Archive | April, 2013

Carnival Cruises – Travel at your own risk

22 Apr

In light of the string of Carnival Cruise Line catastrophes, Carnival declared it will spend up to $700 million to prevent further blackouts and fires on its ships. Over the past couple years, Carnival has had a cumbersome time with it’s fleet, given the constant engineering casualties, and now, its failed health inspections.Image

From a public relations perspective, the first question in my mind is how to regain trust with customers. Most people take cruises because of the all-inclusive luxuries that come with sailing the open ocean and the ability to travel from port to port. When a fleet of cruise ships has a myriad of problems including breaking down in the middle of the ocean leaving its passengers without plumbing and hot water, how can the company alleviate concerns and mitigate the risk to customers?

Carnival’s response to the engineering mishaps is to order an operational enhancement of the company’s fleet of 101 ships. The company has taken to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to disseminate information on the company’s overhaul, but Carnival will need to continue its costly efforts and fix issues far beyond potential fires and blackouts.

To accompany the bad press on the ever-apparent engineering issues, the company also received a failing score on their health inspection on the cruise liner Fascination, citing that “flies and roach nymphs were found in a drain below a juice dispenser, in a pantry, in a room service area, and in an under-counter compartment in a kitchen,” amongst other problems involving no paper towels in a bathroom and not enough chlorine in the swimming areas.

In response to the failing score of the Fascination, Carnival’s spokesperson, Vance Gulliksen, was commented saying they have taken corrective actions and all issues will be resolved within 24 hours. They’ve also requested a re-inspection as soon as possible.

There’s no question that Carnival has had many PR crises recently and needs to ensure that their brand doesn’t continue to deteriorate in public opinion. One effort the company has made to combat it’s tarnished reputation is the video series on the company’s website depicting the beautifully overhauled Destiny to be renamed Sunshine. After reading the dirty details of the cruise line sanitation debacle, I couldn’t help being enticed by the new restaurants and lido deck this redone ship will offer. Perhaps I’m just asking for food-borne illnesses, or maybe the PR efforts are indeed bringing a hint of trust back into potential passengers. From the posts on Carnival’s Facebook page, not everyone is deterred from taking a Carnival vacation.