Obtaining accurate information from the cruise industry is difficult. Whenever passengers have a complaint, the cruise lines either ignore them or the cruise lines' customer relations departments send them a nonsensical letter several weeks later dismissing their complaints or offering a 25% on a future cruise. This often infuriates the passengers who have no intention of ever sailing on a particular cruise line again and are seeking specific information to their legitimate inquiries.
There are websites which provide an excellent source of information that the cruise lines don't want you to know. One is CruiseJunkie, run by Professor Ross Klein in Canada. Dr. Klein tracks safety issues, environmental concerns, and passenger and crew complaints. He has testified several times regarding cruise ship crime before our U.S. Congress.
This morning I read an interesting article on CruiseJunkie regarding a passenger's complaint that the water in the sink and toilet was brown and disgusting looking. The passenger was a cancer survivor and was concerned whether the water may have been toxic. Photos of the sink and toilet are courtesy of CruiseJunkie. Take a look.
But the purpose of writing about this is not just to gross you out. It is to demonstrate how cruise lines respond to concerns like this.
The shipboard officers and crew offered no assistance or explanation, and would not even send a few complimentary bottles of water to the cabin. And when the passenger returned home and wrote to Carnival, the cruise line's "Guest Care" team sent what the passenger accurately characterized as a "nonsensical letter" stating "Designing memorable trips is the heart of our business . . . Great food and service . . . will create wonderful memories . . ." The letter ended with no explanation regarding the source of the contaminated water but regretted that the passenger "felt let down."
The passenger contacted the Florida Division of Consumer Services, the US Public Health Service, and the Federal Maritime Commission - all of whom informed him that they have no regulatory authority over the cruise line industry.
This is what happens when the cruise industry is unregulated and is not obligated to report incidents to health or safety regulators. Cruise lines like Carnival are not forthcoming with truthful information. Whether it's the senior PR spokesperson or a low level clerk in the customer services' department, they will write a letter or issue a press statement treating the U.S. public like idiots.
So the mystery of the disgusting water on Carnival's Liberty will remain, like many disturbing incidents on cruise ships, a mystery.
Photographs courtesy CruiseJunkie.com
May 3, 2010 Update:
This is not the first time passengers have complained about the water on Carnival's Liberty cruise ship. A reader brought the following YouTube video to our attention. Take a look:
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