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Potential impact to Carnival, cruise industry after Triumph debacle

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Cheers of joy and relief from the passengers of the Carnival Triumph as it pulled into Mobile, Alabama Thursday night.

It was the end of the harrowing five-day ordeal without power, plumbing and limited food following a fire in the engine room.

Only time will tell the impact on the Carnival cruise company, but local travel agencies are beginning to feel it.

“We did have one client call in and cancel a Carnival trip that they had planned later for this year,” said Courtney Bailey, customer relations director for Travel Time and Bailey Travel.

Bailey stresses that cruising is one the safest ways to travel, more than 20 million people took cruises in 2011.

“I don’t foresee this hitting the cruising industry really hard,” she said. “Carnival is going to take a bad rap for a while for this. I definitely think they’re going to take a thorough analysis of the situation that happened and I foresee if taking months for them to investigate so that this never happens again.”

Every cruise passenger signs a lengthy ticket contract. A clause in the contract limits the cruise lines liability if something goes wrong aboard the ship. But FOX43’s legal analyst Steven Breit said these passengers still have a shot in court, if they chose to go that route.

“At best, what would have to be shown, is that Carnival Cruise acted with gross negligence or malice in how they not only handled the situation, but how the situation occurred,” he said.

Breit said the laws also differ depending on where the ship was located when the incident happened and where it’s registered.

For now, Carnival is offering passengers a full refund, plus $500, expenses to get home and credit for a future cruise.


  • HowIgnorantRU?

    With all of the reports and interviews, it was a freak happenstance that has less of a chance of occurring than a car breakdown. The staff behaved well. The cruise line was apologetic, reacted fast, apologized and reimbursed generously. Some people dealt with it as just a bad stroke of luck and other over-dramatic pansies think it was the end of the world. It wasn't Gilligan's Island or the Titanic. They had a cruise that turned into a camping trip part way through. How much of this is media-hyped?

    • jlb78

      You are correct, the media over-hyped this as always. I feel for those who have health problems and had bad experience because of their health issues. I am grateful though for some of the stories because it gave me reason to do research into the cruise industry and their statistics of how often this type of situation occurs. Which is apparently frequently.

      • HowIgnorantRU?

        I do have to retract that it was simply a luxurious cruise turned camping trip part way through. Apparently there was sewage that flowed onto the floors of the lower decks. That would be most uncomfortable to not be able to escape.

        Of course the lower-deck passengers who had to evacuate to outside decks would be impacted more than the upper deck passengers. So some had really bad luck while others had good luck depending on their location. You pay more to be on the upper decks and it paid off.

        • jlb78

          There is a video on CNN.com that pretty much shows how disgusting it was. A man recorded on his phone the scene of the sewage leaking down the ship walls. Now THAT put things into perspective for me as far as how gross the conditions got to be. He said he heard what sounded like dripping water in an elevator and it turned out to be sewage. I hope these people don't contract a disease or anything from having been exposed to such awful air pollutants.

          The CNN news anchor lady said they could smell the awful smells coming from the ship as they were standing nearby. Uck!

  • jlb78

    The true impact to Carnival will be how they handle maintenance on aging ships and the quality control on ensuring this does not happen again. What kind of quality control program do they have when there are people who traveled on the Triumph the week prior to this cruise and have said that the ship experienced engine problems then?

    We will see if Carnival has learned their lesson when this occurs again, because if they do not overhaul their maintenance and QC program on their ships, it will without a doubt happen again.

    Let this be a lesson learned for all other cruise lines too. Make sure you have a well-executable contingency plan in the event something unfortunate as this happens.

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