In July 2018, actress Stephanie Hernandez boarded Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas to film a commercial promoting the cruise ship’s new Sky Pad, an attraction billed as “an out-of-this-world bungee trampoline experience.” Hernandez says that after being strapped into an ill-fitting harness, she was told to perform a series of jumps and backflips. By the time the shoot was over, she was in serious pain — so much so she sought out the onboard doctor before disembarking.
Hernandez subsequently learned she had suffered fractured ribs during the shoot, which also led to lingering back problems. Late last month, she filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean alleging the Sky Pad was unsafe and the cruise line didn’t warn her about the dangers of its bungee trampoline.
“They really weren’t using the proper equipment at the time,” her attorney, Brett Rivkind, tells New Times. “And the operators of the Sky Pad were not really trained appropriately to prevent those types of injuries and to warn the people about them.”
Hernandez isn’t the only person who claims to have been injured on the Sky Pad, which was unveiled in early 2018. This past February, passenger Casey Holladay says, he fell 20 feet to the ground after the bungee cord on the trampoline snapped while he was strapped into a harness. Holladay spent nine days in the hospital with a broken pelvis and a dislocated shoulder and later filed a $10 million lawsuit against Royal Caribbean. That suit is pending.
As part of our commitment to safety, we are temporarily taking Sky Pad out of service on Mariner of Seas and Independence of the Seas.
— Royal Caribbean (@RoyalCaribbean) April 8, 2019
After Holladay’s lawsuit made national news, the cruise line took Sky Pad out of service to perform safety testing. The bungee trampoline is back up and running.
“The attraction is currently in service following a rigorous review of operations and safety protocols,” Royal Caribbean spokesman Jonathon Fishman writes in an email. “We operate all our ships safely, professionally and responsibly, and we are confident that all appropriate measures are in place to ensure the safety of our guests.”
Fishman declined to discuss Hernandez’s allegations because the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Rivkind, who also represents Holladay, says passengers should be cautious about increasingly “extreme” attractions on cruises, which he says in some cases were not engineered to be operated on a moving ship.
“People think it’s like going to Disney World — that because it’s Royal Caribbean or Carnival, that means they’re safe,” Rivkind says. “And my experience has found that not to be the case.”