Carnival Cruise Sails Through Response to Flooding on Ship

Thom Weidlich 05.10.18


Carnival Cruise Line experienced a crisis last week that was not serious, yet managed to draw comparisons to the Titanic. The company steered clear of overreacting and, in doing so, kept a minor mishap from mutating into a major misadventure. Carnival handled it all very well.

The incident occurred on Carnival Dream, which had left New Orleans on Sunday, April 29, for a seven-day cruise of the western Caribbean. Around 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, a water main in the ship’s sprinkler system burst, gushing water into several corridors and 50 staterooms. Naturally, video of the flood went viral on social media. It appears no reporter or commenter could refrain from comparing the situation to the Titanic.

“We are flooding on a cruise, we heard the violins and the silverware all came crashing down. What in the world….say a prayer for us all,” one passenger posted on Facebook.

The crew responded quickly. It bailed out the water, replaced carpet, dried out carpet that didn’t need to be replaced, and cleaned the private rooms. About 100 guests were affected but most were able to sleep in their cabins. A few opted to sleep on mattresses moved into the spa.

Cruise companies, of course, are not strangers to crises. In the past few years, Carnival has experienced deaths of passengers falling overboard and the 2013 incident in which the Carnival Triumph became unmoored when docked for repairs. Also in 2013, the Carnival Dream was stuck in St. Maarten due to a problem with a backup generator.

‘Safety and Security’

For this most recent incident, Miami-based Carnival put out a statement noting that the cleanup took only about six hours; the company even appended a 20-second video clip to the statement that showed a restored hallway. “The water main break had no effect on the safe operation of the ship,” it said. “The safety and security of our guests and crew is our top priority.”

One smart thing Carnival did in the statement was praise its passengers and employees. “Both our crew and our guests were amazing during this voyage,” it said.


“Most of the guests on board were not even aware of the incident until the last 24 hours as word circulated and our passengers heard from friends and family who saw media reports.”

— Carnival Cruise Line

It appears Carnival wisely made no effort to prevent people from filming and posting the waterfalls, and the company was probably happy that passenger video also circulated of the workers cleaning up the flood (with buckets no less).

Its statement noted that it provided full refunds and a credit for future travel (reportedly 50 percent) to the 100 affected guests; the Carnival Dream carries about 3,500 passengers. It also offered to fly those guests home from the next port; only two accepted. Those were pretty generous offers, quickly made.

“Most of the guests on board were not even aware of the incident until the last 24 hours as word circulated and our passengers heard from friends and family who saw media reports,” Carnival said in its statement.

The Carnival Dream returned to New Orleans on Sunday, May 6 as scheduled.

Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line

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