When I first read that Carnival's Tropicale was stranded in the
Gulf of Mexico with no power and a tropical storm asking to come
aboard, I was a little nervous. The Tropicale is not exactly the
jewel in Carnival's crown, making the situation sound eerily
similar to that of the tempest-tossed S.S. Minnow.
My fears, however, were quickly assuaged by the follow-up wire
stories, which said one engine was back up and the storm had
changed course. Those stories also painted a picture of happy
passengers having the time of their lives on an extended cruise,
their brush with danger now no more than the stuff of cocktail
Then the ship limped into port and the passengers limped off.
The stories, no longer filtered through the cruise line's media
relations department, changed. Fire-breathing passengers started
shouting tales of overflowing toilets and raw sewage in the
hallways. Claims of sea sickness, a shortage of clean drinking
water, no phones, no air conditioning...let's just say they're not
a happy bunch.
Carnival, for its part, denies many of the charges and downplays
the rest. They wisely have decided to take the high road where
restitution is concerned: full refunds, a half-price cruise and,
thankfully, protected commissions.
By now, though, lots of those passengers have located their
attorneys' phone numbers. This ought to be good.