Dangerous Railing on Carnival Fantasy

Carnival Fantasy Loose RailingA follower of my blog sent me a video of a loose deck railing taken by a passenger yesterday on the Carnival Fantasy which is currently sailing from Mobile, Alabama to Cozumel, Mexico. 

The video (bottom) was posted to Facebook and shows the passenger pointng out a railing with heavily rusted brackets (video image left). The video has a caption saying: 

Carnival Cruise broken rail! Beware and look before you lean!!!! 12/17/17

Please share so people will look!

The narration includes the following: 

So we are on a Carnival cruise to the Caribbean. . . I lean on the rail  . . . just came out of the food court . . . lean on the rail and find out that the rail was broken  . . it moved about this far (pointing) when I lean on it . . . scared me, I thought I was going overboard but thank God . . . this side  is still holding, this side is broke off  . . . you guys be wary with your kids . . . when you are on Carnival Cruise Lines, or any cruise line really, just check the rails . . . that could have been serious . . . wooh!  

I have not been on this cruise ship, but I believe that the passenger is referring to deck 8 (Atlantic Deck).  

We recently posted an article about a spy camera & transmitter installed in a passenger cabin on this ship. So, the point is that you can't take anything for granted when you cruise, including even whether the rails are maintained in good shape or they are so rusted to the point of being dangerous.

The passenger is a retired Air Force sergeant who lives in Alabama.  So, thank you for your service, and thank you for pointing out this hazard!  

The Good Samaritan passenger indicated on his Facebook page that he was going to alert the crew of the dangerous condition of the railing and would provide an update . . . . 

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Video credit: Facebook 


Carnival, the "Poop Cruise," Becomes the "Pervert Cruise?"

Almost four years ago, the Carnival Triumph lost power due to an engine room fire while the Carnival cruise ship was cruising in the Gulf Of Mexico.  The Triumph lost power to its engines which operated its propulsion systems, shipboard lights, air conditioning, galley operations and hygiene systems. Toilets overflowed as increasingly hungry, tired and frustrated passengers were forced to walk on soggy urine-soaked carpets over the course of four day as the stinky Carnival cruise ship was slowly towed back to the U.S. CNN and other networks covered the disgusting spectacle essentially 24-hours-a-day.

In the process, Carnival - previously marketed as the "Fun Ships" - earned a reputation as the "Poop Poop Cruise Carnival Triumph Cruise" line, a term the media (primarily CNN) coined for the event. The term "poop cruise" is found in the official Wikipedia description for the cruise ship.  "Poop cruise" caught on and was repeated in numerous stories about the cruise line, including in CNN's exclusive story -  Carnival Knew of Fire Danger Before Cruise, Documents Show (watch video - "Poop Cruise' should not have left.")

In 2013, Business Insider explained how Carnival was transformed from the "Fun Ships" to the hapless "Poop Cruise" line in an article styled How Carnival Went From 'Fun Ship' To 'Poop Cruise.' The article chronicled the Triumph passengers' disgusting testimonies: "Hallways were flooded with human waste, there was no A/C or running water, and passengers were left to survive on limited food and water." 

Fast forward to today.

Major newspapers and news networks like the Miami Herald, FOX News, New York Daily News and other newspapers including the Daily Mail (the largest internet following in the world - 50,000,000 readers a month) published articles in the last few days about a Florida family who discovered a spy camera and transmitter hidden in their passenger cabin on the Carnival Fantasy.

Ironically, the Fantasy left the same port (Mobile) where the Triumph "poop cruise" was towed back to Poop Cruise Carnival Cruise Lineafter it lost power. 

As explained by the Miami New Times, the family discovered the hidden recording and transmitting devices during a cruise to Mexico back in early October. The young couple was shocked when they discovered the secret spy equipment and considered the prospect that images of their young son could have been recorded and transmitted to others. They were concerned that other passengers who stayed in the same cabin during prior cruises might have had their privacy similarly violated.  But instead of preserving the devices as evidence and taking the crime* seriously, Carnival ship security disconnected the devices from their power sources, removed the evidence from the scene of the crime, and downplayed the incident as probably involving a prank by other passengers. 

