The crisis of Carnival’s “Splendor” cruise ship was apparently a malfunction that resulted in 3,300 people stuck for 72 hours with limited food, challenging hygienic conditions, and without electricity. It was no one’s fault, yet surely constitutes a Public Relations crisis for Carnival Cruise Lines. I stand up and say hats off to Carnival for how they handled the PR surrounding the crisis.

Despite countless negative headlines, it is necessary to remember that there is no amount of publicity or spin which can make a situation like this even remotely positive. Sometimes, the goal is simply to minimize the negative and, all in all, I think Carnival handled the issues fairly well – offering full refunds along with a 25 percent discount on a future cruise to a lighthearted blog post from the Senior Cruise Director: http://johnhealdsblog.com/2010/11/10/here-i-am-2.

The piece spoke not of smelling of roses, but smelling “like Paris on a hot summer’s day …that’s Paris the city not Paris the …person.” He continued with “continuous announcements from the bridge.”

It was simply an awful situation, but I strongly commend them for telling the truth and communicating via a press release and an apology from Carnival Cruise Lines’ CEO. He spoke of the challenges on the cruise ship, which are unlike any others his company has faced in its 35-year history, and made the difficult statement, “we are very, very sorry for the discomfort and the inconvenience that our guests have had to deal with in the past several days.”

These are very hard things to own up to and many other brands would have blamed someone else, ignored the problems, or simply taken way too long to communicate (remember how long it took Jet Blue in a much easier situation ?). I commend them for their transparent and rapid-response.   If I was a passenger, there would have been nothing anyone could have told me to make me understand or even tolerate the experience.

The situation will continue with a few days of negative stories from passengers on the boat, and Carnival will continue to need to address the many questions which exist. All in all, crisis is never good, but I think Carnival should be held up as an example of how to handle crisis PR.

SHARE
Previous articleGIVE MORE TO MAKE MORE: CHARITY HELPS YOU!
Next articleGIVING THANKS: A HOLIDAY GRATITUDE LIST FOR THE UNIVERSAL ENTREPRENEUR
Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here