It seems that everywhere they go, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class cruise ships elicit interest, even from the US Navy, which on Friday allegedly ‘buzzed’ Harmony of the Seas without warning.
Harmony of the Seas was on the final night of a Caribbean cruise, somewhere between Cuba and the Florida Keys when the incident reportedly occurred.
At 5.30pm a jet flew “what sounded like ten feet above the top of the ship. Everyone on the port [side] ran out to their balconies to see what happened… lots of passengers yelling from balcony to balcony asking what happened” according to a passenger that contacted Cruise Law News.
It’s not unusual for Oasis-class ships to attract the attention of aircraft and drones. You Tube has many ‘drone chase’ videos, especially of the Oasis-class ships and Harmony of the Seas, which was (until recently) the largest cruise ship in the world.
However, its fairly unusual for aircraft, and especially military jets to make such a dramatic, close fly-by. In 2016, a French air force jet allegedly buzzed Norwegian Breakaway. The You Tube video has since been removed, but is still available on Fox News, according to Cruise Law News.
Also in 2016, Celebrity Cruises most famous cruise ship master, Captain Kate McCue posted a video on Instagram of a jet making a high-speed, low-altitude fly-by next to Celebrity Summit. It appears that event was pre-planned as aerial photographs from the flight were later published.
View this post on Instagram
Not sure how you managed to capture these awesome shots of #celebritysummit during your Falcon 50 fly-by at 500+ mph, Captain Frederic, but they, along with the fancy flying, are much appreciated! #birdseyeview #falcon #frenchnavy #atseaforall #fancyflying @celebritycruises #flyby #training #exercise #vivalafrance #speed #angels #thesoundismyfavoritepart
The fly-by of Harmony of the Seas on Friday, however, was not, and reportedly shocked a lot of passengers. Captain Johnny Faevelen, the master of Harmony of the Seas, later took to Twitter to say that it was most likely a US Navy jet.
We had no information about this event, but believe it was US as we spotted a aircraft carrier in the area earlier today.
— Johnny Faevelen (@HarleyCaptain) September 15, 2019
While Chinese and Russian fighter jets buzzing US and Royal Navy ships in the South China Sea and Baltics is generally understood to be a sign of aggression, its likely the US Navy, if it was indeed behind the fly-by of Harmony of the Seas, just wanted to show off for her passengers.
For passengers it can be alarming though, especially coming just days after commemorations of the 9/11 attacks in New York.