Carnival from Hell

By Conant, Eve | Newsweek, February 22, 2013 | Go to article overview

Carnival from Hell


Conant, Eve, Newsweek


Byline: Eve Conant

The warning signs before the triumph disaster.

On the afternoon of February 7, Matt and Melissa Crusan boarded the cruise ship the Carnival Triumph in the port of Galveston, Texas, wearing their vacation best. For weeks, the middle-aged couple had been looking forward to four leisurely days aboard the ship as it sailed south toward its destination of Cozumel, Mexico.

Like a floating Las Vegas, the ship had a "Great Cities" theme, with a Paris dining room, a London ditto, a Rome lounge, and the Club Rio. A few days later, however, the impressive-looking vessel was gaining infamy as the "Floating Petri Dish" and the "Ship of Stools." And the Crusans had become lead plaintiffs in a class-action suit over a weeklong ordeal that began in the pitch dark on Sunday morning February 10, when the ship's crew and 4,200 passengers scrambled to the muster stations for life vests after a fire broke out in the machine room.

Matt, a retired Marine, describes those moments as "chaos." However, it was what came after that is really burnished in his memory. While the crew was able to extinguish the fire without too much damage, the power, sewage, heating, and air-conditioning systems were no longer working, and the ship was adrift off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico.

What unfolded next is, by now, familiar to most Americans, the images hard to forget: the tilting boat with sewage seeping down the walls, urine-soaked floors, and passengers sleeping outside in the cold and rain to avoid the noxious fumes inside their cabins.

But it wasn't just the discomfort that upset the Crusans--the plastic bags leaking diarrhea and vomit, Melissa's two bouts of food poisoning, the four-hour lines for onion sandwiches, and the hours in the emergency room hooked up to IV drips once they came home. Or how their three young sons, watching TV, worried that their parents were going to die. (One traumatized son even wrote a loving goodbye poem in case he never saw them again.) Or even how, in what appeared a brazen attempt at PR, a so-called "surf 'n' turf" lunch was cobbled together on their last day, Matt's lobster brownish-gray around the edges, before his wife--sick on her mattress on deck--was ordered to drag her mattress back to their room, along with the other passengers, lest the TV cameras catch sight of what looked like a floating refugee camp.

What really bothers Matt Crusan is that he believes Carnival knew--or should have known--that the boat was "not seaworthy." "In my industry, when you have violations over and over again, it's called systematic," says Matt, who works as a consultant for the DEA in controlling illegal substances. "I believe there is clearly negligence here."

And that's the central allegation in the class-action suit, which reads like a laundry list of other offenses, from exposure to human waste to Carnival allegedly "acting wantonly and/or recklessly" by failing to tow the boat to the nearest point of call and instead bringing it to Alabama for repairs "motivated solely by financial gain and Carnival's convenience."

As Matt puts it: "Will it take a whole ship of people to die before they'll pull a ship for repairs?"

The Triumph debacle may have devolved into a media circus and late-night television joke. But cruise-industry watchdogs say it's something more serious: a troubling indicator of pervasive safety problems in a booming industry with little oversight. This isn't just a story about how a paradisiacal vacation turned into a floating hell.

James Walker, a leading Miami attorney who once represented the cruise lines and now represents passengers and crew, says his worst cases "tend to involve loved ones coming home in body bags," and that crews regularly work long hours, months at a time without days off. "And they push their ships just as hard as their crew." The bigger question that people should be asking, Walker says, is, why are so many ships catching fire and losing power? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Carnival from Hell
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.