A Tale of Two Cruises By:Madi Baublis
It is no secret that this winter has been one for the books with plenty of snow storms to drive New Englanders crazy. Many families are looking to vacation somewhere warm in the months to come, especially if they were unable to get out during the heart of winter. However with the recent Carnival Cruise Ship disaster, stepping on board a ship may be out of the question.
For the 4,200 individuals on the Carnival Triumph, including guests and crew, their 4-day dream cruise quickly came to a halt. The 900-foot Carnival Cruise Group ship sailed out of Galveston, TX only to get stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for four days.
Guests endured horrible conditions on the ship due to a small fire in the engine room. There was a power outage throughout the entire boat which meant no running water, no refrigerated food, and limited activities. Hungry individuals waited in line for up to four hours for food and received nothing but stale vegetables while the meats and lobsters were going bad in refrigerators. With running water out of the picture guests were given “red bags” to use as waste receptacles, only after there were sewage spills into halls and rooms. The top deck of the ship had become an area of refuge for passengers trying to escape the horrendous smells and find fresh air.
The crew did a good job of trying to appease the guests with free beer and wine, but that wouldn’t be enough for this situation. With past crisis experience, the Carnival Cruise Group did a noble job of mediating the situation quickly and professionally. Eventually the ship returned to stable ground in Alabama. Vacationers were granted a full refund of the trip, a credit for another cruise with Carnival, $500 and a free flight home, and a complementary hotel room for the night. Carnival Cruise Group was not able to remedy this experience for everyone but they certainly strived to please all passengers momentarily.
Because there is a Bahamian flag flying high on the ship, the Bahamas Maritime Authority will serve as the primary investigative agency for the dilemma, but will receive help from the U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board.
Our CEO Tara Goodwin Frier has also been a victim of a “cruise gone bad”, but conversely did not go through the same resolution process. Several years ago Tara’s husband, Ted, surprised her with a 3-day Norwegian Cruise to Nowhere for Mother’s Day. This cruise was non-stop, going up and down the East coast to Canada and back to Boston. It was built up by Norwegian Cruise lines to be a romantic weekend getaway.
Upon boarding the ship Tara immediately recognized that their cabin did not have a window, which was a result of late booking. Being as claustrophobic as Tara is this was not ideal, but she tried to keep a positive attitude. To get out of their cabin Tara and her husband went to grab a cocktail in the lounge. They were unaware that it would take a little over an hour to receive their drinks, and come to find out the drinks were not what they had ordered. While sitting in the lounge, discussing the weekend to come, she had realized how other passengers were viewing this 3-day cruise—to everyone else on board, this ‘Cruise to Nowhere’ was the perfect opportunity to drink excessively. This caused the ship to run out of certain brands of alcohol and seemed to be the start of a downhill spiral.
The Friers kept an open mind going in to day two on the boat, but that was quickly damaged when they stepped onto the deck. Extremely rough seas were sending the ship in every which way and the weather was cold, raw, and rainy. Due to the harsh conditions, several areas of the ship were roped off with the intent to keep people inside. Ted had suggested Tara go to the spa to attempt relaxation—a great thought—but because of the situation, peace and tranquility were not on her side. Tara was beginning to feel sea sick from the rough seas, and quickly found that the majority of passengers were feeling the same way.
On the final day while exiting the ship people were expressing their anger and verbally announcing how terrible the cruise was. Tara admits to kissing the Boston ground once her and Ted were finally off of the vessel. Granted, this disaster was not as severe as the Carnival Triumph catastrophe, it can still be considered a bad vacation. Norwegian Cruise lines did not remedy the situation as Carnival had; the Friers never received any form of compensation regarding the condition of the trip—or even an apology. There was nothing that showed Norwegian Cruise lines valued the passengers on the Cruise to Nowhere.
Large corporations have a reputation to uphold, whether it is on a national or a global scale such as Carnival or a more personal scale such as Norwegian. Though each cruise line essentially lost customers for future vacations, the Carnival Cruise Group may have swayed some negative reactions with the refunds and credits they distributed. Everyone makes mistakes, but owning up to those mistakes is what keeps the American public happy and willing to forgive so easily.