Empress Of The Seas cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a passenger vessel with IMO number 8716899, owned by Royal Caribbean. Among the unfortunate events at sea are fires, Norovirus illness outbreaks, crew and passenger incidents (deaths, injuries, crimes), drug smuggling, machinery malfunctions.
Here you can also track MS Empress Of The Seas position at sea.using the AIS live ships tracker of VesselFinder. The 48,560-ton 1900-passenger Royal Caribbean cruise ship Empress was built in 1990 (as “Nordic Empress”) by the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipbuilding company in France.
Empress Of The Seas accidents & incidents
At the Empress Of The Seas CruiseMinus page you will find a complete list of this Royal Caribbean ship’s major accidents and cruise incidents. including the period 2008-2016 (when operating as “Pullmantur Empress”). Reports are made by our own staff using official data from major online news media sources, Wikipedia and USCG (Coast Guard) reports.
Here we also post updates on Royal Caribbean Empress Of The Seas cruise law news. They are related to recent crimes being investigated. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits, charges and fines, grievances, settled /withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, etc.
You can add more details or submit your own Empress Of The Seas ship incidents (negative cruise experience reports) via the Cruise Minus “contact us” form.
This is link to the ship’s official site RoyalCaribbean.com.
History, technical incidents
- During its service history, the Empress cruise ship (construction order name “Future Seas”) was operating under the names Nordic Empress (1990-2004, constructed for the Admiral Cruise Lines /defunct), MS Empress (aka “Pullmantur Empress”, 2004-2008, operated by the RCCL’s subsidiary company Pullmantur Cruises, Spain) and under its current name “Empress of the Seas” (between 2004-2008, and from 2016 onwards).
- In 1987, the Royal Caribbean company merged with the future ship’s owner Admiral Cruises, so the Admiral brand was dissolved. The still under construction vessel was incorporated into the RCI fleet and named “Nordic Empress” – the last RCI ship with a name without the suffix “of the Seas”. The vessel’s name was changed to the current “Empress of the Seas” on May 8, 2004, following an extensive refit and refurbishment.
- In March 2007 was announced that starting March 2008, the ship will be transferred to Pullmantur. The Empress’ final Royal Caribbean cruise was on March 7, 2008. Her inaugural cruise as Pullmantur Empress was on March 15, 2008.
- November 2012, the vessel was the first in the Pullmantur’s fleet to receive the line’s new logo and hull colors.
- October 2015, the shipowner announced that Pullmantur Empress, after a dry dock refurbishment in March-April 2016 will be transferred back to the RCI fleet.
- September 12, 2005, while en-route to Key West Florida, the ship experienced propulsion problems resulting in reduced cruising speed and a major itinerary change. In Key West were made some temporary repairs. Due to the accident, the itinerary was changed from a Mexico to a Bahamas cruise, calling at Nassau where more repairs were made. As compensation, all passengers received USD 150 in shipboard credit.
- April 29-30, 2006, during a round-trip Bermuda cruise from Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), for almost 1 1/2 days the ship encountered extreme weather conditions in the Atlantic Ocean. The vessel had to operate at reduced cruising speed to maintain tolerable levels of listing caused by 30-ft / 9 m waves and strong winds (over 50 mph / 80 kph). The storm ended early morning on May 1. Among the damages suffered on board were broken TVs, furniture, dishes and glassware. Most of the passengers remained in their cabins suffering by seasickness. The incident also resulted in an itinerary change. The scheduled arrival in Bermuda was delayed by a day. Call port St George was replaced with Hamilton, and the port stay was two (instead of 3) days. The next embarkation in Philadelphia was delayed by ~4 hours.
- April 2016, due to prolonged drydock refurbishment works, the ship’s inaugural cruise plus 7 more scheduled sailings were cancelled. The list of affected itineraries includes the ship’s Miami to Caribbean departures on March 30 and April 4, 7, 11, 16, 21, 25 and 29. The cancelled itineraries were 3-, to 5-days. All booked passengers were allowed to switch to a same cabin type booking on the RCI’s Majesty of the Seas ship (itineraries through April 29, 2016) at no additional cost. Passengers re-booking on the Empress cruise ship received $100 in onboard credit. Cancelled bookings were fully refunded. Passengers with booked through RCI flights were rebooked on new flights without extra charge. RCI also covered the flight change fees of all privately booked fly cruise passengers.
