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Carnival Cruise Line CaseBrittany ReedJanuary 26th, 2020Marketing & New Media Strategy
Carnival Cruise Line Case2 |P a g eCase RecapCarnival Cruise Line is the largest cruise operator in the world, operating ten cruise lines comprised of 102 ships. The cruise line is also known for being affordable, family oriented, and the “Fun Ships” within the industry. Unfortunately, Carnival has experienced several incidents over the years, beginning with the maiden voyage of the first cruise ship and continuing to present day. These events have ranged from ships running aground or striking a reef, to engine and laundry room fires and technical malfunctions. The two most famous examples are the Costa Concordia and Carnival Triumph disasters. The Costa Concordia struck a reef and partially sank off the coast of Italy in January 2012. Over 4,000 people were evacuated from the ship, but there were also casualties. The Carnival Triumph experienced an engine room fire which caused the ship to lose propulsion and drift in the Gulf of Mexico in February 2013. While no one was injured during the latter incident, passengers and crew were subjected to terrible conditions, including non-working toilets, long waits for food, and no air-conditioning. These incidents themselves, compounded with the inconsistent and problematic way the cruise line handled them, has resulted in apprehension and fear on the part of potential cruisers in choosing to sail with Carnival. Problem Identification and Root ComponentsThe main problem that Carnival Cruise Line faces is a deteriorating reputation because ofits lack of a crisis management plan. In each incident, the cruise line reacted differently and utilized different platforms to respond to the public. During the Costa Concordia incident, whichcost 32 passengers their lives, the initial response only expressed sympathy for the families and did not admit fault. A few days later, a second statement was released that hinted that human error may have been the root cause, but the investigation was ongoing. The media took this
Carnival Cruise Line Case3 |P a g einformation and sensationalized it, causing Carnival to lose control of the conversation. When the Carnival Triumph incident occurred, the cruise line decided to bypass its Public Relations department and traditional media, and released statements on Facebook, most of which were from employees. As the situation escalated and the conditions worsened aboard the ship, guests took to Facebook to voice concerns that were less than complimentary. This strategy was bold and gave the world real-time updates on the situation at hand, however because Carnival took responsibility so quickly and publicly, the company opened itself up to potential litigation. In this instance, the mechanical malfunction that caused the fire would fall under the unintentional/accidental category of crises, essentially lessening the liability of Carnival Corporation.