As of yesterday, there have been a minimum of around 120 guests who tested positive for COVID-19 aboard the Norwegian Dawn, according to a trusted, long-term reader of Cruise Law News on the ship who wishes to remain anonymous.

The NCL cruise ship left New York (Cape Liberty Bayonne NJ) on April 28th for travel to  ports in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada), Reykjavik (Iceland), Belfast (Northern Ireland), Dublin (Ireland),  IJmuiden (Netherlands),  Bruges (Belgium), and Le Havre (France) with the end of the cruise in Southampton (England}.

The NCL ship was denied access to Brugge, Belgium, following which the ship spent the day at sea enroute to LeHavre.

LeHavre was then cancelled today as well.  The ship continued west in the English Channel before turning around to head to Southampton.

The guest on board the ship stated that “We are staying at sea until we disembark in Southampton tomorrow, even those that tested positive will be allowed to disembark. The ship did a test today. Many more people have tested positive although the numbers have not been disclosed.”

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reported on an outbreak on the Carnival Horizon according to a passenger who stated that around 100 guests tested positive for COVID-19. The Herald’s article is titled “Cruise bookings smash records. Passengers accepting COVID-19 likely will be aboard.”

The Carnival Spirit had over 100 guests infected with COVID-19 last week, as we reported – COVID-19 Outbreak Aboard Carnival Spirit – Carnival Cruise Line Refuses to Disclose Number of Infected Guests and Crew. Cruise guests on the Carnival cruise ship estimated the outbreak to involve “more than 100 people” and as many as 200.

Meanwhile, Carnival expressed pleasure that there have consistently over 100 infected guests on the last many sailings on its ships.

“Overall, we are very pleased with the public response to and support for our protocols, which has allowed us to be the first major U.S. cruise line to return its full fleet back to operation,” Chris Chiames, Carnival’s chief spokesman, said in an email to the Miami Herald. “Our ships are full and onboard spending patterns indicate that our guests are just as happy to be back on board as we are to have them.” The article states that cruise lines are “reporting record reservations for voyages, despite COVID-19 infecting the large majority of ships now sailing.”

Carnival, as usual, did not disclose the number of guests infected during the cruises.

“Through the ongoing pandemic, cruise lines never have shared publicly their respective figures on coronavirus infections among passengers and crew on individual ships, leaving passengers to discuss that and their experiences with the virus on social media.”

A passenger was quoted in the article stating:

“I don’t think that people really understand what they’re getting into when they’re going on a cruise. I didn’t understand what I was getting into,” she said, noting she was extremely ill with COVID-19 and left alone in an isolated cabin with no one checking on her. “I really, really hate to say it, Carnival has been my ship that I’ve cruised with for a long time, but I wish I had had a more positive experience when I was sick. “I definitely learned that COVID is still out there,” Chatham said. “I have no one to blame but myself. Everyone else wasn’t masking. It felt back to normal.”

Last week, we reported that at least five Carnival Corporation-owned and Princess Cruises-operated ships each with over a hundred positive cases of COVID-19.  Princess Cruises, recently had COVID-19 outbreaks with over 100 COVID-19 cases involving passengers on each of at least five cruise ships in its fleet of cruise ships, including the Ruby Princess, Grand Princess, Caribbean Princess, Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess.

Like NCL, Carnival Corporation-owned ships (Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess and HAL) are all notorious in not revealing the number of infected guests or crew members. The Miami Herald added that: “Norwegian Cruise Line, another big global cruise line based in Miami, did not respond to a reporter’s request for comment.”

Unfortunately, unlike reporting on norovirus cases on cruise ships when a U.S. itinerary is involved, where the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will state the precise number of positive cases amongst both the guests and crew members, the CDC will not disclose the number of COVID-19 cases to the public. That leaves the cruise lines’ lack of transparency further keeping the public in the dark.

After missing the last two ports, the Norwegian Dawn is now approaching Southampton. We are awaiting further word from the passenger we know on the NCL ship regarding the current number of infected passengers. NCL of course will not disclose any information. Passengers will have to gather such information from word of mouth or from postings on social media.

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Images: MarineTraffic – Norwegian Dawn position (screengrab); Norwegian Dawn – Stephan Bleister at de.wikipedia – commons / wikimedia.

May 14, 2022 Update:

“Belgium denied us entry because of “COVID profile” per Captain’s comments. Captain said it was an NCL decision to skip France.  Voluntary onboard Covid testing yesterday for flights home today produced more positives.

When the first people tested positive, NCL moved them down to Deck 4 but then the number became so large they kept everyone isolated in their own cabins. Room service is being provided to the isolated passengers without the normal $9.95 charge.