- June 26, 2016, engine problems caused the ship to alter the 5-day Western Caribbean cruise from Miami (itinerary June 25-30, to Grand Cayman and Key West). The incident related to one of the vessel’s 4 engines, and resulted in reduced speed, skipping call port George Town (Grand Cayman) and calling on two ports in Bahamas instead (Nassau June 26, and CocoCay June 27). As compensation, passengers received 10% of the cruise fare paid per cabin in onboard credit.
- June 15, 2001, the vessel (as Nordic Empress, carrying 1566 passengers and 650 crew) suffered an engine room fire accident. No injuries were reported. The incident occurred ~10:30 pm, when the ship was ~140 ml / 225 km northeast of Bermuda and en-route to NYC on a 7-days round-trip cruise from New York. The shipowner reported officially that the fire was safely extinguished by the ship’s fire-fighting system (Flexi-fog water sprinklers). However, the USCG report revealed a 3 hour firefight and drifting for ~7 hours. The ship called for assistance the USCG. Tugboats were sent out, but the vessel sailed back to port on its own power, using its starboard engine. All main onboard systems (lighting, air conditioning, water/toilets) remained fully functional.
- Due to the engine room damages (affecting main engine Number 3 /portside), the vessel reversed its course and returned back to Bermuda, arriving in King’s Wharf on June 16. According to the incident report, the fire was caused by a ruptured fuel line between the 3rd and 4th main diesel engines.
- While the ship was docked in Bermuda for repairs, all passengers were disembarked and flown back to NYC via charter flights and regular air service – at the shipowner’s expense. A total of 35 passengers remained on the ship (throughout June 16th) having been booked on other cruise ships to transfer them back to the US. As compensation, all passengers received a free Royal Caribbean cruise certificate (7-day itinerary). The next voyage (scheduled for June 17) was canceled. All booked passengers received a free RCI cruise certificate (7-day itinerary) plus a full refund. The June 24 sailing departed as scheduled.
- Here you can read the official 2001 fire accident report (with photos of the damages).
Crew & Passenger Death accidents
- Fortunately, there are no such tragic incidents officially reported so far.
Crew & Passenger incidents (injuries, crimes)
- September 8, 2004, 7 of the crew were seriously injured in a lifeboat incident. It occurred while the ship was docked in King’s Wharf Bermuda. During a lifeboat drill (crew training exercise), one of the 8 life-boats plunged some 60 ft / 18 m into the water. One of the victims sustained spinal injuries and was airlifted for treatment. Another man suffered a near drowning and was in intensive care.
- December 5, 2007, while the ship was docked in St Kitts (Port Zante), during a routine K9 patrol a passenger was arrested for possession of cocaine.
- December 6, 2012 (as Pullmantur Empress) a Brazilian news media reported a 23 year-old male passenger sustained a serious head trauma and was hospitalized after falling from its cabin’s balcony. The man (Gabriel Moura Campos, of Brazilian origin) fell while trying to take a picture. He slipped and fell from Deck 10 to Deck 8. The incident occurred at !2 pm while the ship was docked in call port Itajai (Santa Catarina, Brazil). The man was ambulanced immediately to the Hospital Maternidade Marieta Konder Bornhausen for treatment.
Drug smuggling incident
- April 10, 2014 (as Pullmantur Empress) while the ship was docked in Santos Brazil, during a routine inspection Federal Police officers arrested a male crew and charged him with drug trafficking. The man (of Honduran origin) was trying to smuggle to Europe almost 100 pounds (over 45 kilos) of cocaine. The drug was packed in 333 casings in 4 bags, which were hidden in coffee pouches.
Norovirus cruise illness outbreaks
- January 2005, CDC reported on voyage Jan 17 to 28, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 72 passengers (out of 1544, or 4,6%) and 5 crew (out of 685, or 0,7%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) and were quarantined to their cabins. The ship was on a 11-days round-trip Caribbean cruise itinerary from homeport San Juan Puerto Rico.
- May 2006, one of the crew (working on the ship as a bartender) was diagnosed with typhoid fever (Salmonella infection) – a life-threatening disease. The man (of Indian origin) joined the ship on April 29, 2006. He was taken off duty on May 11.
- February 2007, the ship reported a Noro virus outbreak affecting 48 passengers (3,1% of all) and 10 crew (1,5% of all) during a 12-days Caribbean cruise roundtrip from homeport San Juan Puerto Rico.
- December 2007, during a 12-days Caribbean cruise from Puerto Rico, a Noro virus illness outbreak affected over 140 people (no CDC report). All sick were quarantined to their cabins for 48 hours.
- Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.
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