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Another PR Fail for Carnival Cruise Lines

We almost hate to pile on Carnival Cruise Lines at this point, but 2013 is turning out to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for one of the biggest names in leisure travel. Almost exactly a month after the Carnival Triumph disaster, a second ship lost power while docked in the Caribbean yesterday and left passengers stuck on board with no electricity, no working toilets and no ability to leave despite the fact that the boat was resting next to land.

To its credit, Carnival is getting creative with its problem-solving strategy this time around: the team plans to fly all passengers back to Florida after keeping them on the boat in order to ensure that no one gets left behind. A sensible move, but passengers aren’t happy, and more email quotes about “human waste all over the floor in some of the bathrooms” and elevators turning “on and off, on and off” obviously amount to very, very bad PR.

A commenter on a previous story made a great point: companies like Carnival often hire “party planner” PR teams that excel at event promotion but aren’t quite as experienced when it comes to dealing with disasters like this one. We’re not sure who’s handling crisis communications for the company right now, but they are about to earn their pay.

Oh, and Carnival might want to move ahead with that “comprehensive review” of the entire fleet. Just a friendly suggestion.

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