This story might make you think twice about taking a cruise. Based on extensive documentary evidence and interviews, Tom Warren and Anna Betts paint a portrait of an industry riddled with wrongdoing: sexual assaults — the crime most often reported on cruise ships, according to the FBI — inadequate investigation, potential coverups, and more. It’s like one of the central storylines of Succession come to life:
By midnight, the party was in full flow. [Jane] Doe decided to run around the cruise decks. As she ran up a stairwell, a Carnival crew member was waiting for her. According to a complaint filed in 2019, which BuzzFeed News reviewed, she claimed he then lured her into a closet and locked the door.
“I remember being scared seeing him holding the lock, so I started asking him where he was from to, like, calm the situation down, and he just kept saying that I looked like his girlfriend,” Doe recalled during her deposition.
She said the crew member then raped her and ejaculated on her.
When the assailant finally unlocked the closet door, Doe immediately rushed to her room. According to her deposition, she was pursued by the employee, who caught up with her and asked to be let into her cabin. She declined and closed the door behind her.
Once inside, Doe burst into tears and told her friend what had happened, she recalled in her deposition. She began having a panic attack and hyperventilating. She and her friend immediately reported the alleged crime to Carnival guest services.
Doe was placed in a wheelchair and taken to the ship’s medical facility. When she told the doctor what had occurred, Doe said the medic apologized and told her, “Unfortunately, this happens all the time.”