Carnival’s Tone-Deaf Response to Cruise Ship Tilt

As passengers from the Carnival Sunshine cruise voyage that tilted dangerously over the weekend begin to tell their stories, it is hard to ignore the difference between what they say and what the cruise line reports.

Passengers recount fearing for their lives as the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship listed dangerously Sunday, reportedly due to a mechanical failure. Sensing that they were in imminent danger, passengers began to take cover as furniture and dishes tumbled and broke. Children cried as their parents worried. One passenger even reported that travelers rushed to the higher-up side of the ship in an attempt to add weight to it and balance the vessel out.

It stands to reason that Carnival Cruise Line would address passenger’s negative experiences by acknowledging the seriousness of the situation, and by compensating them appropriately. But instead Carnival seems to be more concerned with protecting its reputation. In a statement, the company insists that “there was never any issue with the safe operation of the ship.” This cookie-cutter assertion flies in the face of the obvious fact that tilting a 2,000-passenger cruise ship on its side for 60 seconds, while it is filled with passengers, does not constitute safe operation of the ship.

At least one passenger suggested that the company offered a $50 onboard credit as compensation for the incident. Predictably, for many this offer amounted to little more than adding insult to injury.