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Good Move, Royal Caribbean!

Good Move, Royal Caribbean!

Smart decision, Royal Caribbean: with 600 passengers ill, returning to port early was wise. And that’s at least the second smart choice for Royal Caribbean in the last 12 months…see my May 29 post Carnival, Take a Lesson from Royal Caribbean!

Someone in charge is thinking: excellent!


Barfing on Boudicca in the Baltics, Thanks to Norovirus

Passengers are reportedly taking legal action after many became ill during a 14-day Baltic cruise aboard Fred Olsen Lines’ Boudicca. Similar incidents were reported during three earlier sailing in March and April on the 880-passenger vessel. The ship has undergone a “deep clean” since its return to Liverpool, as has the cruise terminal itself, according to the Liverpool Echo, as quoted in

While passengers showing symptoms were quarantined in their cabins for 48 hours, then examined by a doctor before rejoining other cruisers, and the line regards its systems as :..among the best in the industry,” to have repeated sailings affected by gastrointestinal illness to this degree certainly raises some questions.

No word on compensation offered to passengers for their curtailed cruise: more to come!

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines sued over norovirus outbreak

Photo credit:

Carnival Triumph Returns to Service Four Months After “Poop Cruise”

Sailing out of Galveston fully booked, the Carnival Triumph returns to the seas, after a reported $115 million rehab, notes USAToday Cruise Editor Gene Sloan:

Best of luck, Carnival!

Social Media “Fails” – and Guidelines – in Crises

In a post today on Bulldog Reporter titled When Tragedy Strikes, Does Social Media Provide the Human Touch?, Melissa Monahan, Senior Vice President at Boston-based Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, notes how many of us now turn to social media to share our thoughts, as well as looking for news updates, using the Boston Marathon bombing and the recent Oklahoma tornadoes as examples (

Monahan cites a recent Buzzfeed account of social media fails by companies that should know better ( read it and cringe!

She also offers several cogent social media guidelines for communicating in a crisis, good reminders, all:

  • Immediately turn off your auto/scheduled tweets that highlight a product, event or blog post unrelated to this event.
  • Humor is tough to convey through the written word, never mind in 140 characters or a Facebook post so err on the side of caution and don’t do it. If you do, be prepared for the backlash.
  • Especially in the early stages of a tragedy don’t make it political. It is normal to want to blame someone/something when an unthinkable tragedy occurs but politicizing a tragedy—especially when events are so fresh—can be seen as extremely callous and could cost you credibility and followers.
  • If you are going to do something for people impacted by said tragedy do it for the right reasons and not simply to get PR. After the Marathon bombings, some companies hit the mark with their efforts. In particular, I was struck at the email by Boston-based Rue La La ( to members. It was timely, simple, not self-promotional and direct.

Carnival, Take a Lesson from Royal Caribbean!

A Monday morning blaze aboard Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas, which affected four decks and required two hours to extinguish, may remind travelers of the sage of Carnival’s Triumph. But the two cruise lines treated their passengers very differently – and Carnival execs should study the swift and appropriate response of Royal Caribbean. As reported by USAToday and others:

  • Passengers report being fully informed throughout, and had been prepared with a safety drill at the cruise’s inception
  • Crew members were well-trained and performed their duties effectively
  • Royal Caribbean promptly – without lawsuits or hassle – agreed to refund the cost of every passenger’s cruise, as well as provide a voucher for 25% of that fare to be used on a future cruise. They also arranged flights home for all 2,000+ passengers.
  • Royal Caribbean’s CEO headed promptly to the Bahamas to meet the ship and greet passengers personally.
  • Refunds will be processed within the next three weeks.

Images of the ship on it dedicated webpage (, refurbished just a year ago, show an elegant vessel, which received strong 4-star ratings from several cruise review sites:

Grandeur of the Seas

Royal Caribbean announced that the fire damage will require six weeks to repair, and will affect their earnings by 10% per share, or about $22 million. The goodwill engendered by the steps outlined above should far outweigh that amount, as passengers return home and continue to post comments, photos and videos lauding the company.

