Carnival Cruise Lines and Crisis Control

Carnival Cruise Lines is a British-American owned cruise line based in Florida, U.S.A. The company has the largest fleet in the cruise line industry, with 24 vessels currently in operation that account for 21.1 per cent of the worldwide market share reported by Originally an independent company founded in 1972 by Ted Arison, the company is now one of 10 cruise ship brands owned and operated by Carnival Corporation and Plc.

Carnival Cruise line is familiar with crisis control as they lost a ship Jan. 13, 2012. The Costa Concordia sank off the coast of Isola del Giglio, Tuscany, Italy in the Mediterranean Sea because the vessel struck a reef while deviating from its planned course. Of the 4,252 passengers on board, 32 lost their lives. They also had thousands of guests adrift at sea and another vessel temporary shutdown by the Centre for Disease Control.

Costa Concordia, owned and operated by Carnival, was one of the largest ships ever to be abandoned. Captain Schettino was arrested on preliminary charges of manslaughter in connection with causing a shipwreck, failing to assist passengers, and failing to be the last to leave the wreck, as he abandoned the ship with his crew. He was also later charged with failing to describe to maritime authorities the scope of the disaster, and abandoning incapacitated passengers. The company originally opted to pay for his legal fees but after realizing the magnitude of his charges they revoked his offer, as he is being tried as a criminal. Schettino faces over 20 years in jail for his charges.

Costa Cruises offered compensation to passengers, giving roughly 11,000 Euros to each passenger, as a payment for damages and the value of the original price of the cruise. One-third of the passengers took this offer, and the rest filed a class action lawsuit.

The ship left to float in the sea off the coast was an immediate worry for ecological disaster as the shipwreck was partially submerged. It would eventually slip deeper into the water and was still full of oil. This crisis was averted because plans were made to safely extract the ship by March 24, 2012. The company that insured the magazine declared the ship “a constructive total loss.” Stripping this ship for parts is one of the largest operations of its kind. The operation began on Sept. 16, 2013. Carnival averted a crisis by acting quickly to hire a salvage firm to create a plan to protect the natural environment and to safely get the ship out of the popular tourist destination.

Carnival Cruise lines started its disaster control immediately and was quite effective in sharing information with the media and helping with the displaced tourists who were aboard the ship. They offered the payout to passengers within the first month after the shipwreck and paid for passengers to stay in Italy until they were able to fly to their respective homes. Faced with a PR nightmare, carnival acted quickly and was able to save some company face with the public.

This year, Carnival Cruise Lines suffered several more setbacks as one ship was given a failing grade by the CDC and Health Department. Furthermore, another ship, the Carnival Triumph, experienced a fire in their engine room that left them powerless and adrift at sea. The ship had over 4,000 passengers and crew aboard when the fire started. The fire was immediately extinguished from the automated system but left the ship without power. The ship was towed to Alabama by local tugboats. Passengers aboard were given a full refund for travel expenses and the cost of the tickets, a credit for future cruises, and a cheque for damages of only $500. This ship was given an overhaul and is back in the cruise line’s fleet.

Carnival was able to save face throughout all these incidents. They shared all information with the media by setting up direct lines and contacts with the company, and since the Concordia disaster, Carnival has kept its passengers at the forefront of their mind, always giving compensation to those affected by the incidents. After the Costa Concordia disaster, the cruise line industry has been in the media spotlight, the shipwreck being one of the most televised issues in 2012.

Carnival ran several deals this year for its trips, ranging from as low as $49 per night to its regular price range of $1,000+. This proved successful with the maiden voyage of the Carnival Triumph, being completely sold out only four months after thousands of passengers were left stranded at sea, and its renovations and upgrades.

Reports from Harris Interactive poll indicates that consumers’ perceptions were completely changed from after the Costa Concordia and Triumph incidents. The latest polls show their quality scores have declined by 28 per cent. Carnival has taken the biggest hit from all existing cruise lines, because most cruise-related incidents in the last few years have all been with Carnival Cruise ships.

The cruise line has taken a hit in its popularity in recent years because of the incidents of Carnival ships. However, the company took many measures to retain clients by renovating its ships and announcing the plans to build the largest ship in their fleet. Carnival has implemented new deals all year to gain early-bird buyers and individuals who wouldn’t normally take cruises.

Read more: Four Months After the ‘Poop Cruise,’ the Carnival ‘Triumph’ Sails Again — and Is Sold Out | TIME.com

James Birchall