Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger From Carnival Ecstasy

A local FOX News station in Clearwater, Florida reports that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a passenger with a medical emergency from a Carnival  cruise ship.

The Carnival Ecstasy was sailing around 250 miles southwest of the Florida Keys on Thursday, when a 51 year old male passenger began experiencing symptoms of a heart attack.

The Coast Guard crew flew out to the cruise ship in a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. They hoisted the sick passenger onto the helicopter and flew the man to a hospital. 

FOX 13 News

Carnival Ecstasy Intercepts 41 Cubans at Sea

 Multiple news sources are reporting that a Carnival cruise ship spotted a boat packed with dozens of Cuban migrants in the Florida Straits Tuesday night. 

The Coast Guard says the Carnival Ecstasy spotted the migrants' vessel Tuesday evening. Officials say the small boat wasn't seaworthy and lacked lifejackets and navigation equipment. I think that goes without saying when Cubans or others from Caribbean islands take to sea in rafts or make-shift boats.

The Ecstasy stopped and took 41 Cubans aboard. Carnival then transferred the Cubans to the Coast Guard for return to Cuba.  Under the "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy, Cubans who make it to U.S. soil are allowed to stay in the U.S., but Cubans stopped at sea are returned back to Cuba. home.

Carnival Cruise Lines Rescues Cubans at SeaWe have mentioned many stories like this over the years. Usually there is great excitement by the cruise passengers that they were involved in the "rescue" of people at sea. Yes, the Cuban people were rescued from the sea but they are returned to Castro's Cuban and the conditions which caused them to risk their lives. 

Last week we commented on this issue in an article entitled Cubans "Trying for the American Dream" End With An Empty Boat. In that case, Carnival intercepted 24 Cubans who were escorted by the Coast Guard back to Cuba. 

I wonder whether any of the 41 Cubans picked up by the Carnival Ecstasy Tuesday night had tried to cross again after being picked up last week? 

 

Photo Credit: AP / Local 10 news

Carnival Ecstasy Briefly Loses Engine Power

Carnival Ecstasy Power OutageThe popular cruise fan site Cruise Critic is reporting that the Carnival Ecstasy's return to Port Canaveral this morning was delayed due to a brief power failure last evening.  

Cruise Critic states that the Ecstasy lost power for around 12 minutes while sailing back to Port Canaveral at the end of a five-night Bahamas cruise. 

Carnival released a statement, saying that  "All hotel services and propulsion were quickly restored and the ship is currently underway on its way back to its homeport."

Carnival attributed the power outage to a "mechanical failure."

The Ecstasy is an old Fantasy class cruise ship launched in 1991. Carnival has been under criticism for neglecting maintenance on its ships.

Leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

 

Photo Credit:  Wikipedia / Sparrowman980 

 

A Look Back: The Carnival Ecstasy Fire of 1998 at Miami Beach

Carnival Cruise Ship Ecstasy FireThe media's microscope is focused on Carnival right now following the large number of recent engine and propulsion problems involving the Carnival Triumph, Dream, Elation & Legend and the Carnival-owner P&O Cruises' Ventura cruise ships.   

The defenders of the cruise line are responding to the PR mess by insisting that such incidents are "rare."  But you will find no historical perspective, and no reference to a data-base of any type.

Business Insider posted an article today: "A Photo History Of Carnival Cruise Ship Disasters."  There were a couple of interesting photographs of the fire which erupted aboard the Carnival Ecstasy in 1998 as the cruise ship was trying to said out of Government Cut at Miami Beach.  The two photos below, via Reuters, I have never seen before.

Carnival's passengers and crew members were extremely lucky in that incident. The ship's on-board system did not suppress the fire, which charred the entire stern of the ship. But the incident occurred near the port. Other vessels were able to quickly respond and eventually extinguish the fire. If the fire had occurred just an hour or two later on the high seas and away from the fire boats, the Ecstasy would have burned down to the hull.

The Business Insider article contains a link to the NTSB report of the fire, which is interesting reading.

I was disappointed that the article did not mention the deadly Star Princess cruise ship fire in 2006. This cruise ship was operated by Carnival-owned Princess Cruises. This fire is an important piece of evidence in the history of cruise ship fires. You can see some photographs in our article "Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires - Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?"    

