I’m sure by now everyone knows about the cruise ship that caught fire last week and ended up dead in the water. The fire happened early that Monday morning on the Carnival Splendor which is owned by Carnival Corporation.
For three days passengers were on the disabled ship without cabin lights, hot water, hot food and, for a day or so, flushing toilets. Yet it was hard for TV crews to find anyone faulting Carnival. Why?
The company did three things right that kept this ship’s problem from resulting in a public relations disaster.
The ship’s crew was quick, but calm in their response which kept everyone safe. They quickly came up with plans to feed and entertain the approximately 3,000 guests. Everyone had enough food even though the options were limited.
The ship’s bars provided no-cost beverages and the staff came up with no-power entertainment. Unfortunately, for sanitation reasons the pools were closed, so no water games!
Carnival Corporation offered full refunds and a free future cruise right away. This kept people from feeling they were losing money on a vacation gone bad.
Once the company was able to determine where and when the ship would disembark passengers, arrangements were made for transporting passengers to the originating port (Long Beach), the airport or hotels at no cost. Some even decided to enjoy San Diego for a couple of days.
The CEO of Carnival Cruise Line, Gerry Cahill, flew to San Diego in advance of the ship’s arrival to greet, and apologize to, passengers. This demonstrated the company’s commitment and conveyed the sense that they cared.
The ship is still disabled with cruises canceled until early 2011. However, Carnival Corporation came through the experience with mainly positive press.
I’m pleased to own stock in this company. Oh and we won’t be canceling our plans for a future Carnival cruise.