Cruise NewsCruise Ship Tragedy: Child Drowns on the Norwegian Breakaway

Cruise Ship Tragedy: Child Drowns on the Norwegian Breakaway

Tragedy struck on a cruise ship headed to Florida and the Bahamas on Monday morning.  Two small children, both boys ages 6 and 4,  had to be rescued from one of the adult pools on the Norwegian Breakaway.  Both children were unresponsive at the time they were found and were quickly given CPR by the ship’s medical staff.

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The older child was airlifted by the U.S. Coast Guard to CarolinaEast Medical Center along with the child’s grandmother and a nurse from the ship and is recovering in stable condition at Vidant Medical Center.  The younger child was unable to be resuscitated and passed away on board.

The incident happened 35 nautical miles east of Morehead City, North Carolina.  The names of the children are being withheld at this time.

The Norwegian Breakaway is currently on a 7 night cruise out of New York with stops in Port Canaveral, Florida, Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas (Norwegian’s private island); and Nassau, Bahamas.  The cruise ship left New York on Sunday afternoon.

This past October, a 6 year old boy downed in one of the pools on the Carnival Victory.  Most cruise ships currently do not have lifeguards to watch over the pools on board.  Disney Cruise Line is the only line that staffs lifeguards at the pools on their ships.  However, it is likely that there will be a renewed call for staffed lifeguards on more cruise lines after these 2 tragedies.

The 4,000 passenger Norwegian Breakaway is the largest cruise ship to sail out of the Port of New York.  The ship has been in service since the spring of 2013.  The Breakaway is the the 2nd largest cruise ship in Norwegian’s fleet and 8th largest cruise ship in the world.

Cruise Fever will continue to monitor this tragedy and will update this page as more information becomes available.  We would also like to extend our condolences to the family of the child that passed away.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Cruise NewsCruise Ship Tragedy: Child Drowns on the Norwegian Breakaway


  1. This is a very sad story that hits home for me having a 4 year old son. I just returned from my 6th cruise last week. I couldn’t believe the amount of unsupervised children running around. I am not sure if the parents feel like they are on vacation and the children are safe so they become lazy in watching them or what. It’s truly sad. I cannot judge without knowing all the details but I can say from experience that some parents need to wake up. A vacation with children may not always be relaxing. You need to watch those little ones at ALL times. Now if the cruise line had them in splash academy and had the responsibility of watching them that’s a whole different ball game………however I find it hard to believe the cruise line would bring them to the deeper midship pool area. NCL has been very professional and safe and I have cruised on NCL 3 times. My condolences to the family during this tragedy 🙁

  2. This is very sad for everyone involved, the children, families and crew members. Even if there were life guards it would not matter, then the parents would blame them. Parents need to take responsibility for their own children. We have been on 17 NCL cruises, including the Breakaway, and yes the pools are small but all the more reason for parents to be able to watch their kids. The problem is parents are sitting there reading, texting, drinking and talking, not paying attention to the kids. We only hope that Dr. Soto and Nurse Lorraine were there to help try to revive these kids. They did everything in their power to survive me and get me on the helicopter, with the help of the Coast Guard, they saved me from 18 fatal arrthmias in May. I am still here because of the hospital, nursing staff and of course Captain Hoyt of the Breakaway. And my husband was able to fly to Virginia to be with me 2 days later from Bermuda, with the help of Ruthie the Concierge and the cruise staff, getting plane tickets and transfers and all for him. Dr. Soto chose to stay with me to make sure I was ok and thank goodness he did because I had 3 more fatal arrthmias on the helicopter. So we have been there and know what it is like to have an emergency at sea. The final story is parents have to watch their kids 24 hours a day without distractions.

  3. As of a 9 months ago, Disney did not staff their pools with lifeguards. Has this changed recently, or is the article incorrect?

  4. My condolences to the parents – but – where were they? The children were in an adult pool which means the parents must be with them!

  5. Where were the parents? Grandmother was on board too, where was she? Parents are responsible to watch their children at all times especially aboard a ship. I do not feel it’s the cruise lines fault this tragedy happened. My heart breaks for the family over the loss of their little boy. Child’s life cut short because no one was watching such a shame.

  6. Agreed, prayers to the family.

    I do feel it is important for families to realize they are also responsible for watching their children.

    • Very sad, but agree with Debra that parents have to be responsible as well. Although having lifeguards would be a nice idea, not having them isn’t any different than most any hotel pools among other places that instruct you to swim at your own risk as their is no lifeguard.

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