Carnival Cruise Ship Fire - Ecstasy

Carnival Cruise Ship Fires - Ecstasy

Carnival ecstasy Cruise Ship Fire

Photo Credit:

Photos nos 2, 3: Business Insider / Reuters

Photo no. 4: ForeignPolicy.com

Rapper Big Boi Arrested for Drugs Leaving Cruise Ship in Miami

U.S. customs agents in Miami arrested rapper "Big Boi," of the hip-hop duo "OutKast," on drug possession charges as he disembarked a cruise ship.   

Big Boi Cruise Drug Arrest  TMZ reports that Big Boi (real name Antwan Patton), had "ecstasy pills, MDMA powder and Viagra" in his luggage as he was leaving the unidentified cruise ship after it returned to the Port of Miami.

It apparently is a felony to possess Viagra without a prescription.  Seems to be a tad embarrassing to be called "Big Boi" and get busted for Viagra of all things.  I have never heard of "MDMA powder" but it is apparently a purer form of ecstasy. 

Some people may jump to the conclusion that customs picked on Big Boi because he is a rapper.  But cruise passengers get arrested for drugs all of the time.  

Just last week, American passenger Richard Battistella from New Jersey was arrested when customs officers from Bermuda brought a sniffer dog onto the Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas cruise ship and found "13 spliffs" in a bedside drawer in his cabin.  According to the Royal Gazette newspaper, the passenger pled guilty to importing cannabis into Bermuda (even though the pot never left his cabin) and he paid a $3,000 fine.

Big Boi was held and then released on a $16,000 bond.  His attorney gave this statement to the press: "While Big Boi was traveling with his group and friends, a small amount of contraband was found in the collective luggage . . . I am confident when the entire facts are aired Big Boi will be completely exonerated."

Meanwhile Big Boi tweeted: "Fresh Out Baby ! . . . Shiiiiit they said it was the Love Boat."  

Anyone know the name of the cruise ship he was sailing on?  Please leave a comment below.  (Other passengers are saying Carnival Valor).

Rapper Big Boi Drug Bust on Cruise Ship

For other stories about drug busts on cruise ships, consider reading:

Are You a Stoner? Don't Cruise to Bermuda!

Cruise Ship Drug Crimes Soar!

Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas

 

Photo credits: 

Top:  Big Boi Twitter page

Bottom: Gawker 

Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas

Earlier this week, we blogged about the prevalence of drugs on the Atlantis gay parties on Royal Caribbean cruise ships and asked whether the cruise line was prepared to deal with problems as the Allure of the Seas sailed this week - Is Royal Caribbean Ready for Medical Emergencies During the World's Largest Gay Cruise?

Steven Barry KrumholzWe received a comment to our article from a cruiser: "I've been on 13 Atlantis cruises. Friends of mine on ship are reporting one death by falling, multiple people removed at first port for drugs and a several minutes long announcement by the captain about drugs. Amazed RCCL puts up with this."

Well today the AP is reporting that a passenger from California was arrested in the U.S. Virgin Islands on suspicion of selling drugs to fellow passengers on the Allure of the Seas. According to the AP:

"Steven Barry Krumholz, 51, of West Hollywood, was arrested on board the Allure of the Seas in St. Thomas, said Jeffrey Quinones, a spokesman in Puerto Rico for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The ship had just come from the Bahamas on a charter billed as the "world's largest gay cruise."

Customs and Border Protection agents boarded the ship Wednesday and found drugs on another passenger, who said he had placed an order with Krumholz before the trip and picked them up while on board, according to an affidavit submitted by one of the investigating agents.

Agents searched Krumholz's cabin and allegedly found more than 142 ecstasy pills, nearly 3 grams of methamphetamine, a small quantity of ketamine and about $51,000 in cash, the agent said.

While waiting for the suspect to return to his cabin, two more passengers came to buy drugs, according to the affidavit."

$51,000 in cash.  Wow.  That's alot of drugs sold to passengers on the Allure.

Sounds like high times on the high seas.

 

Allure of the Seas - Atlantis Events - Largest Gay Cruise - Drugs

 

Credit:  "high time on the high seas" is a quote I first heard from friend Chris Owen

Photo credit:  top - Steven Krumholz facebook; bottom - Atlantis Events facebook page

Medical Examiner Concudes Passenger Died of Drug Overdose on Carnival Ecstasy

The Galveston County Daily News reports today that the medical examiner concluded that Carnival cruise passenger Kipi Holcomb died of a drug overdose. 

