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Ovation of the Seas Pax Possibly Injured in Volcanic Eruption

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I see several sides to this one. One side is the people signed a waiver. Another is that the tour operator apparently ignored warning$ about an uptick in activity by the volcano. Another is that personal responsibility falls by the wayside when there is an opportunity to sue - it must be somebody's fault and not mine.

 

Engage in risky behavior and what outcome can reasonably be expected.  You hope it will all turn out ok, but it's still risky.

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49 minutes ago, squick64 said:

 

 

 

There are an entire cruises (from various lines) that just go around Hawaii and nothing else. Hawaii is a mass of active volcanoes (just not the pyroclastic kind). As you note, ruling out volcanic activity rules out a lot of islands...heck, the entire Pacific Rim is one big mess of earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes. You can quickly start to run out of places to go. Or at least excursions to offer. There are risks just about everywhere.

 

Having said which, I understand their position and their concern. It's not an easy situation.

 

I am a Hawai’i native, born and raised, now living in NYC. 

 

I want to make sure people understand things correctly.

 

Only the Big Island (the *island of Hawai’i*) has volcanic activity. All other islands, the volcanoes are extinct, with the exception of Haleakalā on Maui which is technically considered dormant. Also, Volcanoes in Hawai’i are very different from those in the Pacific Northwest, or in Japan or elsewhere in the Pacific. They are not “explosive” in the same way, and they gently (relatively speaking) ooze lava during an eruption. Just want to make all that clear.

 

Anyway, visit Hawai’i (including the Big Island), don’t worry, and just don’t piss Pele off when you’re visiting the Big Island. It’s her land, she can do what she wants. Respect her and stay out of her way. Enjoy.

 

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3 hours ago, Pushka said:

We will be visiting Santorini next year, twice, and on an overnight excursion. Not concerned. If there are any signs then these will now be monitored. 
 

At this very time we have heard that there is currently a rescue attempt to retrieve the 8 bodies still left on the Island posing considerable risk to the rescue personnel. They know where 6 are located but will need to find the other two. The risks are significant even if the volcano doesn’t get active at this time as there are poisonous gases. Very brave souls. They have just landed on the island. 

 

Thank you for this update.  And to add, we are also visiting Santorini next year and also not concerned.

 

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On 12/11/2019 at 5:10 PM, Sunshine3601 said:

This tragedy has me wondering if other active volcanoes such as the one in St. Lucia and Hawaii should cancel their excursions.

The tourists and their families are in my thoughts and prayers.    I am a past burn victim and know how painful it is.   The survivors will have a long road of recovery.

 

Hawai’i excursions don’t need to be canceled. Hawai’i volcanoes are quite different. Also, all of Hawai’i’s volcanoes are in U.S. National Parks, are monitored by the U.S. Geological survey, and the National Park Service, and in general, the people of Hawai’i have great respect for the land and the volcanoes. While I never would have taken an excursion to White Island, I wouldn’t hesitate to visit Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, or Haleakalā National Park on Maui (and she is not active). Again, I am a Hawai’i native, born and raised, now living in NYC. Locals in Hawai’i respect, but do not fear, these mountains.

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I wonder what criteria they will use to determine volcanoes they consider active?  I have visited Kilauea, Haleakala, and most recently, Mt. Vesuvius.  All would be considered active. 

 

I must admit, that I only associated Mt. Vesuvius with the destruction of Pompeii almost 2,000 years ago.  It was only after this event, that I researched how many volcanic events it has experienced since then.  It is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, because of the number of people living in the area that could be impacted by a major eruption.  A major event would reach Naples in about 5 minutes.

 

This video clip is one I took this summer.

 

 

I have yet to see any excursion, from any of the cruise lines, highlight any significant risks.  Maybe this will prompt us to all look a little deeper into what we do.

 

The survivors of the eruption at White Island will have a long and painful road to recovery.

