Royal Caribbean Passenger Sues Cruise Company for $10 Million After Breaking Pelvis on Trampoline

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
March 20, 2019US News
Royal Caribbean Passenger Sues Cruise Company for $10 Million After Breaking Pelvis on Trampoline
Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas cruise ship in a 2013 file photo. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

A Royal Caribbean passenger has sued the cruise company for $10 million after an accident on board one of its cruise ships left him with a broken pelvis.

Casey Holladay, 25, bounced 10 times on a Sky Pad trampoline aboard the company’s Mariner of the Seas Ship, reaching about 20 feet. Something went wrong on the next bounce and the yellow bands attached to his harness snapped off. Holladay crashed down after falling about 20 feet onto the ship’s deck.

“We were really excited because we had seen a commercial that Royal was promoting for this Skypad, this awesome experience in the sky,” Holladay told NBC 6.

The trampoline was promoted as being part trampoline, part bungee jump.

Then came the drop.

“I just felt the momentum release from my body that I wasn’t being held by anything anymore. When I hit all I really remember is the hit and the noise and the fear,” he said. “It’s kind of one of those cliché moments when your life changes in the blink of an eye.”

Holladay spent nine days in a Florida hospital, undergoing several surgeries to repair his broken pelvis. A month after the February fall, he was still using a walker and a wheelchair to get around.

The lawsuit says that operators gave Holladay no warnings and failed to inspect and maintain the yellow bands, or support ropes.

“He suffered very severe debilitating injuries,” attorney Brett Rivkind told NBC 6. “This is a life-changing accident that never ever, ever should have happened.”

The lawsuit was filed in Miami federal court last week and asks the jury to award Holladay $10 million.

“Casey was a very healthy young man just getting started,” Rivkind told the Miami Herald.

“One second he was out on a cruise ship with his girlfriend, the next thing he knows he’s in the trauma center having surgery. Right now he can’t bear any weight, he’s in and out of doctors’ visits regularly to see how he’ll heal. He’s severely limited in his everyday activities. He has pain still.”

Royal Caribbean corporate communications manager Owen Torres said the company does not comment on pending litigation but added: “We operate all our ships safely, professionally, and responsibly.”

The Sky Pad was part of a recent $1 billion investment by Royal Caribbean to attract millennials like Holladay.

That included $200 million to transform the Carnival Triumph, built in 1999, into the Carnival Sunrise, featuring a bigger water park, a high ropes course, and more cabins.

“Our brand has a broad appeal, we’re looking to add consistency across our fleet,” AnneMarie Matthews, senior director of communications for Carnival, told the Herald for a story about the investments published before the lawsuit was filed. “We’ll try to be consistent so that all our ships have the favorites across the board.”

Some $100 million of the investment went to Mariner of the Seas, first launched in 2003, the ship on which the trampoline accident happened.

“Millennials are not coming back to us as much as we’d like, and new-to-cruise are coming to our oldest hardware. That’s the way we’re introducing them to our industry and then they’re not coming back either,” said Laura Hodges-Bethge, Royal Caribbean’s vice president of product development. “How do you change that?”

The company focused on adrenaline-rush activities, such as the Sky Pad.

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