As we mentioned in prior articles, on February 15, 2010 Ms. Holcomb was found in her cabin aboard Carnival's Ecstasy cruise ship after sailing from port in Galveston.

The FBI previously indicated that there was no evidence of foul play.  The medical examiner also found no signs of trauma. 

The toxicology report revealed Ms. Holcomb’s blood-alcohol level was .27 and she had cocaine  and THC (an ingredient in marijuana) in her system.

Carnival Ecstasy Listing Update: Smooth Sailing to Chaos & Confusion

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.

Carnival Ecstasy - Cruise Ship - Listing - Buoy - Smooth Sailing?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 - Listing - Buoy - Islands? - Chaos

 

Credits:

Carnival Ecstasy TV navigational photo                Cory Forister

YouTube Video of Carnival Ecstasy Listing - "The Rest of the Story"

The video below is from a passenger who was on Carnival's Ecstasy with his family when the cruise ship listed in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010. "Mattyhiway" writes:

The Ecstasy made a sharp turn at sea to avoid a wayward buoy.  The ship listed to port hard causing dozens of injuries and traumatizing many more. What the news showed was only part of the story, this is the REST of the story told from passengers who survived this incident.  

 

 

 

We have commented on this incident in an article "Did Carnival's Ecstasy Cruise Ship Almost Hit A Sand Bar?"   If you were on this cruise, click on the link and leave a comment!

See our updated story: Carnival Mocks Injured and Traumatized Cruise Passenger Complaints As "Completely Ridiculous"

 

Credits:    Mattyhiway's YouTube Channel

Did Carnival's Ecstasy Cruise Ship Almost Hit A Sand Bar?

We have written a couple of articles about the recent incident when Carnival's Ecstasy cruise ship heavily listed in the Gulf of Mexico, injuring 60 passengers and frightening many hundreds more. 

Carnival Ecstasy - Listing - Bouy?  -  Or Sand Bar?We received a message from one of the passengers on the cruise, suggesting that the Carnival cruise ship was about to hit a sand bar which was marked by a buoy.  And the cruise line is covering up the true circumstances of the incident.  Here is the message:   

"I was on that cruise. There was a buoy, but the buoy was there marking a sand bar that we almost ran aground on!! The land mass was on the radar. You can see the radar, direction and course of the ship on one of the channels in each cabins TV. The ship made a NINETY DEGREE TURN!! You dont do that to avoid a buoy! I was also told by a crew member that someone on the bridge was getting fired over the mistake. The cruise line is covering its butt!!"

But Carnival's PR person Jennifer de la Cruz told CNN "the ship listed 12 degrees to the right to avoid hitting a large, adrift buoy . . ." 

Who is telling the truth?  There are also some comments on Cruise Critic debating this.  One reader posted this comment: 

"Hmmm.. Not buying the official story. I was on the ship, and minutes before the sharp turn we were near a TV in the Rolls Royce cafe where they show the position of the ship on a map, speed, etc.  We noticed the ship was heading directly towards 2 very small (submerged?) islands on the map . . . and no one on board is buying this "phantom buoy" story . . .   

Carnival Ecstasy - Buoy? - Accident - List 

But another Cruise Critic reader suggested that the cruise ship was in water several thousands of feet deep.

So what really happened? 

Was there really a loose buoy floating around? Or was the buoy marking a navigational hazard?  Are there really sand bars (or reefs) in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, 200 miles off of the coast of Louisiana?

What are the exact coordinates of the incident?

The U.S. Coast Guard will be investigating, but it will take some time to get to the bottom of the incident.  Are there other passengers who know what really happened? 

Does anyone have a photo of the phantom buoy?

Let us hear from you in the comment section below . . .   

Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Ship - Empty Pool Following List - Buoy?

