Friday, February 15, 2013
The disabled Carnival Cruise Lines ship is back in port. The CEO is making personal apologies. The company is offering refunds to passengers and inducements to return for another cruise some time in the future. For some passengers, that is not enough. The idea of going on another vacation with any line is out of the question. Carnival was caught in a media vise. The ship went dead far out to sea and for days, there were reports of horrid conditions on the vessel before it reached land. Passengers vented by cell phone. Helicopters hovered over the craft and took video of stranded people below. There was no clear explanation of how an engine room fire could knock out so many essential services. Perhaps the company doesn't know, but the government is going to find out, and there is a good chance that negative headlines will bash the company in the months to come. In terms of a PR disaster, the incident could hardly be more complete, other than the sinking of the ship. Carnival has enormous work to do on its reputation in the months to come. It recognizes that, but will it be enough?