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1 hour ago, SargassoPirate said:

I see several sides to this one. One side is the people signed a waiver. Another is that the tour operator apparently ignored warning$ about an uptick in activity by the volcano. Another is that personal responsibility falls by the wayside when there is an opportunity to sue - it must be somebody's fault and not mine.

 

Engage in risky behavior and what outcome can reasonably be expected.  You hope it will all turn out ok, but it's still risky.

According to several reports by both local experts and local government, the uptick was not unusual, that in the past tours were run as normal during similar periods and that no one, the geologists monitoring it, expected an eruption.

 

in Hawaii national park you had tourists in the park on the day that you had a large ash eruption at the main crater  and a 6+ earth quake. A guide was getting ready to take his tour group into the lava tube that has been open for tours for years when the earth quake hit. A very large rock fell in the tube during the quake and that attraction is now closed. A 10 minute change in time and his tour group could have ended up under the rock.

 

One just doesn't know when dealing with volcano's.  Take a look at those that are considered to be the most dangerous in the mainland US. East Portland is build on top of previous Lahar flows from Mount Hood, several of the cities south of Seattle are on similar flows from Rainier. Either of both could be silent for thousands of years or could erupt in the next year.  Statistically one is pretty safe and the dangers are ignored.  But sooner or later it will happen.

 

Mt Saint Helen's eruption was one of the best monitored and for that matter predicted.  Yet when it erupted 57 people were killed. 

Edited by npcl

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Just heard on the news that the military is going in to try and recover the 8 missing off of White Island. So sad to hear of the mounting deaths and about those who are fighting for their lives with significant injuries. 

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No...they've recovered 6 bodies today. There are 2 still missing (possibly the guides) that may be in the water. Link to most recent: https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2019/dec/12/new-zealand-volcano-eruption-white-island-nz-police-victim-recovery-retrieval-operation-whakaari-live-news-latest-updates

 

What an awful and sad event for vacationers. 

Edited by Coralc

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1 hour ago, K.S. said:

 

I am a Hawai’i native, born and raised, now living in NYC. 

 

I want to make sure people understand things correctly.

 

Only the Big Island (the *island of Hawai’i*) has volcanic activity. All other islands, the volcanoes are extinct, with the exception of Haleakalā on Maui which is technically considered dormant. Also, Volcanoes in Hawai’i are very different from those in the Pacific Northwest, or in Japan or elsewhere in the Pacific. They are not “explosive” in the same way, and they gently (relatively speaking) ooze lava during an eruption. Just want to make all that clear.

 

Anyway, visit Hawai’i (including the Big Island), don’t worry, and just don’t piss Pele off when you’re visiting the Big Island. It’s her land, she can do what she wants. Respect her and stay out of her way. Enjoy.

 

Usually yes, but Kilauea has its explosive phase. While not on Mt Saint Helen level of explosive, they are enough that one would not want to be in the park when they happen. For example the eruptions in 1924 and 1790 were  explosive.  The current situation with the lava having dropped considerably and the presence of water in the crater may signify the potential for a new explosive event

 

The 1790 explosive eruption is thought to be due to water intrusion from a caldera lake.

 

Evidence for water influx from a caldera lake during the explosive hydromagmatic eruption of 1790, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii

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There have been 6 bodies repatriated today and all believed to be Australian. The last 2 remaining on the island are believed to be NZ’ers. The rescuers will need to return to the Island in a later rescue attempt. 

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25 minutes ago, npcl said:

Usually yes, but Kilauea has its explosive phase. While not on Mt Saint Helen level of explosive, they are enough that one would not want to be in the park when they happen. For example the eruptions in 1924 and 1790 were  explosive.  The current situation with the lava having dropped considerably and the presence of water in the crater may signify the potential for a new explosive event

 

The 1790 explosive eruption is thought to be due to water intrusion from a caldera lake.

 

Evidence for water influx from a caldera lake during the explosive hydromagmatic eruption of 1790, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii

 

The volcanoes in Hawai’i are in no way similar to White Island, and there is no need to cancel any visits there unless the National Park Service says so. If you want to fear Hawai’i’s volcanoes, that’s up to you. I don’t.

