Disabled Carnival Cruise Ship Arrives in Mobile

A cheerful song for the beleaguered, hungry, cruise passengers about to depart the filthy Carnival cruise ship, which just arrived in Mobile, AL. after five days of conditions from hell and being towed by tugboat for a few hundred miles. Passengers say it was like spending 5 days in a porta-potty.

It will take them hours to get off the ship. Some will then have to spend a more few hours on buses traveling to hotels in other cities. [More...]

Carnival is offering the passengers $500. in addition to a refund. Many of the passengers say they will take another cruise. Those who want to sue will probably be out of luck.

The Carnival spokesman is giving a press conference. He was almost in tears, he apologized for the miserable experience passengers had and he thanked the staff. He's going on board now to apologize to the guests. He seemed very genuine --and a good asset to Carnival.

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    Legal action (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by lentinel on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 05:37:39 AM EST
    Why would people who want to sue be "out of luck"?
    The mental anguish created by this nightmare is worthy of compensation and, according to the report in the Times, possible damages due to negligence. Physical injuries should not be the only criteria.

    Also at issue was how and why a fire came to knock out the propulsion system, the power, and the sewage, heating and air-conditioning systems on the 14-year-old ship, which had mechanical troubles last month that delayed a similar cruise to Mexico.

    "Company officials said the two episodes were not related, but their proximity may help inspire a wall of legal actions from passengers, experts said."

    Were I on that cruise, $500 bucks would not seem to me to be a satisfactory recompense for the discomfort and unsanitary conditions I would have been made to endure - especially if the event can be shown to have been a result of negligence by the company not having taken care of "similar troubles" occurring the previous month.

    Although the Cruise line did offer some money and refunds, it did not extend the refunds to things that people might have purchased at the gift shop.

    I can see that, but it seems to me that were I out to placate a bunch of traumatized people, adding some free gifts would have been compassionate, and good business.

    Why the passengers may be out of luck (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:56:44 AM EST

    What can make suing a cruise line complicated?

    Carnival has a prohibition on class-action suits in its tickets, information that wouldn't be obvious to passengers who didn't read the fine print when they bought tickets.

    U.S. courts have said that ship owners and operators cannot put that language on tickets. But Carnival, though headquartered in Miami, is incorporated outside the United States, partly in Panama and Great Britain, experts say.

    Carnival Triumph is a Bahamian-flagged vessel, so the Bahamas Maritime Authority is the primary investigative agency.

    What else is detailed on the ticket?

    Carnival's ticket contract says the cruise line is not "liable to the passenger for damages for emotional distress, mental suffering/anguish or psychological injury of any kind under any circumstances, except when such damages were caused by the negligence of Carnival and resulted from the same passenger sustaining actual physical injury, or having been at risk of actual physical injury."

    While no physical injuries have been reported, if a passenger contracted a significant disease such as hepatitis from unsanitary conditions aboard on the ship, maritime trial attorney John H. Hickey believes, physical injury could be argued.

    "I think that a case can be made that everyone on that ship is at risk of actual physical injury," he said.

    There Have Been a Lot of Injuries... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 09:50:13 AM EST
    ...one woman broke her leg so bad she had removed for surgery because the bone was sticking out.  Reports of heart attacks, 2 I believe, and a ton of people who got sick from living in squaller.  The President of the cruise lines actually carried that woman's bags for her, how kind.  At some level I guess, but my guess is he is showing he cares to limit liability.

    Pretty sure if companies could limit their liability by printing it, all would do it.  It's like where I live, there is a sign that they are responsible for damages from the electronic gate, yeah right.

    I think they did the same thing with the ship that ran aground, they started with some ridiculous offer, then in the end the passengers got considerable more.  I wonder if they aren't getting people to sign stuff with the low ball offer and seeing who bites.  Like insurance, sign this and here's you check.  There has to be a strategy because form where I sit, $500 is beyond insulting.


    I mean't... (none / 0) (#5)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 09:51:05 AM EST
    ....they aren't responsible.

    Well (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:02:47 AM EST
    According to the article - the cruise line can't print that for US-based companies, but since Carnival is incorporated elsewhere, they may very well be able to limit their liability - especially in class action lawsuits.