The crew has been very professional. Our only issue is that they have not told us how many people onboard are positive. If one of the medical staff did not tell me about the original 120, we would have never been informed. I’m also surprised they did not mandate masks for all  passengers after the first test three days ago.

We have just docked at Southampton. The positives will be the last to disembark. The ship sent around a letter suggesting the DoubleTree Hotel at Heathrow for those waiting to test negative so they can fly home. The ship is also offering a 50% refund on this cruise toward a future cruise for the three missed ports. Dublin was also cancelled due to rough seas since we were anchored out and had to tender ashore.

Although the ship did not mandate masks, they did leave N95 masks in each storeroom for voluntary use. It would have been much simpler to announce that there was a Covid breakout onboard and mandate masks for all passengers. After all, the test yesterday was voluntary. Those that did not avail themselves could have unknowingly been positive while walking around the ship maskless.

The crew wore masks everyday of the cruise.”

May 15, 2022 Update:

Some guests on the Norwegin Dawn estimate that there were far more than 120-180 infected pasengers on the ship when it arrived in Southampton. From one guest:

“We saw the covid positive list 2 days before cruise end. It was at least 9 pages, 10 to 12 point font, single spaced. So over 225 passengers . . . “

The Viking Aegir, operated by Viking River Cruises, smashed into a pillar of a bridge on the Danube River in Slovakia last week, injuring eleven people. The accident happened at around 3:40 a.m. last Friday, May 6, 2022. The accident occured near the village of Komárno, about 100 kilometers from Bratislava on the Danube.

The accident has not been widely reported. There are no reports in the U.S. media. We first learned of the incident when a reader sent us a Facebook post, which you can read here, by the Slovakian Minister of Transportation last Friday.

There are no reports whether the injured were passengers or crew members. Eight injured people were taken to hospital.

The minister made a reference to an alleged “sudden medical indisposition” involving the (unidentified) captain without any explanation. Perhaps the captain or whoever was at the helm had some type of medical issue? But, where’s the proof? Perhaps he or she was drunk? Or simply fatigued and dozed off at 3:40 in the morning? Who knows? There is no indication that the captain was taken to the hospital. There is a suggestion that details may be provided after an investigation.

To our knowledge, Viking River Cruises did not issue a statement or make comments on social media explaining what led to its ship inexplicably striking the bridge nor did Viking comment on the nature of the injuries.

There were just a couple of news accounts of the accident, in Slovakia and in the popular Germany blog site Cruisetricks.

Most of the news sources in Slovakia like Nautiv and MyNové Zámky showed the damaged bow of the Viking Aegir covered up.

You can see the Viking Aegir, in better days, in a video tweeted by a Viking cruise guest three year ago:

Danger with River Cruising

The most dramatic disaster involving a river cruise ship occured three years ago when the Viking Cruises’ Viking Sigyn collided with and sank a sightseeing river cruise ship, the Hableany (“Mermaid”), in Budapest three years ago (in May 2019). The Mermaid quickly sank in aproximately seven seconds, killing 25 South Korean tourists and two Hungarian crew members.

Several crew members (who wish to remain anonymous) identified the captain of the Viking ship, who was arrested by the local police, as Yuriy Chaplinsky.

You can see video of the accident as the Viking Sigyn overtook and ran the smaller tourist vessel over as the two ships approached the Margit Bridge in central Budapest here.

The criminal trial involving this incident began in March 2020 and continued throughout 2020. The outcome of the trial had not been decided. The civil trial filed by the survivors and families of the deceased South Korean passengers began in Budapest in January of this year. A final result has not been decided.

In September 2016, another Viking River Cruises’ ship, the Viking Freya (right), struck a rail bridge, crushing the wheelhouse and killing two Hungarian officers who were navigating the river ship. The ship was on its way to Budapest at the time of the deadly accident. (125 people left comments to our article with many former Viking customers defending the inexcusable accident).

In December of 2017, the M/S Swiss Crystal river cruise ship collided with a highway bridge on the Rhine River near Duisburg, Germany, injuring 30 passengers.

On March 21, 2019,  the Scylla Edelweiss experienced an electrical fire and collided with a cargo ship, the Forenso, on the Waal River in the Netherlands.

On April 1, 2019, a collision occurred between the river cruise ship, the Viking Idun, and a tanker, the Chemical Marketer, while the ships were sailing from Antwerp to Ghent. Four passengers were reportedly injured.