Edited by K.S.

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1 hour ago, h20skibum said:

I wonder what criteria they will use to determine volcanoes they consider active?  I have visited Kilauea, Haleakala, and most recently, Mt. Vesuvius.  All would be considered active. 

 

I must admit, that I only associated Mt. Vesuvius with the destruction of Pompeii almost 2,000 years ago.  It was only after this event, that I researched how many volcanic events it has experienced since then.  It is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, because of the number of people living in the area that could be impacted by a major eruption.  A major event would reach Naples in about 5 minutes.

 

This video clip is one I took this summer.

 

 

I have yet to see any excursion, from any of the cruise lines, highlight any significant risks.  Maybe this will prompt us to all look a little deeper into what we do.

 

The survivors of the eruption at White Island will have a long and painful road to recovery.

 

Haleakalā is not active.

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12 hours ago, twangster said:

In the wake of this natural disaster one concept that is emerging is how some people have the expectation that a cruise line is responsible for their safety from the moment they board on day one to the moment they debark on the last day. That bubble of safety it seems is believed to follow them on land.  Right, wrong or the actual legal stance are one thing, expectations are another matter.  

 

I saw on another thread someone wrote that when on a cruise ship they feel like everything is extra safe even on excursions. So it doesn't surprise me that cruises get blamed when things go wrong even when it is clearly out of their control. 

 

When I was on an expedition cruise there was one excursion that was a  difficult hike and on the orientation day they said if you want to sign up for the hike understand that it is very physically demanding, you are in the middle of nowhere with limited medical facilities and there is only so much the cruise could do for you if something went wrong. They really went out of their way to burst our safety bubble. I know people think it sounds like common sense and you should know it is dangerous but when people are in the euphoria of that safety bubble people's common sense tends to get lost in the haze. Maybe there is something to be said of cruises emphasising the danger of the more riskier excursions. 

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On the accountability part of this issue I would like to add my 2 cents. I am currently a passenger on the Ovation of the Seas as we are sitting at anchor outside Picton. I think RC should have some accountability because imo they marketed a thrill ride by saying people would be able to go to one of the most active volcanoes in the world. At times people go to this volcano...at times this volcano is active....it is only a matter of time before the volcano is active while people are on it. My family saw the active volcano part and the environment so dangerous a gas mask is needed part and we decided to skip that excursion while browsing the options that Royal Caribbean were marketing to their guests.

 

I see people talking about signing a waiver and how the 38 or so people knew what they were getting into.

 

Now I get that the 38 or so people who went there signed waivers and knew what they were getting into. People want to talk about how tragic this was for the kids left behind on the ship....did their kids sign a waiver? How about the 4760 other passengers on board the ship....did they sign a waiver?

 

This is a birthday gift for my mom. She turned 60 a couple years ago. It took me over a year to be able to afford this trip. She has never been to New Zealand before. She probably will never see the Taieri Gorge Train or the Sounds now unless one of us experience a financial miracle. 

 

I can not speak in detail for other guests but I am sure my mother is not the only person who is probably lost their only chance to see the Sounds and/or Taieri Gorge Train so that RC can make some money selling the thrill of going to one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

 

To compensate people for missing Dunedin and the Sounds 1/12 of our basic cruise cost was refunded. Many people feel the best thing was removed from the destinations and I personally think the best two things were removed. We all know the base cost is just a portion of the total cost. IMO 1/12 the base cost does not come close to make up for the damage to a once in a lifetime vacation for most people in average financial situations or even a little above average.

 

This has nothing to do with the accountability up until this point but let me add the current response on ship by management on the ship has been offensive with false promises. One manager insulted ~50 passengers by saying they did not care for the people on the volcano because the ~50 passengers were expressing their concerns about the change of destinations. 

 

I am disappointed in the decision by a company taking on the responsibility of 4800 passengers having an enjoyable cruise to take the risk of allowing 38 customers and employees go to a "one of the most active volcanoes in the world". If I was the Captain or the Excursion Management I would have canceled it when the threat level went to 2. Then again I thought it was too risky before I even knew the threat level went up.

