Cruises pretty much sell themselves on their care-free vibes: Come stay with us on this floating five-star hotel, where you don't have to worry about anything except getting to the buffet before the cheese blintzes run out. The truth is that there's a shady underbelly attached to the cruise business involving missing passengers, crimes on in-country excursions, and sexual assault.
A recent case hitting federal court in South Florida throws that final category into stark relief. A woman says that not only was she sexually assaulted by a crew member on her Carnival cruise but that the ship's security actively tried to keep her from reporting the crime.
The cruise Dana Hastings took with her two kids sounds like a horror show. According to a lawsuit filed recently, the Kansas resident and her two children were onboard the Carnival Triumph on February 20, 2014. It was then that Hastings was followed to her room by a crew member -- "believed to be the pit boss of the casino," the lawsuit says.
This crew member then "sexually assaulted and/or raped" Hastings inside her room. Her two children were inside the room while the attack happened and "heard and/or witnessed their mother... being raped."
Hastings allegedly reported the attack to the ship's security officer that day. The lawsuit says the ship's employees attempted to dissuade her from pressing charges and even forced her to "write a statement stating that she would not press charges against the alleged assailant."
We shot a call earlier this week to Hastings' attorney, Jason Margulies, but we haven't heard back.
Unfortunately, cruise rapes and sexual assaults are common. Way too common. The Triumph you might remember as the spectacularly dubbed "Poop Cruise," a name that stems from a February 2013 tour during which passengers were stranded for five days at sea without working toilets after an engine fire. Interestingly, it's been hinted there may have been sexual assaults on board during that incident.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Swenson.
Follow Kyle Swenson on Twitter:
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.