OK, this isn’t funny anymore. Yesterday the Carnival Triumph — the very same cruise ship that tempted many journalists to turn the phrase “poop deck” into a horrible pun — broke loose from a dock near Mobile, Alabama, and knocked two people into the Mobile River. One of the men is still missing. Thankfully, no passengers were aboard and all staffers have been accounted for.
The ship drifted for several hours before being returned to its dock position and surrounded by tugboats for good measure. The cause of this incident was “hurricane-force winds” in the gulf that had nothing to do with Carnival — but of course that doesn’t matter a whole lot to the public.
We honestly don’t know what Carnival can do to combat the cascade of bad news beyond what it’s already done: issuing sincere public apologies, offering refunds to everyone involved and getting ready to defend itself from a class-action lawsuit. Last month New York Senator Chuck Schumer proposed a “bill of rights” for cruise passengers that would give them more power in the case of such technical failures and require every ship to have both a backup power source and a team trained in emergency response.
We have a strong suspicion that the cruise industry doesn’t like Schumer’s proposal. But it’s not like they have any other options at this point.