Is Carnival cruising for a bruising?

It sure is. And it’s aching for a breaking. What on earth, or should I say water, are these people thinking? Anton Chekhov sure missed the mark when he said, “Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.” Apparently not these idiots. From the people who brought you the cruise from hell, who also happen to be the owners of the Costa Concordia (yes, that’s the ship that’s doing its best imitation of the movie Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) now comes the worst handling of a public relations crisis for all of 2013 – and it’s still February. Idiots.

Let’s just tally up the initial mistakes. Five hundred dollars for all. Whoa. That’s a staggering outlay of $1.5 million. Granted, not exactly chump change to you and me, but to a corporation that raked in profits of $11.5 billion over the last five years – and that, incidentally, paid only 1.1% in taxes to Uncle Sam because it’s headquartered in the Bahamas, even though virtually all its employees (including all executives) are headquartered in Miami – that’s petty cash even to the chief petty officer. How do you know that’s bad publicity? When The New York Times runs that story you’re as dry-docked as the dried-out cod in the Carnival’s Grand Seafood Buffet. Guys, a cool grand sounds so much better than half a G.

A credit for a free cruise on … you guessed it, Carnival Cruise Lines. These people are so self-absorbed they actually thought this was a reward, and people would welcome the credit. It’s no wonder passengers were overheard saying, “Contact me if you’re looking for a free cruise.” Can you imagine the positive publicity Carnival would have received if it had offered a free cruise on another line’s cruise ship? But these guys are too shortsighted to see how that could have benefited the entire industry, and in the long run, benefited themselves. Or what about actually offering a vacation credit on dry land? Wait one second, that would actually be offering something that a customer would want; bon voyage and good riddance to that idea.


I’m sorry, but the same tired old CEO response of I’m sorry is so old-school. As we saw photos and video of feces cruising down the corridors, people sleeping outside on mattresses to avoid the stench, and long lines waiting for food-like substances, where were Micky Arison and CEO Gerry Cahill? I don’t know where they were, but they weren’t where they should have been: onboard, cleaning up the mess they caused. Now that’s good publicity. And if you’re into social sentiment and digital boogety boogety – and you better be – it’s hard to believe this company went AWOL. The only positive sentiment from all of this was generated by the hardworking and professional crew that had to deal with the most unthinkable, most disgusting you-know-what. Yet Carnival failed to capitalize on the one positive sentiment that was available to them. Self-absorbed you-know-whats.

I’ll probably never go on a Carnival cruise anyway, but who knows? Maybe I should never say never because when my kids have kids there might be a special “too good to be true” AARP discount for stuff like that. But I doubt it. I just can’t take a voyage on a cruise line that bases its public relations efforts on its own name.

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