The brouhaha aboard Carnival Legend last Friday has taken up many newspaper column inches and digital spaces since. Wherever a brand attracts such widespread media exposure that paints it as ‘on the nose, trouble looms.
Details that have emerged, of an unruly family causing mayhem with some menace aboard the ship, intimidating other families and generally ruining the cruise for many, have not been pleasant.
Following the previous week’s ‘glassing’ incident aboard P&O’s Pacific Explorer the average punter could be excused for thinking that Aussie cruises are a dangerous thing – and perhaps certainly not best undertaken by the faint of heart, or families.
Of the many thousands of Australians who have taken a cruise this summer the majority will no doubt speak of a fantastic holiday and a yearning to return. For an unfortunate few their experiences aboard both Carnival Legend and Pacific Explorer will have left them feeling ripped off, out of pocket and unimpressed with the cruise lines.
Anyone who has scanned fares for our summer cruises will be aware that on P&0 and Carnival prices have been slashed to extremely affordable levels, with some twin share cabins selling for under $300 for a 3-4 night cruise as part of all inclusive packages that include all meals. Where else can you find a great deal like that? And for families, those price points and all-inclusive inducements are even more appealing – achievable because of their cut-price affordability.
It was a ‘family’ group whose members were both ejected and voluntarily disembarked the Carnival Legend cruise after Friday’s melee. So introducing ‘family only’ cruises wouldn’t seem to be of much help to the cruise lines.
The ‘glassing’ on Explorer was said to be alcohol-fuelled – but there is little chance of an alcohol ban being enacted on cruises.
Carnival’s offer to all passengers affected by the incident aboard Legend – 25% off your next cruise – seems to have provided little in the way of appeasement to fellow passengers whose holiday was ruined. Most social media comments suggest those passengers would never cruise with Carnival again, or think the offer does not match the level of inconvenience.
When passengers become unruly and disrupt the right of other passengers to enjoy their cruise, what does the Captain order? Everyone can’t be sent to the brig! Short of a detour to offload the menaces, there are not too many options for a Captain. And whatever they decide there will always be some degree of disruption to, and disappointment for, other passengers.
So … what’s a cruise line to do?