 

Overall I loved going on a cruise. Maybe I need to look for a company that will not risk the enjoyment of 4760 people by allowing 38 people to take a risky excursion.

Edited by Robito

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I have no legal background, but there appear to be many differences around the world. I read this in The Guardian under title “White Island volcano victims cannot bring civil lawsuits for negligence”.  It is worth reading the article. 

“New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme, run by the government, covers the cost of all treatment for injuries sustained in New Zealand, including for foreigners. Its coverage, which the injured cannot opt out of, bars them from suing for negligence.”


 

 

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4 minutes ago, Robito said:

On the accountability part of this issue I would like to add my 2 cents. I am currently a passenger on the Ovation of the Seas as we are sitting at anchor outside Picton. I think RC should have some accountability because imo they marketed a thrill ride by saying people would be able to go to one of the most active volcanoes in the world. At times people go to this volcano...at times this volcano is active....it is only a matter of time before the volcano is active while people are on it. My family saw the active volcano part and the environment so dangerous a gas mask is needed part and we decided to skip that excursion while browsing the options that Royal Caribbean were marketing to their guests.

 

 

Robito, I know that everyone on the ship has suffered.  All of you have empathy for those who have perished and those who are in critical condition.  This tragedy has affected me all the way in Dallas, Texas, so I can only imagine what the ship's passengers have felt.  

 

You are so right that Royal Caribbean (or any cruise line) has a standard of duty to their passengers.  This is part of liability law.  This terrible tragedy reminds us of why we have these laws.  I'm sure that those who went on the excursion felt safe--or otherwise they would not have gone--and would not have taken their children.  We all grieve for all the deaths and injuries.  But, it is perhaps a wake up call.  I've read the comments of those who have said that the passengers who signed up for the tour knew what they were getting into.  I see it a different way.  There is a standard of duty (for business invitees) no matter what they know or think.  It's a separate issue.  It is a legal issue and sometimes that is hard for people to understand.  

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17 minutes ago, Taseko said:

I have no legal background, but there appear to be many differences around the world. I read this in The Guardian under title “White Island volcano victims cannot bring civil lawsuits for negligence”.  It is worth reading the article. 

“New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme, run by the government, covers the cost of all treatment for injuries sustained in New Zealand, including for foreigners. Its coverage, which the injured cannot opt out of, bars them from suing for negligence.”


 

 

Interesting.  I guess we will see.  There is usually a choice of forum.  The United States is a favored forum for personal injuries that take place all over the world.  It depends on a minimum contact with the United States and RC does have contacts in the United States.  Whatever NZ law is MAY be irrelevant as the injured will have choices.   Everyone is reeling right now from the tragedy.  All of these issues will be dealt with going forward. 

 

Another thought, all of the injured are not New Zealanders.  They are not going to spend the rest of their lives in NZ, so it is doubtful that NZ is going to bear all the medical costs they will incur for the rest of their lives. 

 

Here's the link to the article you mention:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/12/white-island-volcano-victims-cannot-bring-civil-lawsuits-for-negligence

 

 

Edited by SLSD

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1 hour ago, Robito said:

On the accountability part of this issue I would like to add my 2 cents. I am currently a passenger on the Ovation of the Seas as we are sitting at anchor outside Picton. I think RC should have some accountability because imo they marketed a thrill ride by saying people would be able to go to one of the most active volcanoes in the world. At times people go to this volcano...at times this volcano is active....it is only a matter of time before the volcano is active while people are on it. My family saw the active volcano part and the environment so dangerous a gas mask is needed part and we decided to skip that excursion while browsing the options that Royal Caribbean were marketing to their guests.

 

I see people talking about signing a waiver and how the 38 or so people knew what they were getting into.

 

Now I get that the 38 or so people who went there signed waivers and knew what they were getting into. People want to talk about how tragic this was for the kids left behind on the ship....did their kids sign a waiver? How about the 4760 other passengers on board the ship....did they sign a waiver?

