Missing Passengers Plague Royal Caribbean

December 12, 2005

Royal Caribbean, which is still dealing with the tragic disappearance of a man honeymooning on Brilliance of the Seas this summer, is facing another missing passenger situation. In this case, a 59-year-old Canadian woman who was traveling with her husband on Jewel of the Seas was reported missing on Saturday morning as the ship sailed into Nassau.

According to media reports, the crew embarked on a full-ship search and it was determined she had not left the ship in Nassau; a Coast Guard spokeswoman is quoted as saying it was believed she may have fallen overboard. In a statement, Royal Caribbean noted that the woman was last seen by her husband at 9 a.m. on Saturday (the ship didn't dock at Nassau until 11:30 a.m.) and he reported her missing at about 1 p.m. As Jewel of the Seas departed later that day, it retraced its course into the port, an effort also assisted by two other ships in the area.

The ship returned to Port Everglades on Sunday as planned and passengers were interviewed.

In the case of the disappearance of George Smith IV, the newlywed who vanished July 5 while sailing on Brilliance of the Seas between Greece and Turkey, there has been one development. The family now plans to file a civil lawsuit against Royal Caribbean. No body has ever been found -- and nobody has been charged with a crime.

Royal Caribbean issued a statement last week that said, among other things, "we do not know what happened to George Smith -- only that he tragically disappeared from a cruise -- but we will continue to cooperate fully with the F.B.I. in the hope that the agency will be able to provide solid answers and some measure of closure for the Smith family."