Cruise lines seems to be taking a beating these days. If it’s not a runaway virus that is sickening passengers, it’s a runaway ship that’s floating without power. Carnival Cruise Lines seems to be the latest victim of a business crisis that seems to go out of control at ward speed. Enter social media and complaining customers (or in this case, actual passengers tweeting their discomfort). It seems that the CEO’s first response is to claim that it’s all under control and that they are handling it alone. What a PR disaster! How would you recommend this company deal with the ongoing crisis?

Carnival_Triumph_Half_Moon_CayRead more Carnival Cruise Disaster


***Update: Another article asks the question about appropriate compensation. Apparently, customers have been offered a full refund, a voucher for another cruise and $500. Is this enough? See the article here.


16 thoughts on “Cruise Line Hell

  1. I would recommended the company to apologies, maybe even do a news conference and answer questions. In the conference they should say what is going to be done so this incident will never happen again. Apologies for their lack of support and tell everyone they try the best they can to keep every safe and comfort. They should check all cruise line for extra safety, maybe even bring extra supplies if an incident like this ever happens again. They should of gave them a warm place to stay after the people had been released, and I read a little bit about the Carnival Cruise Line on yahoo webpage, that there were around 4,200 people. Its going to cost money to find these 4,200 people a place to stay but at least now they can say they did their best. Maybe even offer a discount or something for their next cruise trip with their company. Because I believe people can learn from their mistakes and people can be forgiving, the only thing the company have to do is try. Their business might not be the first cruise ship company, people are going to think of but at least you can still earn their trust back. I’m glad no one died from this tragic and it was just a power outage. And maybe the CEO should have not said they had it all under control when they didn’t. He should of been out there help getting the ship back. He should apologies for that as well. There should be more planning for these unexpected events.

  2. I watched an evening news segment about the Carnival ship. The CEO of Carnival boarded the ship and made a personal apology to the passengers and crew for the giant disaster. I was surprised to learn that the 4-day luxury cruise turned into an 8-day ordeal. However, I can’t imagine towing a 13-story ship with over 4,000 passengers and crewmembers is a process that can be done in a hurry.

    The evening news program I watched showed footage from passengers cell phones of the ships sun decks on board turned into “tent-cities” since most cabin rooms were flooded with sewage. One of the passengers was interviewed and said, “I never want to hear the word ‘Cruise’ again!” However, she did praise the crew members for working around the clock to make sure they could do everything within their power to make passengers comfortable. Another woman was asked what the worse part about the experience and she quickly answered, “Not being about to use a working toilet.” I can imagine that most passengers would agree with that statement.

    After the ship docked in the Port of Alabama, passengers were placed in hotel’s and then bussed to New Orleans for flights home. Unfortunately one of the busses broke down on the way from Alabama to New Orleans! Hopefully that bus was up and running faster than the cruise ship!

    I know that Carnival Cruise Lines has had engine fires before that have stranded a ship at sea. In a past case, Carnival compensated passengers for the cost of the cruise, and gave them vouchers for a future cruise of their choosing. Given that was done in the past I expect the passengers of this most recent cruise will receive the same reimbursement.

    The end of the news segment did mention that, so far, one passenger is suing the cruise line, but it did not say for what specifically.

  3. Maybe I am sick in the head or a bit of a risk taker, but still I can’t help but think what kind of deals that may be coming out soon to entice customers to cruise. I was actually thinking of taking a cruise this summer after I graduate. Either way, stuff happens. I am glad to hear that the crew was accommodating and still working to make the guests as comfortable as possible. Not having a working toilet must have been terrible.

    1. Hahaha! You’re a deal seeker huh? It’s very true that this much negative publicity might slow down the cruise industry causing them to lower their prices. After hearing about this story for weeks I actually laughed when I saw the latest Carnival ad on TV. And then I found this great Jimmy Kimmel late night clip that I couldn’t resist posting for you.

  4. Personally, I would have admitted to the problem and accepted full responsibility for the crisis. I also would have went out of my way to please those affected. I would have offered a free future cuise or even a money offer for time/work loss. This is a large enough company to financially take care of those involved, it will shed negative light on them if they don’t. The media has done an over the top job covering this story and now it is time for the company to step up and show their true colors.

    1. I have to agree with the fact that the company has the financial means to cover and exceed the compensation to its customers. I feel like if they went above and beyond and wowed the customers involved and assured them that this type of crisis will never happen again. However, since they did not go above and beyond, the company has been under heavy attack by PR and has had numerous amounts of dissatisfied customers.

  5. I tried commenting on this entry a few days ago, but for some reason, my comment did not get posted. I promise it wasn’t spam! I saw some news coverage of the incident, and although the CEO said he had the issue under control when it wasn’t, I think he eventually pulled through by making a public apology, reimbursing every cruise guest with $500, a free plane ride home, a full refund for their trip, and a credit for another cruise. My parents just returned home from a cruise, with another ship, and I asked them their opinion on the matter. They have stock with Carnival, who own a number of other cruise lines, and apparently, their stock prices have not suffered from this disaster. My dad said if he had been on this particular Carnival Cruise he would have taken the credit and just went on another cruise. He and my mom are retired and spend their golden years traveling.

