A new photo circulating on social media showing two children sitting on a cruise ship balcony railing has raised concerns about safety, poor behavior, and other issues that appear to be on the rise not just one a single cruise line, but across different lines and on all types of different ships.
What might this mean for cruise line policies in the future?
A photo now circulating on social media shows two young cruise ship passengers who appear to be boys sitting on the railing of a stateroom balcony, dangling their stockinged feet over the edge.
One of the guests appears to be holding onto an overhead support. No adults are visible nearby, other than another passenger on a higher deck, who may not have been aware of the young guests’ behavior.
It is not clear which cruise ship the young guests are on, nor is the photo dated. As the photo has been widely shared, its origins have not been determined.
The style of the balconies, however, as well as the visible deck furniture, do identify the ship most likely as part of the Royal Caribbean fleet, Radiance class. This means the behavior could have occurred on Radiance of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, or Jewel of the Seas.
The photo is creating uproar among cruise fans, as the behavior shows blatant disregard for cruise ship safety rules and onboard behavior guidelines.
This behavior is recklessly dangerous, and could be disastrous if one of the boys were to have slipped. If that had happened, the guest would either have fallen into the water – and there is no way to tell what deck the photo is from, so no way to know how far that fall would be – or fallen onto a lower deck, which could have been equally dangerous.
Many cruise fans have questioned “Where are the parents?” or otherwise wondered about adult supervision and how such behavior could occur. Other cruisers have doubted the veracity of the photo, citing details such as the similar attire the teens appear to be wearing or size proportions to indicate that it may be a photoshopped image.
Whether the photo is real or fake, it does indicate a fascination with reckless and dangerous behavior, as well as the desire to “go viral” with social media likes and shares. When this behavior is glorified, it gives others the idea to gain their own popularity from copycat or similar acts.
All children, particularly teens, seek to push boundaries and may occasionally do silly, stupid, or outright reckless things. Other recent behavior from other cruise ships has shown similar incidents on various ships – and not always with teenagers.
In mid-April 2023, for example, a video showed a group of teens climbing between cruise ship balconies on Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras. Five young guests appeared to be involved in that incident, and may have been playing a game or retrieving something accidentally tossed to the higher balcony.
Similarly, in November 2022, a woman on a Carnival cruise ship, apparently in Mexico, was dangerously astride a balcony railing before being pulled off the railing by ship’s security. In that incident, emotional distress or alcohol appeared to be a factor in the woman’s very dangerous behavior.
Not all bad behavior is necessarily dangerous, but still disregards cruise line policies. In April 2023, an adult male guest was filmed fishing off a Carnival cruise ship balcony while docked in Nassau, pulling up what appeared to be a buffalo trunkfish with a long fishing line. The guests from that video were able to be identified and have been subsequently banned for life from Carnival Cruise Line.
While most cruise lines offer teen programs and teens-only spaces, children in that age range are generally not restricted to supervised-only areas and may wander freely about the ship, enjoying public areas or hanging out in their staterooms at their parents’ discretion.
Many cruise lines have policies explicitly prohibiting dangerous, reckless, or disruptive behavior. Royal Caribbean International, for example, does have language in section 9a of its cruise ticket contract regarding that passengers “shall at all times comply with the provisions of this Agreement, all applicable laws, and rules, policies and regulations.”
Further language in the contract states that “Each adult Passenger undertakes and agrees to supervise at all times any accompanying minors.”
When behavior like this incident is recorded, such supervision is clearly not taking place. Royal Caribbean then has the right to intervene with ship’s security, detain guests, suspend loyalty privileges, remove guests from the vessel, or ban them from the cruise line completely, among other consequences outlined in the Guest Conduct Policy.
Also in the policy is the note that all guests must immediately report to ship’s security staff or management “any unsafe or possibly illegal behavior.” One explicit instruction in the Guest Conduct Policy states without ambiguity:
“Sitting, standing, jumping, laying or climbing on, over or across any exterior or interior railings or other protective behaviors is strictly prohibited.”
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