A Carnival crew member went overboard around 1:00 a.m. yesterday from the Carnival Splendor cruise ship. According to crew members, the crew member jumped. Unfortunately, despite a prompt search, the crew member was lost.
The incident was not reported by Carnival's corporate headquarters, nor was the incident reported by the press. Instead the first person to report on it was a popular Cruise Director, John Heald, who was aboard the cruise ship at the time of the tragic incident. Mr. Heald is employed as Carnival's Senior Cruise Director and writes a very popular blog named, naturally enough, John Healds Blog.
The article Mr. Heald wrote - A Very Sad Day - explains what happened in a clear and sensitive manner. You will not find any hint in the blog of the stiff corporate mumbo-jumbo which we see from most cruise lines. One of the problems cruise lines face is that they are afraid to reveal tragedies like this. When they say nothing, or delay, or sugar coat ugly facts, they lose credibility at best or look like they are hiding things at worst.
But Mr. Heald's informative and respectful blog timely explained the circumstances which brought the cruise ship to a stop in the middle of the night. It avoided speculation and conspiracy theories. It was the right thing to do. Over a hundred readers commented, almost all 100% in support of the thoughts expressed in his article.
Over 140 people have gone overboard in the last decade. This is the first time I have seen such a prompt statement of a crew or passenger overboard by anyone associated with the cruise line which contained accurate and timely information and also conveyed the story in human terms.
The industry's trade organization, the Cruise Line International Association, should invite all of the public relations and corporate communications experts from all of the other cruise lines to a cruise with Senior Cruise Director Heald so they can watch a real pro in action.
Photo credit: Carnival-News.com