Public Relations Expert: Carnival's Poor Reaction Will Hurt Company, Cruise Line Industry

From KOVR - February 15, 2013

As the 4,200 passengers made their way home from the disabled cruise ship, the investigation began into what caused that fire on the Carnival Triumph.

The ship will undergo mechanical investigations by the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Bahamas Maritime Authority.

Carnival announced it is cancelling the Triumph's next 14 voyages. Experts believe due to bad publicity, the ship will likely be re-named, and rightly so. Many of the passengers, families and observers are saying Carnival simply didn't do enough.

Passengers turned prisoners at sea, held hostage for five days with limited food, power and raw sewage throughout.

It was a vacation nightmare, but how did Carnival Cruise Lines react?

"Everyone shore side is doing everything they can to make our guests as comfortable as possible," said CEO Gerry Cahill at a press conference.

"It's not remotely convincing, he again is reading off a script. He doesn't appear to be empathetic," said Doug Elmets.

Public relations executive Elmets says the self dubbed "most popular cruise line in the world" has quickly become the opposite. It's not just because of the conditions on board, but the company's failure to offer a sincere apology and regular updates.

"It's not really how you get into a crisis, it's how you react once you're there, and their initial reaction is pretty bad," said Elmets.

Elmets insists Cahill should have spoke out sooner, and it seems the company tried to keep costs down instead of getting passengers as comfortable as possible.

"They tried to do it on the cheap. and once they got called to the carpet, they said 'hey wait, we need to do it right'," said Elmets.

So the company flew additional supplies, pricey actions that he says would have save them in the long run.

"It's going to effect people's visions of Carnival Cruise Lines, and the industry in general is going to pay a pretty heavy price in the long run," said Elmets.

Already there are reports of a law suit being filed by one of the passengers.

Carnival has offered all the customers a full refund, a free cruise at a later date and $500.

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