Cruise Line Forces Passenger with Dementia Off Ship, Claims Safety Issues

December 9, 2013
Celebrity Millennium (11:29 a.m. EST) -- Celebrity Cruises forcibly disembarked an elderly couple off of Celebrity Millennium last month after the ship's doctor became concerned about the woman having a problem with dementia.

"On November 27, 2013, while the ships was docked in Cairns (Yorkey's Knob), Australia, a housekeeper came across Mrs. Arnold in her stateroom, alone and disoriented," Cynthia Martinez, director of global corporate communications for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., told Cruise Critic. RCCL is the parent company of Celebrity Cruises. The line tried to contact the woman's husband, but he was participating in a shore excursion at the time and could not be reached.

"Regrettably, since we were concerned for Mrs. Arnold's safety and wellbeing while onboard the ship, we felt it was necessary to disembark her."

According to the Cairns Post, when Mr. Arnold returned from his excursion he was not allowed back on the ship and his wife was disembarked.

Martinez said a member of Celebrity's CareTeam arranged transportation from the ship to the local hospital for the couple. The line is refunding the couple for the remainder of the cruise, as well as for a second cruise the couple had booked.

Martinez said Celebrity has no written policy concerning passengers with dementia, but emphasized that passengers must be able to care for themselves.

"Shipboard medical facilities are available to both guests and crew in the event medical treatment becomes necessary while they are onboard. Every year, thousands of guests with medical conditions sail onboard Celebrity Cruises ships. However, for their own safety and the safety of others, these guests must be able to care for themselves."

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor