Cruise ship pacific explorer makes second dramatic mayday rescue.

Thomas Bywater

Thomas Bywater

Share this article

A Kiwi cruise ship homeported out of Auckland has made a second mayday rescue in as many weeks.

The Pacific Explorer was involved in a mayday rescue overnight, en route from New Caledonia to Vanuatu.

The cruise ship responded to a distress call 10 hours north of Noumea, on Thursday night, as the closest ship in the area.

Passengers say they encountered a capsized small ship, with a single sailor on the hull.

Captain Alan Nixon announced last night, at around 8.45pm, that the Pacific Explorer had “altered course in a northwesterly direction and is responding to a mayday call received by the Noumea MRCC”.

Passengers were told that other ships were responding and that they would only resume course for Lifou if another vessel was better suited to respond.

Maritime law says the closest ship must respond in an emergency.

Operators Carnival Australia confirmed they were aware of the incident, saying “a man was rescued from his upturned vessel just before 7am”.

New Caledonia Marine Rescue Coordination Centre were contacted for comment. A French navy aircraft, a Dassault Falcon Guardian, was seen overheard, as part of the search and rescue coordinated out of New Caledonia.

The sole occupant was later named as Australian ocean rower Tom Robinson, 24, who was on a cross-Pacific record attempt .

This emergency response is the second attended by the Pacific-based cruise liner in as many weeks .

A man was rescued from a capsized yacht, 10 hours north of Nomea, by crew of Carnival Cruise ship Pacific Explorer.

On Sunday, September 24, passengers sailing from Auckland were told that they were diverting to a distress signal of a New Zealand-registerd pleasure yacht, south of Fiji.

One crewmember of the 12-metre sailing ship the Second Life, 73-year-old Clive Nothling of Russell, was killed by the boom of the small vessel. Two other people were rescued by the Fijian Navy and crew of the Carnival Australia cruise liner.

Nothlings’ widow Robyn told the Herald she was “heartbroken”.

“He was a very special, strong man. He was known for being a very safe and competent sailor. This was a freak accident,” she said.

At the time the Pacific Explorer could only winch one of the three sailors to safety, due to rough conditions and fears for the yacht’s safety.

They remained with the yacht at a safe distance until the RFNS patrol boat Savenaca could attend the scene from Fiji.

Carnival thanked captain Nixon and the ship’s crew “for their immense efforts in very poor conditions, as well as our guests onboard for their understanding” following the rescue.

“This is the second time in two weeks Pacific Explorer has rendered assistance to a vessel in distress in the South Pacific, continuing our long-standing practice of assisting those in distress at sea.”

Pacific Explorer is currently on the return leg of a nine-day round-trip voyage from Auckland, carrying 2000 guests.

The Pacific Explorer made a 200km detour to respond to the mayday signal. Photo / Cruise Mapper

Latest from Travel

‘Absolutely appalling’ - Qantas accidentally books Auckland woman’s flight home 3 days early

‘Absolutely appalling’ - Qantas accidentally books Auckland woman’s flight home 3 days early

The travellers' break in the Aussie city took a dramatic turn for all the wrong reasons.

'Trampled on': Anger after disabled man forced to drag himself off plane

'Trampled on': Anger after disabled man forced to drag himself off plane

United returns Auckland to LA, but is Polaris Class as good as we remember?

United returns Auckland to LA, but is Polaris Class as good as we remember?

Haunted or hoax? Five of New Zealand's spookiest spots to visit this Halloween

Haunted or hoax? Five of New Zealand's spookiest spots to visit this Halloween

Embark on a gourmet exploration

Embark on a gourmet exploration

  • Main content

A Carnival cruise ship rescued a couple stranded on a sailboat 20 miles from the Bahamas

  • A Carnival cruise ship rescued a couple on a sailboat early Monday morning, the company said.
  • The couple was stranded 9 miles away from the cruise ship when the Coast Guard contacted Carnival. 
  • The man was admitted to the ship's medical center, a spokesperson told Insider.

Morning Brew Logo

A Carnival cruise ship rescued a couple from a sailboat stranded near the Bahamas early Monday morning, a spokesperson for the cruise line told Insider. 

The Carnival Mardi Gras was en route from Florida to Aruba for an eight-day Caribbean sailing when it received a call from the US Coast Guard requesting the cruise ship to assist the vessel in distress, the spokesperson said. 

The couple was less than nine miles away from the 5,000-plus passenger ship when the Coast Guard called the cruise ship's officers and enlisted their help, according to the company. 

As the massive vessel approached the sailboat, crew members lowered down a lifeboat and completed the rescue just after 1 a.m. on Monday, Carnival said. 

"Once on board, the man was admitted to the onboard medical center and the team is caring for him," the spokesperson told Insider, adding that the cruise is continuing on its planned itinerary to arrive in Aruba on Tuesday.

A YouTube user named Michele Begg posted two videos described as documenting the Carnival Mardi Gras rescue. Carnival was unable to immediately verify the content of the videos. 

US federal law requires vessels to "render assistance to any individual found at sea in danger of being lost," as long as it can do so without endangering the ship or its passengers. 

So far this year, Carnival cruise ships have assisted in eight rescues involving vessels in distress at sea, the company told Insider. 

In January, Celebrity Cruise captain Kate McCue posted a video on social media explaining how crew maneuver giant cruise ships to pull up alongside smaller vessels in rough conditions. 

"We were traveling at 15 knots, so I turned the ship around for a reciprocal course while we gathered all of our resources," McCue said in the video documenting the cruise's rescue of 19 migrants stranded in a small boat off the coast of Florida.

She added: "Because of the rough sea conditions, I needed to maneuver the ship in order to provide a lead so that we could bring the boat safely alongside the ship."

Are you a cruise passenger or cruise worker? Have a tip or story to share? Contact this reporter at [email protected]

cruise ship rescue 2023

Orlando Sentinel

Travel | Royal Caribbean sends cruise ship to rescue…

Share this:.

  • Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on X (Opens in new window)

Daily e-Edition

Evening e-Edition

  • Entertainment
  • Theater and Arts
  • Things to Do
  • Restaurants, Food & Drink

Things To Do

Travel | royal caribbean sends cruise ship to rescue americans from israel.

cruise ship rescue 2023

Royal Caribbean has partnered with the U.S. Department of State to send a cruise ship to Israel to rescue Americans who have not been able to leave the country.

In a letter to employees, Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty announced that Rhapsody of the Seas would be used to safely evacuate American citizens. The ship had its sailings in the region canceled after the Hamas attack from Gaza Strip on Israel last week and the Israeli response that together have left thousands of Israelis and Palestinians dead.

The State Department said Sunday the number of Americans killed in the conflict since it began has risen to 30, and that it believed several Americans were among the nearly 200 people Hamas kidnapped after the surprise attack on Oct. 7.

“Now, with enhanced safety precautions in place, our ship is providing free passage, including accommodation and food, for Americans in the region wishing to leave and find safer ground,” Liberty wrote.

The ship has a guest capacity of 2,416. Several foreigners in the country were stranded as airlines canceled service to the beleaguered country.

“This has truly been an incredible effort as our teams worked tirelessly over the past week to make this mission possible,” Liberty wrote. “My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all involved and especially to the ship’s officers and crew for their unwavering support of this call to serve others in the midst of unimaginable tragedy.”

The cruise line did not say to were the ship would head after departing Israel.

“It is in challenging times like these that the phenomenal spirit and values of our collective Royal Caribbean Group team shines,” he wrote.

DeSantis’ first Israel flight brings Americans to Tampa, Orlando

Also this weekend, the first of what Gov. Ron DeSantis said would be several rescue charter flight arrived in Tampa, bringing with it 270 passengers from Israel, most of whom were Americans.

The flight was organized by an international rescue nonprofit group called Project Dynamo.