We can debate whether Carnival intentionally spoliated the evidence, or whether this was the result of the gross negligence of the ill-trained, bumbling security officer, but the result is the same - Carnival prevented law enforcement from examining the devices in their original condition in order to learn whether images of the family had been captured and transmitted to others. Carnival later claimed to the press (after ignoring the family and their counsel for two months) that the device was "non Spy Camera - Carnival Fantasy Pervert Cruiseoperational," which should be obvious at this point after Carnival disassembled the devices and disconnected them from their power sources.

When the national news discussed the cruise spy cam and transmitter, guest analysts on FOX News' Tucker Carlson show laughed at Carnival's so-called "full investigation" allegedly performed by the shipboard technicians and its shore-side security personnel, which was apparently done without the involvement of either the FBI or the local police when the cruise ship returned to the port of Mobile. They also chuckled at how disconnected recording and transmitting devices could possibly result in anything other than "non-operational" equipment.

But the biggest laughs came when the analysts suggested that the infamous "poop cruise" line had just transformed itself into the "pervert cruise" line.

Yes, there are plenty of perverts on Carnival cruise ships, both crew members and passengers, as Spy Camera - Video Voyeurism - Carnival Fantasy evidenced by the fact that the Department of Transportation documented 26 sexual assaults which occurred on ships in the Carnival fleet in just over the last 9 months.

I'll repeat advice which I have given many times on this blog to families who cruise - watch your kids and watch your drinks. Realize that cruise ships are just floating hotels, where crimes can occur just like on land, but without an independent police force which will preserve evidence and be concerned with arresting the bad guys. And from this moment onward, I will always advise families who cruise on Carnival to look out for hidden spy cameras and the perverts who operate them. 

Have a thought? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page. 

You can watch the video of the Carnival security officer on the Carnival Fantasy disconnecting the recording and transmitting devices here

Image credits: Poop cruise images - CNN.  Spy camera & transmitter - FOX News. 

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*Federal law (18 U.S. Code § 1801) defines "video voyeurism" as merely demonstrating an intent to secretly record or transmit images of a person. Intent can be established by the installation of the hidden recording and transmitting devices in the passenger cabin; whether the devices are operational or not is not relevant to whether a crime occurred.  

Spy Camera and Transmitter in Carnival Fantasy Cabin U 160 - Video Voyeurism?

Spy Cam Carnival FantasyIn October of this year, a couple from Northern Florida went on a three-day cruise on the Carnival Fantasy out of Mobile. On the last evening of the cruise, to their shock and horror, they discovered a small video camera hidden in the bundled cables, behind the television in their cabin, which pointed toward their bed.

A photo of a cabin similar to cabin U 160 on the Fantasy (middle, right), shows the television in the corner of the cabin.      

The camera was wired to a transmitter and both devices were powered from the television power cable.  They became concerned that video images of them undressed had been transmitted, recorded and viewed by others and possibly uploaded to the internet. They were especially fearful that images of their 10 year-old child dressing and undressing in the cabin were also transmitted, recorded and viewed by others.

The couple reported the presence of the camera and transmitter in their cabin to the cruise ship’s security department. One of Carnival’s security personnel arrived in their cabin. He disconnected and removed the camera and transmitter with no gloves on and did not attempt to secure the room. In the video below, you can hear the passenger asking the officer why he was not wearing gloves.

The passenger thereafter communicated with the security staff to obtain an update. According to the passengers, the Carnival security personnel confirmed that the camera and transmitter: (1) were operational; (2) were typically the type of devices used on video drones: and (3) the transmitter was a long range device.

To the passenger's knowledge, Carnival did not promptly report the incident to the Federal Bureau of Carnival Fantasy Cabin U 160 Investigation (FBI). The passenger learned that Carnival notified the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), although the CBP told the concerned passenger that it had no jurisdiction over the matter and it took no action.

The passengers have heard absolutely nothing from Carnival about these troubling circumstances since returning from the cruise two months ago. They contacted my office and I sent a letter to Carnival asking for an explanation, which Carnival has ignored for the past month.

