Spend time talking to the crew of any ship, and you’ll quickly learn that the connections they share with one another are incredibly strong. As passengers, we often bond with our favorite bartenders or room stewards, but there is an entire community of employees working behind the scenes whom we never actually see, let alone get to know. The same, however, is not true for their fellow crew members. Ships are like floating cities, and while we may vacation in them, the crew make up the residents. And so, when one of their own passes away, it is felt by many.
“His Loss Is Keenly Felt”
Tuesday, the Harmony of the Seas family, and — by extension — the Royal Caribbean family, lost one of their own. “It is with a heavy heart,” wrote CEO Michael Bayley on his Facebook page, “that I share with you the news that Ariel Leyson, a crew member aboard Harmony of the Seas, died yesterday after an accident during a training exercise in Marseille, France. Four other crew members were injured in the same incident; we are not sharing their names until all their family members have been reached personally by our staff. One of the four has been released from the hospital, while the others continue to receive the best medical care available in Marseille.”
Who He Was
“Ariel served as an assistant engineer on Harmony of the Seas,” continued Bayley, adding that, “some of you may also know him from the time he spent aboard Grandeur of the Seas. He was a fine colleague and a dedicated professional, and his loss is keenly felt here in Miami, in his native Philippines, and across our fleet. The Harmony staff is organizing donations and memorial services, and we are making certain his family is cared for as best we can.”
A Communal Loss
It is very likely that the vast majority of people who sailed upon the ships serviced by Leysen never interacted with him. For others, he may have been a face passed in a corridor, perhaps smiled at in passing. And yet, it is the nature of the cruising community that tragedies such as this one impact us in a personal manner. This person, known or unseen, worked to help passengers such as ourselves create memories that we will treasure forever.
Thus, it was the executive’s final words to his Facebook followers which will stay with us. “I ask this one further consideration from each of you tonight,” Bayley wrote. “Look out for each other, and care for each other, and let’s all help each other through this sad and difficult time.”
And so it is that we join the Royal Caribbean family in mourning one of their own who was, ultimately, one of our own as well. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, and our thanks go to him for all he did for those who traversed the high seas with him aboard.
Royal Caribbean has set up a care fund for onboard and shoreside employees to donate to his family.
Photo: Royal Caribbean