On May 21, 2019, an unidentified river cruise ship (some identified the ship as a Viking longship) with 183 passengers aboard, forgot to lower its wheelhouse and struck a bridge in an incident similar to the Viking Freya mishap. Fortunately, no one was killed.

If you are aware of other accidents involving Viking River Cruises or other river cruise ships please let us know.

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

May 10, 2022 Update: 

Image credit: Viking Aegir (top) – Dopravný Úrad via Transport Minister Andrej Dolezal / Transport Office of the Slovak Republic); other photos/video – respective Twitter users; Viking Aegir (middle) – TASR – Ladislav Valach via  My Nové Zámky and Juzne Slovensko “Komárno: A cruise ship crashed into a bridge pillar on the Danube;” Viking Freya (bottom) – UPI via Blick am Abend.

A number of newspapers are reporting today that the Carnival Spirit cruise ship experienced a COVID-19 outbreak. As usual, Carnival Cruise Line refused to respond to requests regarding the number of infected passengers and crew members. Cruise guests on the Carnival cruise ship estimated the outbreak to involve “more than 100 people” and as many as 200.

In an article titled: “Carnival Cruise passengers say ship was overwhelmed with COVID-19 positive patients – Passengers say the response from the crew was chaotic,” King 5 News in Seattle reported: “They didn’t have enough staff to handle the emergency that was happening, period,” according to a ship passenger who was infected with the virus. “They were overwhelmed and they didn’t have a backup course in how to handle about 200 people affected with COVID. We all suffered.”

Passengers say they “waited hours for meals, weren’t properly isolated and couldn’t get ahold of medical staff.”

“We couldn’t call anybody . . . Basically, we sat in the room, you call and it would ring, ring, ring and ring all day long.”

US News reported that “Multiple people say they’re in quarantine at Seattle-area hotels after testing positive or being exposed to someone with COVID-19. Carnival Cruise Line would not confirm how many people tested positive . . . ”

Carnival suggested that cruise guests obtain travel insurance to defray hotel and any medical expenses related to their quarantines. Carnival released a statement to the press explaining: “Normally, guests are responsible for quarantine costs, but because so many of our guests were far from home, we made the hotel arrangements and have offered to share the cost of their lodging while they remain in Seattle to complete their five-day quarantine.” Carnival did not disclose how much of their customers’ costs it “offered to share.”

Carnival downplayed the outbreak, claiming that “there were no serious health issues” among the passengers. The reports did not address how many crew members were infected. Carnival would also not state how many passengers were on the ship at the time of the outbreak.

The Carnival ship left Seattle yesterday, heading to Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska. The ship will thereafter continue on to Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan in Alaska before sailing to Victoria and returning to Seattle on May 10, 2022.

Another Carnival Corporation owned cruise line, Princess Cruises, recently had COVID-19 outbreaks on at least five cruise ships in its fleet of cruise ships, including the Ruby Princes Grand Princess, Caribbean Princess, Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess

The Ruby Princess alone had at least 253 infected guests on the ship over the course of the last five sailings, according to the Washington Post.

Neither Carnival Corporation nor Princess Cruises disclosed the number of infected guests and crew members on these cruises.

Last week, a number of cruise executives, including retiring Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald, stated at the annual Seatrade Cruise convention that they had allegedly “defeated COVID-19.”

That’s no consolation to the hundreds of people infected on Carnival and Princess cruise ships who had to undergo quarantine during their recent sailings.

Expect the outbreak to continue as the Carnival ship cruises through Alaska and to Canada and back.

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Image credit: Top – Carnival Spirit – screen grab (2) KIRO7; Carnival Spirit hallway corridor – King 5 News; bottom – Carnival Spirit – Becky Bohrer / The Associated Press via Seattle Times.

Update May 4, 2022 P.M.:

Update from the Seatle Times this afternoon in article titled – Seattle Cruise Industry Marks Comeback from COVID with COVID Ooutbreak On Ship:

  • The outbreak aboard the Spirit comes a day after officials with Carnival and the Port of Seattle held a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the cruise season after two years of reduced sailings due to COVID.
  •  According to the CDC, the Carnival Spirit meets the threshold for a CDC investigation, which means 0.3% or more of the ship’s approximately 3,054 passengers and crew tested positive for COVID.
  • Of the 92 cruise ships operating in U.S. waters, 76 have reported at least one COVID case among passengers or crew members, according to the CDC’s cruises dashboard. Carnival has 22 cruises operating; all but four have positive cases.

Comments from blog and Facebook:

“So, the ship just keeps sailing!!! They dump people off and continue on their way? Yikes, and they are withholding info that passengers need to make conscious decisions. Very bad business. What has happened to all the disinfecting, cleaning, air quality….? It seems that Carnival Corporation , Royal and NCL really don’t care! Passengers beware! There are other cruise lines out there with great transparency and care for their clientele!”

