Royal Caribbean Awards Family of Missing Passenger $1.3 Million

Published Jan 17, 2011 4:20 PM by The Maritime Executive

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit surrounding the estate of George Smith IV, who vanished on his honeymoon cruise in 2005. The settlement in the amount of $1.3 million will go to Smith’s family, his wife and parents.

George and Jennifer Hagel-Smith were on a Royal Caribbean cruise, sailing the Aegean Sea, for their honeymoon in 2005 when George went missing. George’s body, which left bloodstains on an exterior overhang of the ship, was never found.

In 2008, Smith’s parents contested the cruise lines initial award of $1.1 million with a lawsuit; saying that their son’s earning capacity was greater than that. During the course of the lawsuit, Smith’s parents accused their former daughter-in-law of settling quickly to avoid embarrassing details of that night.

George’s parents also have stated that what they have spent investigating their son’s death far exceeds their portion of the settlement. The Smith’s portion of the new settlement is $300,000 while in the initial settlement they were given only $50,000.

With the settlement Royal Caribbean has also agreed to release all documentation they have of the disappearance including witness statements. The Smith family hopes these documents contain new evidence to help them solve the mystery of what happened to their son.

The parents of George Smith IV have always believed foul play was involved in their sons death, while his widow says that prescription drugs and alcohol may have led to an accidental fall. Passengers onboard reported hearing a thump around the time Smith went missing. Jennifer Hagel-Smith was found asleep in a corridor on the other side of the ship.

Witnesses onboard reported seeing the couple drinking and partying the night of the George’s disappearance.

The FBI has told the family that the case remains open.

Pictured: George and Jennifer Smith on their honeymoon