More in Travel

From the big shows aboard some of cruising’s biggest ships to the quiet hush of charming Vero Beach. From dancing on the sands with Lionel Richie and Nile Rodgers in the Bahamas to driving into mud puddles off road in Florida’s “outback.” The October issue of “Explore Florida & the Caribbean” offers something for every traveler, from adventurers to deckchair readers. We’ll stand in the shadow of giant elephants and giraffes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, explore the $1 billion new old Pier Sixty-Six resort in Fort Lauderdale and swim with manatees in Crystal River.

The new issue of Explore Florida & the Caribbean takes you places

Royal Caribbean's new Icon of the Seas heads into the home stretch before the cruise line takes delivery. That includes a second and final round of sea trials that began this week.

Travel | Royal Caribbean’s massive Icon of the Seas finishing up sea trials before Miami debut

Blue Spring and DeLeon Springs state parks are each going to receive a tracked chair for people with mobility impairments to explore, available by free reservation.

Travel | Blue Spring State Park: New tracked chair aids accessibility outdoors

Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter ...

Travel | Travel Troubleshooter: Uber owes me $100. Can you help me get it back?

Giant cruise ships are rescuing migrants from the Caribbean

Carnival cruise line has carried out 14 rescues since june.

cruise ship rescue 2023

Earlier this week, the Carnival Spirit was carrying passengers on a Caribbean cruise from Miami when it encountered a small boat near the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. According to Carnival Cruise Line, officers aboard the ship saw a group “in distress,” and crew members brought all 24 people on board. Medical workers then checked them out before the cruise line transferred them to a U.S. Coast Guard ship.

Although rescue missions at sea are not cruise ships’ primary purpose, it’s not uncommon for them to assume that duty.

For Carnival, the rescue Tuesday was its fifth of 2023, and the 14th since June of last year. Several other lines, including Royal Caribbean International , MSC Cruises and Celebrity Cruises , have also come to the aid of vessels this year. Most were carrying migrants, according to news reports.

Carnival said it does not track specific details on rescues historically, and some other cruise lines did not respond to Washington Post inquiries about the frequency of rescues. The Coast Guard did not provide an answer to questions about the number of rescues on cruise ships.

But the latest examples come as the Coast Guard reports higher numbers of Cuban migrants intercepted at sea. From Oct. 1 to this week, the military branch reported that it had interdicted more than 6,300 Cubans — already more than the 6,182 the entire previous year, according to a Thursday news release .

“The Coast Guard is maintaining a heavy maritime presence to detect and interdict anyone attempting to illegally migrate by sea in the Florida Straits and Caribbean region,” Coast Guard Lt. Peter Hutchison said in the news release about Cuban migrants caught off the Florida coast. “These voyages are not only illegal, but also incredibly dangerous. No one should risk their lives on unsafe rustic vessels in unpredictable seas.”

The political leanings of people who go on cruises, and more

Cruise lines and legal experts say it’s the duty of larger ships to follow maritime guidelines and help other vessels in distress.

“The duty to rescue, if you can do this safely, is ancient and is part of maritime law forever,” said Robert Rosen, a University of Miami law professor who teaches about the legal environment of the cruise industry.

Rescues can unfold in different ways, depending on the circumstances. Matt Lupoli, spokesman for Carnival Cruise Line, said officers on a ship determine the best approach in coordination with the company’s fleet operations center on land.

“Sometimes, the ship’s crew does deploy lifeboats in order to complete rescues,” he said in an email. “In other instances, the ship is maneuvered near a vessel in distress so its side hatch can be lowered to allow anyone who needs rescue on board.”

Love that cheap cruise price? Don’t forget the boatload of fees.

In January, the captain of the Celebrity Beyond documented a rescue of 19 people on her Instagram account, explaining how she turned the ship around after an officer noticed “a glimmer on the horizon.”

The captain, Kate McCue, said she maneuvered the ship so the boat could come alongside it; workers opened a side door and threw a line to the boat. Once the 19 people came on board, crew gave them blankets, a change of clothes, food, drinks, a medical evaluation and a way to call loved ones, she said.