The passengers did not seek any type of compensation but were concerned that the Carnival security team did not properly investigate the incident, did not properly preserve the cabin and the video and transmitter therein and, in fact, spoliated this evidence, and failed to timely report the circumstances described above to the FBI as required by law. They remain concerned that they were not the only victims of this secret recording and transmitting equipment, placed in their cabin on the Carnival cruise ship, and that other Carnival guests had their privacy invaded.

18 U.S. Code § 1801 (“Video Voyeurism”) states that it is a crime to have “the intent to capture an image of a private area of an individual without their consent . . .” (and the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy). The term “capture” is defined as “to videotape, photograph, film, record by any means, or broadcast” and the term “broadcast” means to "electronically transmit a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by a person or persons."

In a statement to the Miami New Times, which covered the disturbing incident, a Carnival PR representative recently claimed that the recording and transmiting equipment were alledgedly "not operational."  That's not what the passenger recalls hearing on the ship. It begs the question why Carnival didn't communicate with the family after they returned home from the cruise and why the cruise line ignored Carnival Fantasy Cabin U 160 Spy Cam & Transmitterour request for an explanation. Of course, the presence of the recording and transmitting equipment shows an intent to record and transmit, which is clearly a crime.    

Carnival disassembled the devices without permitting the FBI or the local police conduct an investigation. In addition to the federal statute, Alabama has a state statute similar to 18 U.S. Code § 1801. The state statute would apply to any intent to secretely record and transmitt images within the state territorial waters of Alabama.   

I have heard of video spy cameras in hotels, spas and bathrooms before, but admittedly not in cruise cabins before this case. The Miami New Times article accurately quotes me - " The more I was thinking about it, it got me thinking: How often does this happen? . . . How many other passengers are being secretly recorded?"

Indeed, how long had the spy equipment been installed in cabin U 160 on the Carnival Fantasy, how many other passengers in this cabin have been videotaped in the past, and how many passengers have been videotaped on other cruise ships?  

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December 18, 2017 Update: Carnival, the "Poop Cruise," Becomes the "Pervert Cruise?"

Photo credit: Carnival Fantasy cabin (similar to cabin U 160) - cruiseline.com 

Carnival Fantasy Suffers Propulsion Problems

Carnival Fantasy A number of news sources are reporting that the Carnival Fantasy is experiencing a mechanical "technical problem" affecting its propulsion system, which limits the ship's maximum. Carnival said that because of this problem, the Fantasy will not call on its scheduled port stop, Cozumel, Mexico, and will remain at sea for the duration of the cruise.

Instead, Carnival will take the ship on a three-night "Cruise to Nowhere." 

Carnival offered its booked guests the option to cancel and receive a full refund, or stay on board and sailing on the "cruise to nowhere." Passengers who decided to stay on the cruise reportedly will receive a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare, a $50 onboard credit and a 50 percent toward a future cruise.

The Fantasy is 27 years old. 

"Cruises to nowhere" are illegal under the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) of 1886 unless the cruise line obtains a special waiver.

Recently, several cruises on Carnival and other lines have been affected by what the companies characterize as "technical issues" with the ships' engines.

The Carnival Paradise and the Carnival Splendor faces similar problems in the last six weeks.  Celebrity Cruises canceled or shortened cruises at the last minute on the Celebrity Summit two weeks ago. 

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Photo credit: Ron Cogswell - CC BY 2.0, commons / wikimedia. 

Coast Guard Medevacs Sick Passenger From Carnival Fantasy Cruise Ship

Carnival Fantasy Cruise ShipThe Tampa Tribune reports that the Coast Guard medevaced an ill passenger via helicopter from a Carnival cruise ship today. 

The Coast Guard in Miami sent a helicopter to medically evacuate a 27-year-old man from the Carnival Fantasy after he began experiencing severe abdominal pain. 

The cruise ship was reportedly more than 80 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida. The helicopter hoisted the sick passenger and a cruise ship nurse off the cruise ship and then transported the ill man to Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach around noon today.

The cruise ship was heading back to Charleston, South Carolina.