Carnival Cruise Line Offers Passengers Stranded Onboard Triumph More Money, But Will It Compensate For “Hellish” Conditions?

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Yet another day goes by as the Carnival Triumph slowly makes its way toward Mobile, Alabama without any power. Over 4,220 people have been stranded on the damaged vessel since Sunday, facing what many are calling hellish conditions. The Carnival Triumph experienced a fire in the engine room, which knocked out the power onboard the ship and left it adrift off Mexico’s southern Yucatan Peninsula. Emergency crews responded to the scene and slowly, but surely, the vessel is being towed to Mobile.

Important questions linger. Why wasn’t the ship towed to the nearest port and the passengers flown back to the United States? Was there a cost savings to Carnival to put these passengers through clearly horrendous conditions?

While previous cruise ship accidents haven’t left passengers with much compensation, this time, Carnival has offered a full refund for guests, as well as credit for a future cruise. However, as reports of unsanitary conditions onboard the ship spread across the media, it seems as though the “Fun Ship” has realized it needs to do a little more to appease angry and disappointed travelers.

Carnival has now announced that it will offer Triumph passengers an additional $500 in compensation for the hardship they have had to endure. Running only on emergency generator power, several passengers have complained that they have had to sleep on deck because of the heat in their rooms and because the sewage systems are not working properly, only 20-some toilets onboard the entire vessel are operational. Some passengers have even claimed crewmembers handed out plastic bags for them to defecate in.

The conditions have been nothing short of appalling for those stranded on the Triumph. But following a rough cruise season in 2012 after the Carnival Corp. Costa Concordia capsized on Jan. 13, it appears as though the company’s leaders have realized that they need to step it up if Carnival is ever going to regain its family-friendly and fun reputation – as well as new clients.

While the cause of the cruise ship fire remains unknown, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it had launched an investigation on Tuesday to determine the reason for the incident. However, because the Triumph flies a Bahamian flag, the Bahamas Maritime Authority is the primary investigative agency, which doesn’t have the extensive resources that a U.S.-based investigative agency might have, nor is it inclined to reveal information regarding the accident.

In a statement late on Wednesday, Carnival Cruise Lines President and CEO Gerry Cahill said the company had decided to give an extra $500 per passenger to help compensate for the “very challenging circumstances” aboard the Triumph.

“We are very sorry for what our guests have had to endure,” said Cahill.

Unfortunately, after the Concordia accident killed 32 people and following several more mishaps onboard the fleet, it seems as though no amount of compensation will erase the damage that has already been done.

Aside from the possible threat of Norovirus because of the unsanitary conditions aboard the Triumph, passengers have also complained that there is barely anything to eat and some have even charged that they were forced to eat sandwiches composed of only onions and condiments.

As the largest cruise company in the world, Carnival Corp. is going to have to make some drastic changes to its operations – especially in regards to maritime safety – before it can hope to appeal to travelers the way it once did.

Photo Credits:

Top Right: Carnival Triumph Passengers Stranded At Sea – dailymail.co.uk
Middle Left: Carnival Triumph Adrift In Gulf – katv.com
Bottom Right: Gerry Cahill, Carnival President & CEO – bizjournals.com