Cruises are supposed to be happy, carefree moments of maritime bliss; what could go wrong on a vacation on the sea? In reality, there have been a shocking number of cruise ship disappearances, and over 165 people have gone missing since 1995. Cruise ships traverse the vast oceans and often maintain entertainment options into the wee hours of the night, and there's certainly no shortage of libations flowing for those onboard. Some passengers have fallen overboard, while other guests have disappeared via more mysterious means.
Investigations into such disappearances can often be inconclusive, as missing passengers are frequently never found, dead or alive. And while security footage can sometimes provide clues, some videos have produced more questions than they have answered. For that reason, the families of many cruise ship victims have written about their tragic experiences in an attempt to increase awareness about cruise ship safety.
The disappearance of Amy Lynn Bradley is a very bizarre story. Bradley was a 23-year-old woman from Virginia who went missing while on a Royal Caribbean International cruise with her family in March of 1998. On the evening she disappeared, Bradley was hanging out at a club on the ship. She shared a drink with members of the house band after their set, then went off on her own at about 1 am, according to one of the bandmates. Bradley was later spotted by her father at about 5:30 am, and he said she was asleep on the balcony of their cabin. But by 6 am, Bradley had vanished. At the time of her disappearance, the ship had been headed from Aruba to Curaçao, Antilles. The ship docked as the search for Bradley began. A pair of tourists claimed to have seen Bradley in Curaçao, saying they recognized her tattoos, yet Bradley remained missing.
In 1999, a Navy man claimed to have encountered her in a brothel. He said she told him her name and asked for help, saying she was being held captive there. In 2005, someone said they saw Bradley in Barbados. On an episode of Dr. Phil, Bradley's parents said they had been sent a photo of a woman that could have been Bradley via an anonymous sender. In the photo, the woman is scantily dressed, which adds fuel to the theory that Bradley was kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery.
Rebecca Coriam, 24, was an employee on the Disney Wonder cruise ship. She disappeared on May 22, 2011 as the ship was sailing off the coast of Mexico. She was spotted on surveillance video talking on one of the ship’s internal phones and appeared upset. Another passenger approached her and asked her if she was okay, to which she appeared to say yes. She then hung up and walked away.
The most common theories are that she was swept overboard while at the crew pool, or that she jumped or fell from Deck 5. Yet no theory is particularly compelling, and what truly happened remains a mystery. Some say one of her sandals was found near the crew pool, and a rough-enough sea could have swept her overboard despite its high walls. Others say she was in a turbulent relationship and could have been upset, yet her family states that she would have never willingly gone overboard. Even authorities clash over what really happened to Rebecca Coriam, with some stating it was a simple, yet tragic case of someone slipping overboard and others alleging foul play.
George Smith disappeared from the MS Brilliance of the Seas in July of 2005. He and his new bride, Jennifer, were on a two-week Mediterranean honeymoon cruise and were headed from Greece to Turkey. It is believed that Smith went overboard, but how that happened is a mystery.
The Smiths had dinner before engaging in a long night of drinking. Both were reported to have been very, very drunk. The Smiths' on-ship neighbor said he later heard loud talking, an argument, and a thud coming from the Smiths' cabin. Blood was later found on the canopy beneath the cabin, indicating that Smith had fallen or had been pushed. Jennifer was not with Smith when he went missing. She had wandered off elsewhere and passed out in a hallway. She was woken up and led back to her cabin by crew members in the morning, where neither she nor the crew members noticed anything amiss. Jennifer slept three hours before heading to a massage appointment. She claims to not remember much of the night prior, and to this day, no one admits to knowing what happened to Smith. Some believe he was shoved overboard by men he encountered at the casino, while others believe, in his state of intoxication, he became disoriented and fell.
Fariba Amani, a 47-year-old Vancouver, Canada, woman, vanished in February of 2012. She was on a Bahamas Celebration cruise with her boyfriend of eight months at the time, 46-year-old Ramiz Golshani.
Golshani said he last saw Amani at the ship's gift shop at about 1 am before heading to the casino alone. When he returned to their cabin, she was not there, and he went to sleep. In the morning, at about 7 am, he awoke and looked for her. After an hour, he told the ship's crew that he could not locate his companion. They, too, searched for Amani, but she was never seen again.
Amani’s sister said that her sister's relationship was troubled and that Amani even once considered hiring a private investigator to see if Golshani was cheating on her. However, there is no concrete evidence to suggest foul play was involved in Golshani's disappearance, and what truly happened to her remains a mystery.