Five days later, the ship, which sails in the Caribbean, came to the rescue of another vessel. This time, it was a small sailboat with four people on board.

“Safety of life at sea is a simple concept for seafarers,” McCue said in an Instagram post about the second rescue. “Those in need, we assist.”

Carnival also provides food, clothes, blankets and medical assessments, and crew members coordinate with the Coast Guard or other government agencies, Lupoli said. Depending on the decision of authorities, the rescued people may be transferred to authorities at sea or in port.

Can you bring weed on a cruise?

The rescues often happen in full view of passengers. Guests on Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas told South Florida media that passengers cheered when 17 migrants were brought on board in January.

Alan Regalado, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said in an email that although some cruise ships or other commercial vessels will transfer rescued migrants or others to the Coast Guard at sea, they will on other occasions keep them on the ship and provide humanitarian care until they reach their next port.

If that port is in the United States, rescued migrants would be transferred to the custody of Customs and Border Protection for processing. Regalado said that however the handover takes place, migrants are provided with food, water, shelter and basic first aid and are processed to determine their identity, nationality, criminal history and whether they have a legal basis to enter or stay in the United States.

“If they do not have a legal basis to enter or remain in the US, they will be processed for removal or repatriation to their country of origin or departure,” he said.

More travel news

Safety: Bird strikes | No-fly list proposal | Could you land a plane? | Whale vs. sailboat | Turbulence risks | Future of TSA | Mask advice | Traveling while trans

Airlines: Medical emergencies | Bunk beds | Flight padding | Clean-up duty | Carbon offsets | Lap babies | Flying is terrible | Private jet pets | Ribs on a plane | Modern airplane food | Family seating | Middle seat fans | Phone calls on flights | Airport glow-up | First class seats | Confronting unruly passengers | It’s physically impossible to open a plane door | Wheelchair damage

Destinations: Bad tourists in Bali | Paris’ best baguette | Starbucks in Rome | New York dogs | Hawaii GPS mishap | Greece’s accessible beaches | Could Disney move? | Florida travel warning | Amsterdam says ‘stay away’ | Orlando hater’s guide | Real-life White Lotus | Misbehavior at national parks | Scariest places | Disney prices

Airbnb: Is there an ‘Airbnbust?' | CEO is hosting | Fees and chores | ‘Slave cabin’ apology | No more parties | Accidental break-in | Pet-friendly additions

On the road: Weed tourism | Weird resort fees | Wienermobile life | A day at a truck stop | Tracing the Great Migration | Hotel room lights | Greyhound road trip | Green hotels | How environmentalists travel | Road trips with pets | Road trips with babies

Crew of Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras rescues couple from sailboat at sea

cruise ship rescue 2023

Crew members aboard Carnival Cruise Line's Port Canaveral, Florida-based Mardi Gras played an unexpected role this week. They rescued a couple stranded at sea.

Carnival said its Mardi Gras crew received a call from the U.S. Coast Guard to help rescue a man and a woman from a sailboat early Monday.

The couple was stranded about 20 miles from Castle Island, Bahamas, and Mardi Gras was less than 9 miles from them when the ship’s officers received a call from the Coast Guard.

As the Mardi Gras approached the sailboat, the crew lowered a lifeboat to make the rescue just after 1 a.m. Monday.

Once on board the Mardi Gras, the man was admitted to the ship's medical center , Carnival said, adding that both of them "are being assisted and supported by the ship’s team."

Carnival said it was unable to provide additional details about the couple's identity or the man's medical condition. A photo provided by Carnival showed the man coming aboard the ship in a wheelchair.

Carnival Venezia: New cruise ship offers Italian-style cruising

The Mardi Gras left Port Canaveral on Saturday on an eight-day Caribbean sailing. The ship is continuing its planned itinerary, with a stop Tuesday in Aruba. It is scheduled to return to Port Canaveral next Sunday.

Mardi Gras carries more than 6,000 passengers and more than 1,700 crew members. It is Carnival's second-largest ship, and one of three Carnival ships now based at Port Canaveral, along with the Freedom and the Liberty.

