Skift Take

Cruisers deserve up-to-date information online from cruise lines, whether or not a safety incident has occurred.

For several years, Carnival Cruise Line had a reputation for poor communication and delayed reactions when safety incidents occur at sea.

But the company’s response to the latest crisis onboard one if its vessels shows it may have become more open and communicative.

A fire broke out Monday in the engine room of the Carnival Liberty while the ship was docked in St. Thomas. No one was hurt and the blaze was quickly extinguished, but the ship was not cleared to sail by authorities.

Today Carnival said it will fly each of the more than 3,000 cruisers onboard back home from St. Thomas, refund the cancelled cruise, and offer a 50 percent discount on a future cruise.

Carnival began posting updates to its Twitter account shortly after the incident occurred and has posted five updates so far linking to detailed information about the fire. Eight posts regarding the incident were also made on the brand’s Facebook page.

By posting timely and accurate information to its social pages, Carnival effectively combated the misinformation and confusion that often occurs during one of these incidents. This is a far cry from the miscommunication that caused the brand permanent damage following the infamous engine fires aboard Carnival Triumph and Carnival Splendor in 2013.

“By sharing regular updates it is helping to ensure that the correct factual information is getting out there in multiple channels,” Jennifer de la Cruz, vice president of public relations for Carnival Cruise Line, told Skift. “We’ve been using our social channels to monitor comments and questions which helps inform us on details that we need to add to our updates or address individually.”

It also stopped posting promotional marketing materials on social media, a tasteful response that very few lines adopt.

“We have always strived to communicate well aboard ship when a situation occurs and to be generous with our guests,” said de la Cruz. “If they feel they are being kept informed and treated well that is reflected in their remarks to media and within social channels.”


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Tags: accidents, carnival

Photo credit: Carnival Liberty leaving Venice in 2005. Wouter van Doorn / Flickr

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