Royal Caribbean to Amplify Freedom of the Seas

Royal Caribbean - Freedom of the Seas
The reimagined poolscape of the Freedom of the Seas. (photo via Royal Caribbean International)

The 19-month-old girl plunged 150 feet from the vessel in San Juan on Sunday


The toddler is believed to have fallen from a window on the 11th deck - shown above the balconies - on Sunday afternoon

The toddler is believed to have fallen from a window on the 11th deck – shown above the balconies – on Sunday afternoon

A toddler has fallen to her death after slipping out of her grandfather’s arms on a cruise ship which was docked in Puerto Rico.

The 19-month-old girl from Indiana plunged 150 feet from the Royal Caribbean vessel in San Juan on Sunday afternoon.

Her maternal grandfather, identified as Salvatore Anello, is believed to have slipped and fallen while holding the toddler by a window on the 11th deck of the Freedom of the Seas ship.

Horrified passengers said they had heard a ‘cry of pain’ from the girl’s mother.

A diagram showing how the girl fell 150 feet from the ship's 11th deck on to the hard ground

‘[We heard] the screams of the families because we were close,’ a nearby passenger told Telemundo PR.

‘I looked because of the mother’s cry. That tonality, a scream of pain of that nature, does not compare with any other scream.’

The girl had a hard landing on the concrete of the Pan American dock in San Juan and died in hospital shortly afterwards.

The child and her extended family from Indiana were vacationing together aboard the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship, operated by the Royal Caribbean cruise line.

 Both her sets of grandparents, her parents and her younger brother were on board the ship at the time.

The child’s father has been identified by WSBT as South Bend police officer Alan Wiegand.

The South Bend Police Department in Indiana said in a statement: ‘The South Bend Police Department offers its sincerest condolences to Officer Alan Wiegand and his family during this difficult time following the tragic loss of their child while in Puerto Rico. The department asks the community to pray for the entire Wiegand family as they grieve and to respect their privacy.’

 A map showing San Juan in Puerto Rico where the girl fell to her death

The police chief Scott Ruszkowski disputed the statement issued by Puerto Rico police that the girl was being held out of an 11th-floor window.

Police Sgt Nelson Sotelo told The Associated Press that the family of the child will remain in the US territory until the investigation is complete.

‘They’re in shock,’ he said.

Department of Public Security official Elmer Román said the grandfather was playing a game with the child when she slipped from his arms.

The homicide division was investigating the death, he said.

‘It has not been possible to interview the family,’ he said, adding that they were being provided with medical and spiritual support.

El Vocero reported the grandfather was holding the child when he slipped and fell into the window, and the child then fell from his arms to her death.

People claiming to be familiar with the layout of the ship in an online forum said the 11th deck is a pool deck on the cruise ship, which would be the only place on the ship that would have open windows.

The call to authorities came in reporting the child’s fatal drop at 4.27pm Atlantic Standard Time, according to Primera Hora.

A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. told ‘We are assisting local authorities in San Juan, PR as they make inquiries after an incident aboard Freedom of the Seas earlier today.

‘We do not have further information to share at this point.’

Security camera footage from the ship has been requested by Prosecutor Ivette Nieves, who was conducting interviews with the passengers who observed the tragic fall.

What’s Next for Royal Caribbean International?

What's Next for Royal Caribbean International?

PHOTO: Three Oasis-class ships sailing together. (photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

2018-2019 Deployments

When Symphony of the Seas, (already open for reservations), sets sail as the fourth Oasis-class ship, it will mark the line’s biggest-ever lineup ever from Florida, as Royal Caribbean will soon have a new terminal at PortMiami.

Besides the Caribbean, the line will also head to Alaska, Europe, China and exotic locales.

The Symphony will arrive at PortMiami on November 9, 2018, and will depart on its 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries starting on November 17, 2018. While the ship will be the same length as its sister Harmony of the Seas, it will carry an extra 28 cabins and measure in as the largest cruise ship in the world at 230,000 gross registered tons.

Joining Symphony in Miami will be Allure of the Seas in November 2018 as well. Oasis of the Seas will continue to leave from Port Canaveral, Florida and Harmony of the Seas will continue to depart from Port Everglades, Florida.

Cuba and the Caribbean

Later this month, Royal Caribbean International will visit Cuba for the first time, sailing a 5-night cruise from Miami on April 19, 2017. It will send the newly revitalized Empress of the Seas to Havana for overnight experiences and a visit to a UNESCO World Heritage Site on its Cuban sailings. Other opportunities will include seeing Cojimar and the Tropicana and riding in classic cars.

The Empress of the Seas will also feature 4- and 5-night cruises from Tampa in summer 2017 along with Rhapsody of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas’ 5- to 7-night Caribbean voyages. Meanwhile, Adventure of the Seas will also depart from Puerto Rico on 7- to 10-night Southern Caribbean itineraries.

From the Northeast, Rhapsody of the Seas will team up with Anthem of the Seas from Cape Liberty, New Jersey in 2017. In the summer, Rhapsody will head out on 7-night cruises to the Bahamas, while Anthem will sail to Bermuda, with the latter to the Caribbean year-round as well on 5-, 7- and 9-night departures.

Alaska and Europe

Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas will return to Alaska this season. Explorer will showcase 7-,10- and 12-night round trips from Seattle, Washington, while Radiance will alternate 7- to 14-night voyages to and from Vancouver, BC and Seward, Alaska.

In Europe, Jewel of the Seas will sail 9-night Greek Isles itineraries from Rome, Italy, plus 7-night Western Mediterranean plans, as well as 7-night itineraries on the Freedom of the Seas from Barcelona, Spain. The Serenade of the Seas and Vision of the Seas will also traverse Northern Europe and ports such as Copenhagen, Denmark.

Future Fleet

Looking to 2019 and beyond are several more new ships that Royal Caribbean will deploy internationally, starting with a fourth Quantum-class ship in 2019 and a fifth to follow during 2020.

Joining the four aforementioned Oasis-class ships will be a fifth in 2021, and then an entirely new class of vessel will emerge by 2022. Two fuel cell and LNG-powered Icon-class ships will first set sail during 2022 and 2024.