Carnival, are you listening???

Good News from Moore Post-Tornado

Though the death toll from the powerful tornado that hit Moore on May 20 was originally reported as 51, it has since been revised downward to 24 – still terrible, for everyone affected in this small community.

Clean-up has begun, but as reported yesterday, if the debris were piled in one spot, it would reach nearly a mile high:

The deadly storm was initially categorized as EF4, but was finally estimated as EF5, the most devastating rating of all.

As the world watches, the valiant and resolute Moore community has mourned its dead and injured, and is already moving forward to build a stronger future.

There has been criticism of the lack of storm shelters in the two schools which were badly damaged. According to the Christian Science Monitor, there are differing opinions about their necessity, even in “Tornado Alley.”

Moore’s Mayor says it’s time to act, while others note it’s unlikely Moore will ever be hit again, and that the $4,000 additional cost per new home would be prohibitive. It does seem likely that new school construction will require that shelters be included – and it would be hard to argue against it. as nearly half of Moore’s victims were children who died in a place they, their teachers and parents, thought was safe.

Tornado Strikes Moore, OK – Again

The highest velocity winds ever recorded on the planet – 302 mph – struck Moore, OK in 1999. While today’s return visit from vicious winds may not have reached that potency, the devastation was heart-rending: the current death toll is 51, many of them children who sheltered in a location often recognized as among the safest – their school.


Two miles wide, the tornado tore through the town, leveling neighborhoods and strewing heartache and damage, death and destruction.


“Dark tourism” may be a trend – but is it right to visit a community or site because of the tragic event(s) that happened there?


What do you think?

A woman walks through debris in Moore on May 20.


Everything old is new again: Christie scrutinized for cameo in NJ tourism ad

Shades of “I Love New York” circa 1977: it’s time for legislatures – around the world! – to stop politicizing travel marketing, and recognize that the Governor of any State (whatever his/her party) is the “Welcomer-in-chief.”

Whether it’s John Dyson or Chris Christie, the face in an ad says “(Fill in the blank state) welcomes your visit!”

Christie scrutinized for cameo in NJ tourism ad

“Is New Orleans still safe?”

That question, a USAToday headline yesterday (, followed a seemingly random shooting that injured 19 people, including two children, at a second-line parade on Mother’s Day. By today, a suspect was named, ( and the possibility the incident was gang-related was noted.

This was the third shooting on a holiday in New Orleans just this year: five people were injured near a Martin Luther King Day observance in January, and four in a Mardi Gras attack in February. Police spokespersons assured the public there would soon be an arrest

The beloved city is still a draw for visitors, but an accumulation of such incidents – with the coverage of each reiterating the details of earlier ones – will leave its mark.

In the words of Mayor Landrieu, “It’s a culture of violence that has enveloped this city for a long period of time … and it’s one of the things that we as a community have got to stop.”

We’re rooting for you, New Orleans – but it won’t be easy, even for the Big Easy.

Oh, No, Carnival: Not AGAIN!

$155 million, 2.5 months in drydock, 3,006 passengers aboard: and the overhaul of the Carnival Sunshine (formerly Destiny) isn’t ready for prime time, reports USAToday’s Gene Sloan, in a story headlined More trouble for Carnival as problems hit revamped ship:

So many are rooting for you to get it right, Carnival: you MUST know that the eyes of the travel industry are upon you, and that every screw-up/slip-up/miscalculation will recall the Carnival Triumph‘s “Cruise from Hell” (See my February 26 post here

Your company is an icon of the cruise industry, and so the headlines…make the next headline a good one, by taking the time to get it right, and explaining to your guests if things are yet up to snuff, with an appropriate concession.

From the drawing below, which accompanied the USAToday article, Sunshine will be an amazing ship. I hope the next time we hear of it, it will be a rave, not another negative review that resulted from factors you CAN and SHOULD control.