    Maybe (none / 0) (#7)
    by lentinel on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:13:41 AM EST
    a passenger can sue as an individual - not as part of a class action.

    And - there is the appearance of negligence - which makes the caveat "except when such damages were caused by the negligence of Carnival and resulted from the same passenger sustaining actual physical injury, or having been at risk of actual physical injury."

    If negligence can be shown, it certainly "put the passengers at risk of actual physical injury".

    Anyway - I'm not sailing with them.
    They can forget that.


    Sounds like... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 09:32:29 AM EST
    passengers themselves are partly to blame for the conditions getting so unsanitary...

    "People were doing crazy things and going to the bathroom in sinks and showers. It was inhuman. The stewards would go in and clean it all up. They were constantly cleaning."  Link

    I mean how stupid can you be?  Surely there were buckets on board, as well as the bags provided by staff, to do your business in.  And then you have an entire sea to dispose of the waste.

    I think Carnival's compensation is pretty damn good...full refund plus expenses plus 5 hundo and a free cruise?  And open bar for a time on the disabled ship?  I kinda wish I had been on board. I feel bad for the crew though...they were the ones that really suffered.

    I think (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by lentinel on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:20:00 AM EST
    it said that there were no drinks being provided -- so that one would have to endure the whole mess completely sober.

    I do think that it would be up to the cruise line to provide buckets - and empty them. Are you sure that they passed around buckets and bags to the assembled masses?

    I really can't fault passengers for using sinks.
    It's a time-honored practice for people in desperate circumstances.
    Or people who are a bit loaded...

    Personally, I am glad that although you kinda wish you had been on board, that you in fact were not.

    Now, if the crew had been passing some joints around, and there were an open bar... But, alas, I don't think that was the case.


    I swear I heard a report... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:36:36 AM EST
    of open bar at one point...least Carnival could do! ;)

    Sure, you can p*ss in a sink, but only if the sink's drain isn't clogged...on a ship with backed up sinks and toilets you do not use the sink unless you're a total f8ckin' idiot. You're surrounded by nature's giant toilet on the ocean for christ's sake.

    But now that I've heard the ship was full of impromptu bible study groups, I think I've changed my mind...what's the compensation package for that mess? ;)


    If (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by lentinel on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 11:15:55 AM EST

    I had to hear bible study groups while all this sh-t was going on, and there was no refuge to forbidden substances - I would have gone stark staring nuts.

    Dude if I was on board.... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 11:54:28 AM EST
    we would be sorted throughout the ordeal...no worries!

    There are some things you just don't leave port without bro...my problem, if any, is bringing too much and having to binge on the last night.


    Come On... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:30:17 AM EST
    4500 people and I think they said 12 working bathrooms.  Buckets ??  You realize that the average cruiser is middle to late aged and overweight.   Imagine the  Cunninghams trying to use a bucket for 4 or 5 days in the dark while the ship is listing.

    I doubt the passengers were responsible for sewage running down the walls and waste on the floors.

    IMO the conditions on that ship were far worse than a prison and given the choice I would rather sit in prison than be aboard that ship.  It was a bio-hazard, and with few exception, I would think most people were doing what they could.

    $500 is a joke when you consider vacation and missed pay, most people won't even break even.  I don't what the ordeal is worth to me, but me living in squaller would cost a hell of a lot more than $100/day.


    They're not just getting 5 hundred... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:54:22 AM EST
    full refund plus travel expenses plus 5 hundo plus a free cruise.

    I don't doubt it was toxic stank on the lower decks, but there was no reason to be on the lower decks once the sh*t hit the fan (pun intended).  No shortage of fresh open air on a cruise ship.

    The crew are the ones that really suffered, and in part because of dopey passengers making things worse than they needed to be. I hope Carnival takes care of them with fat combat pay bonuses.


