Triumph Incident Raises Concerns
The recent disastrous trip of the Carnival Triumph cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico has many questioning how the industry will react. Carnival has scrambled to make amends, offering passengers full refunds, future discounts, $500 in compensation, and full accommodations until they got home. But that hasn't prevented the first lawsuit over the Triumph, filed Friday in federal court by a Brazoria County woman seeking unspecified damages. Linda de Sosa, Vice President of Woodlake Travel in Houston, has booked many cruises over the years and understands the nature of the business. "They tend to use older ships for the shorter cruises, because people go for the length of the cruise, as opposed to for the specific ship," she tells KTRH. The Triumph is one of those "shorter cruises," which are generally 4 or 5 days as opposed to 7-day cruises on larger, newer ships.
De Sosa says there have been a handful of cruise disasters over the years, but the industry tends to bounce back because people forget and the bad incidents have generally been few and far between. In this case, she doesn't anticipate a major drop-off in business for one good reason. "(The Triumph) is the only ship going out of Galveston during the summer, and it's the only one all year that does short cruises, so it's really the only game in town," she says. In addition, she points out that Carnival also owns several other cruise lines, including Costa Cruises, so the company can more easily make up for temporary losses in one of its lines like the Triumph.
The other big question raised by the Triumph debacle is the overall safety of cruises in general. De Sosa points out that while the Triumph has been a huge area of focus, it is just one out of thousands of cruises that make safe voyages worldwide every year. "I believe statistically you're more likely to have an accident driving to the port or to the airport than you are to have something like this happen to you on a cruise," she says. Nevertheless, de Sosa thinks Carnival needs to take action after the Triumph incident. "It's really important that they show they have put an alternative plan in place, to make sure they can deal with this if it happens another time."