 

This is a birthday gift for my mom. She turned 60 a couple years ago. It took me over a year to be able to afford this trip. She has never been to New Zealand before. She probably will never see the Taieri Gorge Train or the Sounds now unless one of us experience a financial miracle. 

 

I can not speak in detail for other guests but I am sure my mother is not the only person who is probably lost their only chance to see the Sounds and/or Taieri Gorge Train so that RC can make some money selling the thrill of going to one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

 

To compensate people for missing Dunedin and the Sounds 1/12 of our basic cruise cost was refunded. Many people feel the best thing was removed from the destinations and I personally think the best two things were removed. We all know the base cost is just a portion of the total cost. IMO 1/12 the base cost does not come close to make up for the damage to a once in a lifetime vacation for most people in average financial situations or even a little above average.

 

This has nothing to do with the accountability up until this point but let me add the current response on ship by management on the ship has been offensive with false promises. One manager insulted ~50 passengers by saying they did not care for the people on the volcano because the ~50 passengers were expressing their concerns about the change of destinations. 

 

I am disappointed in the decision by a company taking on the responsibility of 4800 passengers having an enjoyable cruise to take the risk of allowing 38 customers and employees go to a "one of the most active volcanoes in the world". If I was the Captain or the Excursion Management I would have canceled it when the threat level went to 2. Then again I thought it was too risky before I even knew the threat level went up.

 

Overall I loved going on a cruise. Maybe I need to look for a company that will not risk the enjoyment of 4760 people by allowing 38 people to take a risky excursion.


I get you are frustrated that you missed two ports because RCI made a questionable decision by endorsing this excursion.  You are upset that you missed Dunedin and the Sounds.   That is frustrating.  

 

Whats even more frustrating is 16 people died, and many more are critical and more likely to die.   That is REALLY frustrating.


If it’s any consolation, I have done a lot of traveling.  Taeri Gorge and the Sounds don’t even crack the top 25.   Go see the Norwegian Fjords,  or Glacier Bay in Alaska.  Go see the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, or Zion National Park in the US.   Go see Antarctica, South Georgia Island.  Go see the Amalfi Coast.  Go see Ireland or Iceland.   I can list off many more that are more impressive than the Sounds and Taeri Gorge so try not to feel too bad about it.  Especially considering some lost there lives and will never see ANYTHING again at all.


 

 

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13 minutes ago, rimmit said:


Many people take non ship sponsored excursions.  Would you feel differently about missing the ports if that was the case?  How about if it was too windy to enter the sounds (which happens sometimes) or dock in Dunedin?   Would you be as angry then.  Ships miss ports ALL the time for various reasons.

 

When I was young we missed Puerto Madryn, Argentina due to 40mph winds.  This was the cruise highlight because they had colonies of thousands of penguins, and I thought that was gonna be my only chance ever to see that many penguins.  I was devastated and  I cried out of frustration.  I made it a personal goal from then To do whatever it took to see a massive colony of penguins. I have since been to South Georgia and the worlds largest king penguin colony and also Antarctica due to my devastation of missing that port.  I made it a life goal to do whatever it would take to see a massive colony of penguins.

 

Use this frustration and channel it.  While unfortunately your mom may not have the time to go back,  pick something even bigger and better.  Set that goal.  Don’t let something like this hold you back.  Use it as a spring board to see even bigger and better things.  

I think Royal Carribean`s responsibility would be different if the excursion was done outside of their system.

 

Honestly what would have made multiple people on the cruise feel better is if management on the ship acted more like professional cruise experts and less like....well internet trolls. That imo would have been true no matter how the excursion was booked.

 

I will get better from this. Learn do it better next time. Hope Royal Carribean is approaching things like that and not like an internet troll.

Edited by Robito

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3 minutes ago, Robito said:

I think Royal Carribean`s responsibility would be different if the excursion was done outside of their system.