    Oh, come on, kdog... (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 12:08:49 PM EST
    Here's a first-hand account from a freelance writer at Deadspin, who was stranded aboard the ship (I've edited the profanity):

    Jayme Lamm--freelance sportswriter and proprietor of TheBlondeSide.com--is currently stranded aboard the Carnival Triumph, a cruise ship that has been without power for four days after an engine room fire. We've received sporadic dispatches from her over the past few days via text message, and she's agreed to let us post them in this space. Everything [sic]'d.

    Literally stranded at sea. Using plastic bags to bathroom and NO ELECTRICITY.

    Barely alive.

    [The worst thing I've witnessed is] the toilets that fell off the wall because they were so full and sh!t and urine floating around.

    Two people were banging in my tent the first night and I watched I was so bored.

    Food hasn't been a huge issue, but it's not good. Jelly & bread and zucchini & red onion sandwiches.

    Some lady was SELLING Immodium.

    Woman died yesterday of a heart attack.

    They closed the bars Sunday when the fire happened. Luckily I brought a flask. And Ambien.

    They won't let us outside because people are holding up sheets with messages. The first three nights we slept outside under tents made out of our bedsheets. They made us come in. They said safety reasons but it's not.

    Today they cleaned the hell out of this ship, served LOBSTER FOR LUNCH, crew is wearing matching hats.

    Y'all better be enjoying your Valentine's flowers while we're defecating in red plastic bags.

    People are spelling "HELP" with their bodies. Our theme song has been Alicia Keys: "This Boat Is On Fire."

    We are going 1mph.

    Update (6:44 p.m.): Some lady just told me she took the batteries out of her vibrator to use her fan.

    Okay, so apparently, being outside in the open air wasn't really an option toward the end, so during the time when conditions were at their worst, people were forced to stay inside, where one passenger described it as being "inside a porta-potty."

    But, hey, the lobster for lunch was a nice touch...not sure I'd want to eat seafood if there was no electricity/refrigeration, though.

    Look, I feel bad for anyone stuck in those conditions, but try to remember that the crew were there to work, not relax.  And consider that this all started with a fire, and went downhill from there.  Three thousand passengers, plus 1,200 crew, in unsanitary conditions that had to have been as bad as those in any third world country, and represented a health and safety hazard.

    For sure I'd be glad to get my money back, but that shouldn't be regarded as a generous thing to do, but just a small part of the right thing to do.

    Here's an article with lots of photos.  Please take note of the passenger who says they were told to use the showers to relieve themselves.

    Really, kdog, please stop making this out to be a Booze-Cruise, Animal House toga party, where the revelers made the hired help's life a living hell; I'm not reading or seeing anything that suggests anyone was having fun.  I'm pretty sure even you wouldn't really have wanted to be there, unless you have a fondness for marinating in your own sweat, collecting your own excrement in a bag and eating food that might give you food poisoning.

    And please don't tell me that as long as you had plenty of magic herb, you'd be just fine with all of that.


    You said it yourself... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 01:21:06 PM EST
    people live like this everyday in other parts of the world, walk miles for fresh water, bath in sewage, eat worse things than a skimpy ham sandwich and PBJ.  Passengers need to get over themselves and gain some perspective.  The ship coulda totally burned and sank....they were on the whole pretty damn lucky.

    And it wouldn't have been as bad if people didn't try using busted toilets and sinks and generally behave like it's Lord of the Flies up on the high seas.  I'd love to hear from crew members...I'm sure they got stories of passenger behavior but are probably on gag order.

    I'm not saying it was a great time, but I sure as hell would have tried to make the best of it, and made sure my waste went in the sea instead of p*ssin' and sh*ttin' in a busted toilet, a sink, or on the floor like it was reported some morons were doing.  I see some people making the best of it in those pics.  For full refund plus 5 hundo plus a free cruise I really think I could handle it...Sandy victims fared far far worse than this with insurance companies doing less than Carnival has done.

    Now if passengers were in fact forced out of open air areas or told to sh*t in the shower that's dumb...I grant you that.  I'd be on the deck 24/7 and making sure my business went overboard no matter what anybody said...thats just common sense when faced with a toxic sewage situation...get fresh air and most of all don't add more sewage.


