What was supposed to be a peaceful cruise turned into a nightmare for most of the passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas in early September. 1,300 male passengers working for an Indian tobacco company boarded the ship in Australia, and immediately turned it into their own personal frat house. They were on the cruise for a work conference, but the only conferencing they did was with burlesque dancers and women dressed like Playboy Bunnies, whom they brought on board.
During the three-day voyage, the cruise-turned-Animal House was dominated by wild dancing on the decks. The men took over the ship’s pool bars, common areas, and buffet, blocking other passengers from accessing much of the vessel. Many families took refuge inside, waiting for the mayhem to end.
“It was almost like a huge [bachelor party] — a [bachelor party] for 1,200 people,” passenger Cassandra Riini told A Current Affair, an Australian TV program. “Their doors would be open and you would walk past and be like what am I going to be looking at when I walk past this door?”
Because the raucous passengers made up over a third of the ship’s population, several events had to be cancelled. “Even on trivia nights they didn’t have enough numbers,” said Riini’s husband, “so we just ended up with the staff member making our own game,” adding, “if ignorance and arrogance was part of the ticket to get on board the ship then I think they did a good job.”
After receiving numerous complaints, Royal Caribbean issued an apology along with full refunds to passengers whose tranquil holidays were ruined. In a statement to Australia’s 9 News, Royal Caribbean assured customers that it’s “looking into all guest feedback regarding this incident to ensure it does not happen again.”