 

Honestly what would have made multiple people on the cruise feel better is if management on the ship acted more like professional cruise experts and less like....well internet trolls. That imo would have been true no matter how the excursion was booked.

 

I will get better from this. Learn do it better next time. Hope Royal Carribean is approaching things like that and not like an internet troll.


It would help us on the forums if you could tell us what the staff is doing on the ship.  I was just on the ship from Nov 13-23.  How is The Captain from Bergen Norway managing (Henrick was his name?)?  He ALWAYS eats breakfast at the Solarium bistro,  and is super friendly.  How is the CD?  What are they doing that is “trolling”? That would help us understand the frustration.  

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20 minutes ago, Robito said:

I think Royal Carribean`s responsibility would be different if the excursion was done outside of their system.

 

That is an in interesting question. If they were on a private tour not sold through the cruise line would the cruise line have stayed as long as they did? Do they give much support to people who are injured on non cruise sponsored excursions? It seems some cruise lines are removing volcano tours from their lists and yet people say they will book a private tour regardless. What would happen in those cases if the volcano erupts? 

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12 minutes ago, ilikeanswers said:

 

That is an in interesting question. If they were on a private tour not sold through the cruise line would the cruise line have stayed as long as they did? Do they give much support to people who are injured on non cruise sponsored excursions? It seems some cruise lines are removing volcano tours from their lists and yet people say they will book a private tour regardless. What would happen in those cases if the volcano erupts? 

The Captain responsible for pax lives under maritime law regardless of party's or ports ,since The Titanic ships must respond to any Mayday 

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4 hours ago, K.S. said:

 

The volcanoes in Hawai’i are in no way similar to White Island, and there is no need to cancel any visits there unless the National Park Service says so. If you want to fear Hawai’i’s volcanoes, that’s up to you. I don’t.

just pointing out that even the hawaiian volcanos have explosive events.

 

Even this last episode had a major ash release that rose several thousand feet on the same day as the 6 plus earthquake. The same quake that damaged the lava tube and resulted in the museum on the rim being closed due to a crack running right through it.

 

the park did not close until after the quake and ash release so people could have gotten killed there. as I mentioned earlier a tour guide was just about to enter the lava tube with his group.

 

while they are different type volcanos both the white island event and the explosive events demonstrated in 1924 and 1790 on Kilauea are due to water inteusion.

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54 minutes ago, ilikeanswers said:

 

That is an in interesting question. If they were on a private tour not sold through the cruise line would the cruise line have stayed as long as they did? Do they give much support to people who are injured on non cruise sponsored excursions? It seems some cruise lines are removing volcano tours from their lists and yet people say they will book a private tour regardless. What would happen in those cases if the volcano erupts? 

Pretty much the same. For example some cruise ship passengers in a van on  independent tour got in an accident with a couple of fatalities a few years ago. the cruise ship delayed departure until the next day and also missed ports. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Robito said:

In terms of the Captain I have not spoken directly to him. He has been very vague in his announcements which is understandable considering the audience his public massages goes to.

 

I'm glad to know that the Captain has been careful in his public announcements. 

 

I am a heathcare worker, and very well aware of the need to protect the privacy of patients. Here in the US, HIPPA rules everything we do when it comes to sharing information. Now obviously I know the captain is not a healthcare person bound by US regulations, but the underlying principle of privacy still is valid, IMO.

 

We all are interested in what happened and how it is being handled -- that is why we are here on a forum on Cruise Critic, is it not? But we have to remember that there are many grieving families in the aftermath and they have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to share their private grief with us. I can't even imagine the horror of going through such a tragedy, and then on top of that, it being such a public event with people clamoring for information on your very personal loss. 

 

So I am grateful that the captain is apparently being careful with his announcements. It is perfectly appropriate for him to share information on schedule changes or other things that may impact other passengers, but he does not have any obligation to share private information on deaths or injuries. Many of us have been on ships where passengers have become sick, or been injured or died, and we don't expect or deserve public announcements about what happened.

 

My heart goes out to all those affected. I can't even imagine the pain these families are going through. 

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