    1. Spring: I think that’s interesting that your parents said they’d still go on one. I went on a cruise when I was 16 and it was not a good experience. The weather made it so that all of our extra activities (the ones that make the cruise actually fun: snorkeling, kayaking, etc.) were all cancelled. One day, instead of going to Catalina Island, we literally parked the boat in the middle of the sea and stayed there all day. Obviously it wasn’t as bad as what happened above, but to this day I’m not sure if I’d ever go on a cruise again. And obviously I realize that the cruise line couldn’t affect the weather, but it sounds like from what happened with this cruise line, it could have been avoided. I think the compensation seems fair, and although the whole “acting like everything is in order” thing is usually never effective, I think it is in this incidence. They don’t want to cause a panic amongst the passenger’s relatives (people not on the cruise) before the passengers have all returned home.

  6. I think that the company has to take all responsibility and realize how their reputation can suffer from it. They have to make the passenger thik that it was an accident and that they will be likely to travel with them again. A cruise crush occurred a few month ago in Italy, and the polemic in Europe today is knowing if the captain was in danger or if he really left the boat because he was scared. This is not the image that the passenger need to have post-crash. An this is not what will make potential future passenger choose this company oven another one. They have to care a lot of care of the passenger and making public apologies.

  7. The CEO should totally not say the situation was under control. It was probably the most irresponsible thing people wanted to hear while they were still crying in the ship and waiting for their families to take them home. It was a PR failure. The CEO’s irresponsible announcement only send people even worse thoughts to the company. It ruined the company’s reputation for sure.

    While I was writing my PR homework case, I thought that CEOs actions and attitudes when companies were in trouble could always affect whether companies solve problems. CEOs not only are acting as the most decision makers, but also they are likely to be good PR person in their companies.

    1. I completely agree that saying the situation is under control is something that shouldn’t be said. I would rather hear, “We are WORKING ON getting the situation under control.” Nothing makes me more upset than being something is ok when it is clearly not, just to make it look like it’s not a big problem.

      In a situation like this I think it’s extremely hard to bounce back from. Everyone is in a panic and your reputation is going down. The first thing I would do is make a public apology. I wouldn’t say everything is under control but I would lay out all the problems and the steps to addressing each one.I would be sure to include how consumers would be reimbursed for the inconvenience. As for the bashing on social media, I would ensure a team was responding from the company to complaints – whether it be an apology or a suggestion of how they can make it up.

  8. Its really unfortunate that this incident had taken place to the extent where passengers suffered a great deal. If I were in this position, I know for sure I wouldn’t ever travel by cruise in the future. Having said that I think it was fair enough that the passengers were accommodated hotel rooms in new orleans, however perhaps direct flights to the residents city would also be a fair option as well. I think since there were no deaths, thats the most important aspect.
    If any serious injuries did occur, this could impact the credibility of carnival cruise.
    However coming from a pr perspective I think that there should be a clear communication from the the company towards the public in terms of how the crisis has occurred. However I think more accommodations and reimbursements should be given to customers for suffering the trauma.

  9. for this i would the company to apologize,
    a friend of mine was in one of these cruise that had a problem in it and made them 3 days late, he said he really enjoyed it because he didn’t feel that there was any problem in the cruse and the party was still going + he got a free ticket + 500 Dolores as a compliment

  10. I do not see this company making it out of this one alive. If they do not die today they will die tomorrow. You simply cannot do these things to your customers. It scares them for life. Which means your reputation gets worse and worse and worse the more people they tell. It spreads exponentially.

    These people were eating ketchup and onion sandwiches when they could get food, and they were using restrooms without sanitary requirements. The company did the right thing giving those people lots of shit, but what does that matter? It was too late.

    The company blew the pooch on this one, they needed to react instantaneously and get rid of this disaster before it happened. I am not currently up to date with this company’s well-being after the incident, it would not surprise me in the least if it were too late

  11. I would accept full responsibly for the crisis. In addition, I would apologize to all of the customers I may have had. Explain to them that the crisis will never happen again, and possibly explain why it had happened. When a CEO does not take responsibility for their own actions and or actions of their company it makes them look as though they are guilty and or that they do not want to face the consequences of the actions that occurred. In addition, I see it as almost impossible for this company to come out alive. I know that I would not ever chose to purchase a cruise with this particular company. Once your reputation is ruined it is almost impossible to redeem yourself unless you have a good PR plan it will be difficult to come up from this mess.

  12. I doubt I will ever book a Carnival cruise. They experience PR crisis after PR crisis. One of the most alarming pieces in the article was a travel agent from Houston saying, “Typically, when these things happen, cruise lines will give vouchers for only a portion of the cruise.” It’s amazing that the industry would even try to justify the meager compensation against the illnesses Carnival did cause and the the potential risk of life that could have been. This incident involved a ship that experienced known mechanical failures before being sent to sea. Carnival should be making greater attempts into looking at how they run their operations and what changes they could make to ensure safer travel than simply worrying about how much their most recent incident is going to cost them. They aren’t very forward-looking oriented when it comes to evaluating what will save them the most money in the long term.

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