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Posts Tagged ‘Carnival Cruise Lines’

Another Cruise Industry #PRFail?


Planning a cruise? You may or may not receive attentive customer service on social media.

While the latest skirmish with bad experiences hasn’t made the sort of headlines created by last year’s series of Carnival “challenges”, it did earn coverage on legal specialist Jim Walker’s Cruise Law News blog. And it gives us an opportunity to compare corporate crisis communications at three of the top cruise lines.

Royal Caribbean, Princess and Carnival all had ships unable to re-enter or leave port after an oil spill last weekend, but they went about addressing the problem in different ways.

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Shocker: Carnival Cruise Lines Wins Monopoly’s ‘Battle of the Brands’

1393469_10151678047851517_1385101363_n-1If that headline seems like a mistake, we thought so too; especially when you consider that Carnival Cruise Lines, with all of its incredibly bad press of late (“poop cruise,” anyone?) went head-to-head with brands like Coke, Transformers and Electronic Arts in Monopoly‘s recent Facebook contest, “Battle of the Brands.”

Earlier this week, in an effort to promote its new game, the brand-oriented Monopoly Empire, Hasbro created a Facebook “Battle of the Brands” contest for its fans. The winner would be the first brand to rack up 5,000 likes on its #BattleoftheBrands Facebook post. The competing companies included Carnival Cruise Lines, Transformers, Chevrolet, Fender Guitar, Nestlé, Beats by Dre, eBay, X Games, Nerf, Ducati, Electronic Arts, JetBlue, Coca-Cola and Yahoo.

And, incredibly, the brand to come out on top was Carnival.

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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.

How the Carnival Triumph Disaster Is Also a PR Opportunity

Here at PRNewser, we’re always thinking of ways to turn even the sourest lemons into sweet lemonade. As we watched the Carnival Triumph disaster play out over the long weekend, we came up with a few ways other brands could use use this foul-smelling story to their advantage:

  • Competitors could simply use this scandal as an opportunity to hype their own offerings by cutting through the negative news with humor. Just as Audi used the Super Bowl blackout to lightly mock rival Mercedes (sponsor of the Superdome), other travel brands could make references to the Triumph debacle or Carnival’s new discount service–and everyone would get the joke.
  • Rival cruise operators could create campaigns highlighting their own tech prowess with taglines like “No Triumphs in This Fleet”. Of course, there’s always the potential for backlash if these companies experience technical disasters on later cruises–but the possibly of failure rarely stops a lucrative promo campaign.
  • Another idea: travel and tourism brands could position themselves as alternatives to a troubled cruise industry. Timeshare and vacation condo companies, for example, could create a campaign called “Keep Your Feet on the Ground” emphasizing the safety of trips that don’t require travelers to leave the comfort of the land.

What do we think? The public loves humor as long as it isn’t blatantly mean-spirited, right?

Should other brands make light of the Triumph in promo campaigns or social media efforts? Have any already jumped on this opportunity?

Carnival Triumph Debacle: Let the Damage Control Begin!

Carnival Cruise Lines TriumphLast week’s Triumph fiasco was one of the larger customer service failures in recent memory and the biggest corporate PR challenge of the year to date–the photos released last Thursday and Friday only show us how big the problem really is. Now it’s PR’s time to shine as the Carnival Cruise Lines damage control campaign begins!

First, despite what seemed to be radio silence on the Carnival side, the company’s social media team was active throughout the incident, issuing updates and countering rumors–but we think you’ll agree that tweets like these probably didn’t improve public perceptions of the scandal:

We’re not sure whether the first one was a joke–and we’re surprised that it hasn’t been deleted.

Now let’s review the steps in Carnival’s damage control process and see where the company might go from here:

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Epic PR Fail, Part 2: Carnival Triumph Images Emerge

Things just keep getting worse for Carnival Cruise Lines today, don’t they? Here are a couple of wow-level updates from the Associated Press:

Now we hear that passengers probably won’t be able to leave the ship until the “wee hours Friday morning.

And we know Carnival‘s PR team is going to love these images. They’re wishing the smartphone had never been invented:

Courtesy of the Associated Press and passenger Kalin Hill

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