 

There are many videos on the internet regarding the listing incident.  The video below is raw video from a reporter with the Galveston County Daily:   

 

 

Be sure to read our updated article: Carnival Ecstasy Listing Update: Smooth Sailing to Chaos & Confusion and Carnival Mocks Injured and Traumatized Cruise Passenger Complaints As "Completely Ridiculous"

 

Photograph credits:

Ecstasy cruise ship        Carlos Javier Sanchez, Bloomberg News / Getty Images (via AOL News)

Injured passenger and empty pool        Brandy and Ashley Vickery (via ABC13 "Sixty Passengers Hurt on Galveston-Based Cruise Ship") 

Video interview of passengers  Galveston County Daily

Carnival's Ecstasy Cruise Ship Back To Sea After 60 Passengers Injured

The Carnival cruise ship Ecstasy returned to sea following an incident where the ship listed heavily to avoid hitting a partially submerged buoy. 

Although Carnival initially downplayed the incident, it turns out that 60 passengers reported to the ship infirmary for injuries.

The video is from Houston News - ABC13.com

April 23, 2010 UPDATE:  Did Carnival's Ecstasy Cruise Ship Almost Hit A Sand Bar?

 

Carnival Passengers Frightened As Ecstasy Cruise Ship Lists During Emergency Maneuver

KBTX in Texas reports that as Carnival's Ecstasy cruise ship was returning to port in Galveston, the cruise ship listed heavily in order to avoid hitting a buoy which had come loose in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Carnival claims that the buoy was mostly submerged and not detected by radar.

According to a passenger, "the ship was shuddering .  .  .  that's when all the dishes were coming out. It was a mess, it looked like a food fight and that's when everybody jumped up screaming and running trying to get outside .  .  .  we thought we were going over. We really thought the whole ship was going to be tipped over." 

The listing was severe enough to cause water to pour out of the pool.  Carnival reported some injuries due to the incident.  The cruise line issued a statement stating:

Carnival sincerely apologizes for the distress and discomfort this occurrence has caused our guests. The safety, comfort and care of our guests and crew is our top priority." 

The Ecstasy is expected to return to Galveston today.

Update:

According to USA TODAY's Cruise Log, Carnival indicated that approximately 60 passengers were treated at the ship infirmary for injuries.    

 

 

April 23, 2010 UPDATE:  Did Carnival's Ecstasy Cruise Ship Almost Hit A Sand Bar?

 

Credits:            KBTX.com

Family of Kipi Holcomb: No Foul Play In Death of Carnival Cruise Ship Passenger

KHOU.com from Houston, Texas reports that the parents of Kipi Holcomb do not believe that their daughter's death on the Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship was the result of foul play or that her boyfriend, Jeffrey Aaron StultzKipi Holcomb - Aaron Stultz - Death - Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Ship, had anything to do with her passing.  

In an article entitled "Family: No Foul Play in Carnival Cruise Ship Passenger's Death," FBI Special Agent Shauna Dunlap is quoted as saying that the investigators haven’t found any reason to suspect foul play.

Ms. Holcomb’s family is disturbed that there is a cloud of suspicion cast over their daughter’s boyfriend, Mr. Stultz, and they want to dispel rumors that he had anything to do with the young woman’s death.

"I don’t want any suspicion cast on Aaron at all," said Sharron Holcomb. "As far as any earthly party having anything to do with her death, absolutely not."

The Holcombs also believe that Carnival mistreated Mr. Stultz aboard the cruise ship. The newspaper reports that "according to the Holcombs, once Aaron found their daughter lifeless and called for help, he was taken to what they described as a blood-stained room. They said he was locked inside and wasn’t allowed to make a phone call. 'They treated him like he was guilty,' said Sharron Holcomb."

The Holcombs said that while they don’t know how their daughter died, they’re confident foul play wasn’t involved.

The KHOU.com story was compiled from information from by Courtney Zubowski / 11 News, T.J. Aulds / The Daily News  and John Tompkins / The (Brazosport) Facts. 

In a previous article, we reported on the wildly conflicting stories surrounding Ms. Holcomb's death in an article entitled "FBI Investigating Death of Passenger Kipi Holcomb on Carnival Ecstasy."  One local newspaper reports that there were clear signs of foul play involved, but this conclusion appears questionable at this point.

A local news channel in Texas also reports "Family: No Foul Play in Cruise Ship Death" and has a number of photographs of Ms. Holcomb.

The medical examiner in Galveston will be conducting toxicology tests to arrive at a final conclusion regarding the cause of death.

 

 

 

 

Credits:

Photograph            Facebook

Video                        KHOU.com