A Caribbean Cruise From Hell
MIAMI (CN) - Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines kept a woman under guard in her room for days after her daughter fell overboard and died, and wouldn't even let her go to the chapel to pray, the mother claims in court.
Vera Marion claims the cruise line didn't even bother to turn the ship around to look for her 21-year-old daughter until 2 hours after she fell overboard.
Marion sued Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in Federal Court, on her own behalf and for her late daughter, A'riel Marion.
Vera Marion won the cruise from her employer, as one of its top sales agents.
"On the night of Sept. 16, 2012, only several hours into the voyage, twenty-one year-old A'riel Marion somehow fell overboard," the complaint states.
"Immediately after A'riel fell overboard, a passenger from the deck below the Marions' cabin reported to the ship's crew that something had fallen and hit her from above while she was out on her balcony. On information and belief, the passenger's '911' call on the ship's internal phone system was made at approximately 9:30 p.m. EST."
The ship was on the high seas, more than 3 miles from the United States. Vera Marion was not with her daughter when she fell.
Sometime after he daughter fell, "three crew members approached her, took hold of her, and physically escorted her from the casino to question her about the whereabouts of her daughter," the complaint states.
"Upon being informed by the crew members that her daughter may be missing, Vera Marion tried to leave to go find her, but the crew members physically restrained her and prevented her from leaving.
"Vera Marion was distressed because she was worried about her daughter. Being
physically restrained from going to her cabin only heightened the terror of the situation.
"After having been detained for some time in this manner, a high-ranking crew member in her presence made an announcement over the ship's radio that there was a person overboard.
"The crew of the Allure of the Seas had actual or constructive knowledge, including knowledge from its closed circuit video surveillance, that A'riel Marion had gone overboard.
"Notwithstanding this knowledge, the Allure of the Seas did not stop or begin to turn around in a timely or appropriate fashion to attempt to search for and rescue A'riel Marion.
"The crew of the Allure of the Seas did not notify the U.S. Coast Guard that a person had gone overboard until approximately 11:30 EST, approximately two hours after the crew first received report of the incident.
"Following the person-overboard announcement, the crew denied Vera Marion access
to her room, her belongings, or contact with her fellow work associates. She was moved by crew members to a cabin without a balcony and guarded there by crew members stationed outside her door and inside of her cabin.
"She repeatedly pleaded with crew members to leave her alone, but they refused. This situation persisted for days.
"For the remainder of the cruise, crew members did not permit Vera Marion to leave the cabin or travel anywhere about the ship without the presence of security.
"They did not permit her to receive guests or messages that her associates had apparently left her or to contact them.
"They did not even allow her to go to the chapel on board the ship to pray for her daughter's well-being."
The crew forced her to leave her cabin door unlocked, and "as a result, male crew members walked in on Vera Marion unannounced while she was undressed, on several occasions," she adds.
Marion, who also has two sons, says that despite her pleas, "Royal Caribbean made public that a twenty-one year-old woman from Bartlett, Tennessee went overboard.
"Vera Marion's boys learned of this news from home and attempted unsuccessfully to contact their mother to ask if it was A'riel who went overboard.
"A'riel's body has never been recovered."
The mother seeks compensatory and punitive damages for wrongful death, false imprisonment and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
She is represented by Stephen Rosenthal with Podhurst Orseck in Miami.