Carnival Isn’t Alone: Trashy Behavior Hits Royal Caribbean

By now, you’ve no doubt heard about the latest incident of “cruise rage” which found a passenger allegedly physically assaulting a cruise ship magician.

When that story first broke, no information was available as to what ship or even cruise line the attack took place on. But there’s a pretty good chance you immediately assumed it had taken place on a Carnival Cruise Line ship.

Cruise Magician Attacked on Quantum of the Seas

cruise magician attack
(Screenshot from Ben Murphy’s TikTok. Watch the entire video here.)

The caught-on-tape alleged attack — and, as you’ll see in other coverage, we’re using “alleged” for legal reasons — stunned audience members and left the performer, Ben Murphy, shaken. But it’s reported he bounced back quickly, clearly having adapted the old adage “the show must go on.”

His ability to shake it off and continue, however, in no way diminishes the seriousness of the incident. Various reports have suggested that the alleged attacker was the disgruntled partner of the female volunteer with whom Murphy was performing — none of which really matters. The fact of the matter is it should never have happened, and yet represents what some perceive as a rise in violent incidents taking place on the high seas.

The unacceptable behavior of rowdy passengers is one of the reasons Carnival Cruise Line recently began doing something rather unusual: Every passenger, before every cruise, now receives a letter that makes it clear what types of behavior won’t be tolerated.

But here’s the thing: The magician wasn’t attacked on a Carnival ship. It was Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. And here’s why that matters.

quantum of the seas exterior aerial
Quantum of the Seas (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

What’s the Punishment?

While details are still emerging about the incident, Royal Caribbean has thus far kept a low profile. Rather than get in front of the potential bad publicity by putting out a statement, the line has essentially let the internet dictate the story.

And the picture that’s emerged so far, whether true or not, is of a cruise staff that had little-to-no reaction to what had taken place.

In a since-deleted Instagram comment, Murphy suggested that a week went by before anybody associated with the ship took statements.

He also indicated that the line’s stance was that there were “no witnesses”… a claim that an audience of people and a widely distributed video would definitely seem to counter.

Would Carnival Handle the Cruise Magician Attack Differently?

carnival celebration st. thomas USVI
Carnival Celebration in St. Thomas

Meanwhile, Carnival Cruise Line appears to be taking a hard stance against fighting with those who violate the standards put forth in their recent letter, not to mention the cruise contract each passenger accepts upon purchasing a ticket.

Carnival’s contract includes the following paragraph:

“The captain and our officers have the authority to enforce our policies and make decisions to provide for a fun and safe environment for all. Disruptive behavior is not tolerated and any guest whose conduct affects the comfort, enjoyment, safety or well-being of other guests or crew will be disembarked at their own expense and banned from sailing Carnival in the future.”

Assuming Carnival intends to not only talk the talk but walk the walk, Murphy might well have been better off had he been performing aboard one of their ships at the time of the alleged incident.

Royal Caribbean may eventually find a way to make things right with the magician — or at least publicly acknowledge the incident and reveal how they plan to handle such situations in the future.

For now, however, the literal attack is yet another metaphorical black eye for an industry that has taken more than its fair share of hits over the past two years. Unfortunately, in this case the wound seems to have been self-inflicted.

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