Another Unsuccessful Carnival Voyage
Last week's mechanical problem aboard the Carnival Cruise ship Dream was just the latest in a string of public relations problems for the company and the industry. Carnival quickly flew all of the passengers off the Dream, but on the heels of last month's days-long slog by thousands of passengers aboard the powerless Triumph, the latest incident could spell trouble for the cruise industry. Stewart Chiron is a cruise expert who runs the website Cruiseguy.com. He recently told Fox News that while the industry is still strong, it doesn't need any more negative publicity. "We're now dealing with essentially three times that a cruise ship has been brought into the news in a very short time," he says. "And there are people that will watch the news and delay their travel and vacation plans."
Linda de Sosa is the Vice President of Houston's Woodlake Travel. She recently told KTRH that she hasn't and doesn't expect to see a big drop-off in cruise business after the recent Carnival problems. "Overall, cruising is a wonderful way to go and most people know that," she says. "Normally you'd be relaxing, you don't have to pack and unpack, and especially for certain destinations like the Caribbean or the Baltic or the Greek Isles, it's really the best way to go to see a lot of places." De Sosa also notes that these recent issues are isolated incidents in the big picture of the cruise industry. "When you consider there's more than 71 million passenger nights per year in North American cruises alone, and at least double that if you look at cruises in Europe and other places...this is really like a drop in the bucket," she says.
Nevertheless, de Sosa still thinks Carnival needs to be proactive in addressing the recent issues. "(Things like) what happens if you're going to be on a cruise for a few extra days, what happens if you lose power...they need to have some type of plan for that," she says. The issue has already prompted action from at least one person on Capitol Hill. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has proposed a "Cruise Ship Passenger Bill of Rights" that would require, among other things, that all ships be equipped with a backup power supply and adequate medical staff.
Check out Sen. Schumer's proposed Cruise Ship Bill of Rights.