    I'm pretty sure that most of the (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 01:38:49 PM EST
    people on board did try to make the best of it - no one said they didn't.  And I'm sure that those who could help people not as able to deal with the situation did just that.  Other than some food hoarding, I haven't seen reports of anyone getting out of hand.

    And I'm sure they were grateful it wasn't worse, but there's a certain amount of anxiety that has to accompany the situation when the ship is listing and you really don't know if things are about to go from kinda/sorta tolerable, to really disastrous.  I'm sure everyone on that ship was thinking "Costa Concordia," and being outside on the decks may have not just been about the smell, but about not wanting to get trapped inside if the ship went down.

    I guess my problem with a lot of what you've written is that it blames the victims.  The fire wasn't their fault, nor was it their fault that the fire took out essential services onboard.

    And while there may well have been men who were able to urinate over the side, you're forgetting, I guess, that women aren't equipped for that, and no sane person is going to put his or her ass far enough over a ship railing to be able to take care of business.  Do you even know how far above the water the lowest open-air deck is?  

    Glad you think you can handle it, but it wasn't "kdog, party of one," it was 3,000 passengers, some who were children, some who were elderly.

    Give me a break.


    Yeah... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 01:49:51 PM EST
    I've been cruising...able bodied person could totally sit on the rail of the lowest open air deck and drop a duece.  Or better yet, use a bucket then dump it over.  Not rocket science.

    Another thing I learned cruising is you can talk to three cruisers and swear they must have been on different ships.  

    I'm not blaming passengers for the fire...I'm saying some passengers made things worse than they needed to be after the fire, that's all.  Probably the same ones who will try to sue for a million dollars pain and suffering! Get over yourselves people...sh*t happens, pun intended.


    As a Person Who Spent Three Years... (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 03:18:56 PM EST
    ...on large ship, I can say without a doubt, it's always windy, not like a windy day, but like a storm is coming when you are 80 feet above the water in the middle of the ocean.  So while us men might have the equipment, it's the equivalent of whizzing off a pretty tall building, the wind always goes up.  Ditto for dumping buckets, it's coming right back at you.

    And while I don't know about cruise ships, I know it's illegal to dump any form of plastic overboard in international waters.  It was a big enough deal they that someone would inspect trash before it went over board.  Of course all kinds of stuff went over that wasn't suppose to.  But it was important enough that they had inspectors.  I would guarantee, a ship dead in the water wasn't allowing anyone to throw plastic over board.

    And lastly, the plumbing on our ship was nothing like home plumbing.  I have no idea how it worked, but because a ship rolls, gravity systems would not work.  Occasionally, something would happen and it flood a head with waste.  All the waste was treated, so unlike a home, it's a closed and pressurized system.  So when I read about waste on the floors and walls I am assuming it's because the system and people aren't defecating on the hallway and smearing in on the walls.

    I have no doubt that would you make the best of it, but you aren't 40 with 3 kids, or 70 with a pesky prostate, or maybe you are a diabetic and only brought enough insulin for X amount of days, or oyu had a hip repalced last summer.  I remember reading that a guy said he saw a little girl with some kind of asthma machine plugged into one of the only working outlets and she was sitting in water.

    Carnival elected to bring the ship back to the US even though they were really close to Mexico because of the cost of getting people home was too great.  They actually had ships come aside to deliver supplies, but didn't let anyone leave.  That is how the sporadic news go out, when they were aside these other cruise ships, people were able to get on the internet system.

    No one is suing for a million dollars.  $500 is BS, $2000 would probably keep me from holding a grudge, but they could keep their free tickets.  I expect free stuff from a company when my flight gets bumped or my steak was bad. I expect cash when they ruin a vacation.

    I find it odd that they don't insure with someone so that after a breakdown, they can hand out descent checks and at least look like they care about their customers.  Or better yet, carry insurance that would fly people home from Mexico and avoid the entire public relations disaster this has become.


    That's what makes the least sense to me (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by sj on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 03:28:33 PM EST
    ...but didn't let anyone leave.
    I mean, I didn't know that they didn't let anyone leave, but what I don't understand is this:  stipulating the massive effort involved for 3000+ people, why didn't Carnival evacuate the ship?  At least for those most at risk?  It would have also eased the demand on resources.

