feat. If you've ever had a car accident, you can put yourself in Royal Caribbean's shoes at a much smaller scale. Your family members were probably relying on the vehicle to get to appointments; perhaps a vacation. You need to find other means of transportation and perhaps cancel some planned activities. Now consider that involving more than 5,000 people on just this one cruise alone.
When you have the largest ship afloat, you can't just pull into a shipyard down the way. So they had to find a shipyard that had availability to handle a ship that size. Passengers need to be re-accommodated (recall this is Spring break and ships are already at full capacity). You can't just get a ship out of the garage and put it into service (like you would with your car).
Royal Caribbean put together a compensation package for impacted cruise passengers and travel professionals, and communicated that shortly after examining the ship to determine the extent of damage. We won't reveal the complete details, but it included refunds for the existing cruise and future cruise credits as well as assistance for flight change fees. It was a most generous package.
We'd like to commend Royal Caribbean for the way they've responded to this incident and cared for their impacted passengers and travel professionals. We are proud to call them a partner.
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