Dave Berman is business editor at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Berman at  [email protected] , on Twitter at  @bydaveberman  and on Facebook at


  1. WATCH: Cruise ship rescue in Wide Bay waters

    cruise ship rescue 2023

  2. Carnival Cruise Ship Involved in Rescue After Boat Capsizes

    cruise ship rescue 2023

  3. Video Dramatic Cruise Ship Rescue Caught on Video

    cruise ship rescue 2023

  4. To the (cruise ship) rescue

    cruise ship rescue 2023

  5. Cruise ship rescue: inside the dramatic rescue mission aboard the

    cruise ship rescue 2023

  6. Carnival Cruise Ship Makes Rescue During Final Sea Day

    cruise ship rescue 2023


  1. Get to Know the Fleet of Celebrity Cruise Ships on the Official Site

    Celebrity Cruises is one of the more popular cruise lines in the world, offering a wide variety of ships and destinations. With so many options, it can be difficult to know which ship is right for you.

  2. How Much Do Cruise Ship Employees Make?

    Depending on the position, an employee of a cruise ship can make between $800 and $8,000 per month, plus tips, as of 2014. Workers also receive a room, food and entertainment while on the ship as part of their compensation.

  3. 5 Foods to Avoid on a Cruise Ship

    Millions of people decide to board cruise ships and hit the open seas every single year, and with good reason. You can head to intriguing destinations, take advantage of fun activities, and see a variety of on-board shows.

  4. Luxury cruise ship pulled free three days after getting stranded in

    Danish broadcaster DR said there were 400 cruises in Greenland in 2022 and 600 cruises in 2023. ... Ships Arctic Greenland Rescue Denmark cruise.

  5. Cruise Ship Rescues Man Attempting Solo Pacific Row from

    Cruise Ship Rescues Man Attempting Solo Pacific Row from Overturned Boat ... © Copyright 2023 The Maritime Executive, LLC. All rights reserved.

  6. Norwegian Cruise Ship Assists in the Rescue of Hundreds

    Norwegian Breakaway Assists in Migrant Rescue. At roughly midnight on Monday night, October 9, 2023, the Italian Coast Guard reached out to

  7. Cruise ship Pacific Explorer makes second dramatic mayday rescue

    A Kiwi cruise ship homeported out of Auckland has made a second mayday rescue in as many weeks. The Pacific Explorer was involved in a

  8. A Carnival cruise ship rescued a couple stranded on a sailboat 20

    A Carnival cruise ship rescued a couple stranded on a sailboat 20 miles from the Bahamas. Hannah Towey. Aug 8, 2023, 9:37 AM PDT. A bookmark.

  9. Royal Caribbean sends cruise ship to rescue Americans from Israel

    PUBLISHED: October 16, 2023 at 12:16 p.m. | UPDATED: October 17, 2023 at 10:14 a.m.. Royal Caribbean has partnered with the U.S. Department of State to send

  10. Watch: Cruise ship rescues man from capsized vessel south of

    Australian solo rower Tom Robinson was rescued by the Pacific Explorer cruise ship. A P&O Cruises Australia spokesperson said it had a long-

  11. Giant cruise ships are rescuing migrants from the Caribbean

    For Carnival, the rescue Tuesday was its fifth of 2023, and the 14th since June of last year. Several other lines, including Royal Caribbean

  12. Couple in sailboat rescued by Carnival cruise ship

    The couple was stranded near Castle Island, Bahamas, and Mardi Gras was nearby when the ship's officers received a call from Coast Guard to

  13. One Dead in Cruise Ship Rescue, Cruise Taxes on the Rise

    ... 2023. Cruise industry news has released their Cruise Ship Secondhand Market Report, and After a record-setting 2022 where 18 cruise ships

  14. Carnival Cruise Ship Diverts Course for Unexpected Rescue

    Cruise news today. On early Monday morning, Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras crew responded to a U.S. Coast Guard request to rescue a