    They Were 140 Miles From Their Port in Mexico (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 03:56:46 PM EST
    ...but towed it 650 miles to Alabama.  Why not tow it to port, get everyone off, then tow it to Alabama.

    I can't imagine charting a couple jets would be more costly than putting people up in rooms and flying the to Texas from Alabama.  I don't know of course, but the distances are negligible and it would seem like the Carnival should have a plan like this already worked out.

    I assume you need a passport even for a cruise, no ?


    Boy, I don't know (none / 0) (#27)
    by sj on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:09:51 PM EST
    I assume you need a passport even for a cruise, no ?
    The last time I went to Mexico I only needed a visitor visa and not a passport (so you can tell that was a long time ago), but that makes sense.  

    But it seems that a rescue situation would have different rules from standard travel, yes/no?  What if the ship had gone down and the people were rescued from life rafts?  They wouldn't have passports then either, does that mean that a traveler from across the world could only be taken to his/her home country?  And how could that be determined anyway?

    It also seems to me that Carnival would have a plan and procedures in place.  Makes so much more sense than just rolling the dice.


    If the original itinerary included Mexico, (none / 0) (#28)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:19:30 PM EST
    then I assume that the passengers needed a passport or a passport card (good for re-entry from Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.)  You don't need a passport to get into Mexico, but the United States requires that you show a passport or passport card to come back to the US from Mexico.
    Now, the interesting thing would be- the passport cards are only good if you are traveling by car, bus, or boat.  For air travel, you need a passport.  So if the ship had been towed to Mexico, would any passengers who only had the passport cards and not an actual  passport, have been allowed to fly home from Mexico?  I would hope that the United States would set aside this requirement for this one occasion, but with our bureaucracy the way it is, who knows?

    You Need One for Mexico... (none / 0) (#31)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:55:08 AM EST
    ......but I have heard that if you don't leave the ship, you don't need one.

    Right now I think the only place you can travel to w/o a passport is Puerto Rico.


    I wonder (none / 0) (#29)
    by Lena on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:51:50 PM EST
    whether a woman really died of a heart attack on the ship. You'd think that an egregious story like that would be all over the news, and that her family would be getting the story out. But I haven't read it anywhere else.

    Not that it sounds like it was fun on board.

    I feel terrible for the employees. Working on a cruise ship is hard work in any event, but with angry, suffering passengers, it must have been especially nightmarish.


    I think ... (none / 0) (#13)
    by sj on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 11:17:41 AM EST
    ...you mean "squalor"

    Well, I don't know (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 11:24:02 AM EST
    about Scott, but if I had been on that cruise ship, I would certainly be squalling.  Which, I suppose, would make me a "squaller."    ;-)

    Ha! (none / 0) (#15)
    by sj on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 11:33:37 AM EST
    I stand corrected :)

    wel fortunately they were (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by fishcamp on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 12:04:10 PM EST
    not hit by a squall.

    Really ? (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 01:51:57 PM EST
    Squaller is way nastier than squalor, but they probably reside in the same places.

    I even Googled it to get the right spelling and just grabbed what Google defined, not realizing it was the Urban Dictionary definition.

    Spellers, you have no idea how gifted you are, in a given day, I Google about 20 words to get the right spelling because spell check don't know, and at least once a day, spellcheck nor Googling the word helps.  I have to put in in a sentence and read through the results, because I have discovered, certain words, are misspelled by a lot of people.  I can't fathom a guess as to how many words spellcheck corrects.

    But I try, if only squalor would stick past this post.


    ew (none / 0) (#23)
    by sj on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 03:16:48 PM EST
    squaller really IS nastier.  And I understand about spell check which is a) a blessing, and b) way better than autocorrect.

    Thanks for the excuse to post that link.


    Every time (none / 0) (#30)
    by DebFrmHell on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 07:48:57 PM EST
    I hear of some difficulties with a cruise line, the first thing that pops into my head is Carnival.

    I love going on a cruise.  Probably the best vacation I ever had was on one with booked with Celebrity.  

    I wouldn't travel Carnival if the ticket was free.