We have been inundated with emails and calls from passengers who were injured or traumatized during the "listing incident" involving the Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship on April 21, 2010.
We have received over 30 comments alone on our article "Did Carnival's Ecstasy Cruise Ship Almost Hit A Sand Bar?" Take a moment and read about the terror these families experienced.
The comments fall into two categories - (1) passengers who observed or believed that a buoy, sand bar, shoal or island was involved which the cruise ship tried to avoid; or (2) skeptical readers who claim that there are no sand bars, shoals or islands in the Gulf of Mexico (these people usually were not on the cruise).
One thing that everyone who who was on the cruise has confirmed - the water in the Gulf of Mexico at the time of the incident was absolutely calm. So calm that you could water ski or skip a rock across the water. Ironically, the cruise was advertised as "Smooth Sailing" by swing dance instructor "Big Smooth" who was apparently teaching swing dance during the five day cruise (photograph above).
Most passengers who have contacted us believe that Carnival has not told the truth. They tell us that the cruise line lacks honesty by either under-reporting the number of injuries, or claiming that a loose buoy could not be detected by radar, or by claiming that the ship listed only 12 degrees, or by denying that the cruise ship may have been trying to avoid a sand bar or island in its path.
Several passengers have emailed us photographs of the TV monitors which show that the Ecstasy was passing or had just passed two islands at the time of the listing (photograph below). Photographs and video of this type were take by several passengers of the TVs on the ships.
Did the cruise ship almost run into a shoal or small island? I don't know. The water was deep at this location in the Gulf of Mexico. But what about the "islands" on the TV? It is less than clear what was going on. We are not going to know the truth until the U.S. Guard finishes its investigation.
But assuming that Carnival is right (which I am reluctant to admit), and the Ecstasy was just trying to avoid a buoy, how on earth could the vessel's officers not have detected the buoy on the cruise ship's radar? Even small power-boats with modest radar systems can easily pick up a buoy like this many miles away. There is no possible excuse for a large cruise ship with sophisticated radar systems not to have detected the buoy - whether it was marking a hazard or was adrift as Carnival claims.
Probably the Master was not on duty, and the officers on duty (assuming someone was on duty) were asleep at the helm.
There is something very fishy with Carnival's story . . . it stinks.
Carnival's passengers paid several thousands of dollars for this cruise, only to go from smooth sailing to chaos, panic and confusion.
These nice people are not as stupid as Carnival thinks.
They deserve straight talk and a truthful explanation regarding what happened.
Carnival Ecstasy TV navigational photo Cory Forister