If you read my articles about business, you will get the idea that I have a pretty negative opinion of businesses and how they treat people. In most cases, you would be absolutely correct; however, occasionally a company gets it right. In these cases, I try to ensure that I point out the good as well as the bad. Today, a cruise company took a step to make me believe that some companies really care about their customers.
Yesterday morning, Carnival Cruise Lines had an incident aboard the Carnival Triumph. The Triumph had a fire in the aft engine room while the ship was approximately 150 miles off of the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The fire was extinguished and there were no casualties to the crew or guests. However, the situation left the ship without propulsion and limited power. While initial reports were of terrible conditions on the ship, including no running water for drinking or restrooms. The technical team on the ship has worked to maintain emergency generator power and restore auxiliary power to operate some of the basic ship functions. This includes restoring the freshwater system and the sewer system to the front end of the ship. What really impresses me is the response from Carnival.
The company took the correct basic steps such as notifying the authorities who dispatched a U.S. Coast Guard cutter to escort the ship as it waits for tug boats to tow it to the nearest port in Progreso, Mexico. The guests have been provided food and refreshments including limited hot coffee and food service. The company sent the Carnival Elation to rendezvous with the Triumph and provide dinners for the guests. They have another ship, the Carnival Legend, scheduled to do the same today.
This is where it gets good. As compensation for the issue, all guests on this cruise will be flown from Mexico to the U.S. on aircraft chartered by the cruise line. They will be refunded the full amount of their cruise, including transportation expenses. They will receive a refund of all shipboard purchases with the exception of gift shop and casino purchases. Finally, they will get a credit equal to the amount paid for this voyage that can be used towards a future cruise. This is a great way to compensate people for a serious issue occurring during their cruise. It’s particularly wonderful considering the fact that they were on their last full day of the sailing as they were scheduled to reach port today.
Not only has Carnival done everything they could to make sure that the people on the cruise are properly cared for and compensated, they are also taking care of the guests who were scheduled to sail on upcoming cruises as well. They are contacting all guests scheduled to sail on the Triumph on February 11 and February 16. These guests will receive a full refund, including a refund of any non-refundable travel expenses. All of these guests will be given a 25 percent discount on any future three to five-day cruise.
The Differentiating Factor
The reason I chose to write about this is that I am passionate about customer service, and cruising. At least, I’m as passionate as I can be on my budget. I have cruised multiple times on Carnival. I’ve always had a great experience. I even got married while on a Carnival cruise. Last year, I decided to try a Royal Caribbean cruise and regretted that decision. The food and service were both mediocre. The mediocrity of that cruise was compounded by the fact that I spent much more than I would have for a comparable Carnival cruise.
I am currently in the beginning stages of planning another cruise. Of course, I’ve considered going back to Carnival, but I was also considering looking into Disney and Norwegian. However, after how quickly Carnival responded to this situation, I can say that I will be making my reservations with Carnival. Just a few days after writing a piece about how Applebee’s had a complete public relations meltdown, I am reassured that my initial impression of Carnival was correct. They are a company that cares about the guests experience and will take appropriate action if that experience is negatively affected.
My kudos to Carnival Cruise Lines and its management. I’m impressed by your ability to respond quickly, and with the bests interests of your customers in mind. It is becoming a rarity in today’s business world. Even though I’m not personally affected by this incident, your response has gained my loyalty. I encourage anyone who is looking for a vacation to visit Carnival. I can’t think of many companies that are this committed to providing an excellent customer experience.
The ship is now being towed to Mobile, Alabama. The ship had drifted approximately 90 miles north by the time the tug boats arrived, which made towing the ship to Mobile a more reasonable port. CEO Gerry Cahill held a press briefing this evening. More details to follow.