“Covid is still here. I am just sad for the staff.”

“And to think that Christine Duffy was in Seattle on Monday (to celebrate the Carnival Splendor’s return to service), telling the media how great their Covid protocols are, and how safe it is to cruise now. (Interview can be found on KOMO FB page.)”

“In this video, popular cruise vlogger and travel agent Don said that Carnival refused to even test the cabin mates of the infected, saying it was not necessary.



This year’s annual Seatrade Cruise Global exposition in Miami Beach is ending today. This week, attendees listened to the cruise trade show’s keynote presentation titled “The State of the Global Cruise Industry.” The panelists who addressed the theme of the presentation – “Resilience and the Restart” –  included Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) President and CEO, Kelly Craighead, Carnival Corporation’s CEO, Arnold Donald, Royal Caribbean’s President & CEO, Jason Liberty, and Executive Chairman of the cruise division of MSC Group, Pierfrancesco Vago.

After attending dozens of Seatrade conventions over the past twenty-five years, I’m used to the cruise industry’s perennial talking points which often have little to do with reality. Usually, Seatrade is a time when the cruise executives try and manage the cruise industry’s sinking image and tatered reputation following the previous year’s invariable cruise ship disasters which filled the headlines. Cruise leaders tend to project rosy forecasts when they are dealing with the Costa Concordia sinking, the Carnival poop cruise or similar cruise disasters and mishaps.

This year was no different.

The cruise line executives spoke about the industry’s so-called “resiliency” to the COVID-19 pandemic which essentially shut the cruise industry down for the better part of the last two years. The executives went as far as to suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still infecting, sickening and sometimes killing cruise guests, was a thing of the past. The Miami Herald covered the Seatrade convention and wrote “Cruise industry leaders claimed victory over the coronavirus pandemic, praising the industry’s resilience the past two years … While industry leaders were optimistic about the future of cruising, there was little sentiment of responsibility or remorse.”

The executives’ indifference and self-praise are rather shocking given the fact that the Miami Herald  documented that there have been at least 111 guests and crew members who were infected with COVID-19 during cruises in 2020 and 2021 and later died.

The reality is that many hundreds of passengers and crew members are still becoming infected on cruise ships on a regular basis. Princess Cruises, in particular, just recently experienced COVID-19 outbreaks on at least five cruise ships. The Orange County Register explained the CDC’s conclusions that the recent COVID-19 outbreaks on Princess cruise ships were likely  caused by “a rapidly spreading variant and close, indoor quarters” in an article titled: Cruise Industry Weathers COVID-19 Holdovers As Virus Lingers.

In the past month alone, Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess was one of five Carnival Corporation-owned cruise ships which experienced large COVID-19 outbreaks and made a mockery of the cruise executives’ alleged “victory” over the virus.  “It was quite clear that there were a large percentage of passengers that were sick, but unless you self-reported, you were free to keep going and infect other passengers,” California resident Ted Vomacka told the Mercury News. “It was obvious from observing all the coughing and hacking that some form of infection was going around.” Like all other cruise brands owned by Carnival Corporation, Princess Cruises refuses to release the number of guests and crew members infected with the virus. But the San Francisco Department of Public Health reported that 143 passengers on the Ruby Princess’ (San Francisco to Hawaii round trip which ended on April 11th) tested positive; this was nearly twice as many as the 73 cruise guests reported sick after the ship returned from Panama. In all, the Ruby Princess had at least 253 infected guests on the ship over the course of the last five sailings, according to the Washington Post.

This month, Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess also experienced a significant outbreak while returning to Los Angeles from Hawaii.

The Caribbean Princess, Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess also experienced large scale COVID-19 outbreaks. Each of these ships have designated COVID-19 decks where infected passengers (as well as crew members) who tested positive are isolated during the cruise.

Unfortunately, Princess does not disclose the number of infected guests to the press or even warn boarding passengers that there has been a COVID outbreak on the prior cruise.

A guest informed the Times Colonist that Princess Cruises “has been very tight-lipped.”

“People have been at the guest services desk demanding to know how many sick people [there are] and they won’t tell you anything,” she said. “They just say ‘oh, a certain bartender or waitress you have seen all week [is] feeling under the weather’ when you see that they are gone. The captain has not made any announcements.”

“They say they are going to dry dock early, but we all know it is COVID. They have not said this but we on the ship all believe this.”

News breaking during the week long Seatrade convention also included accounts of at least one cruise passenger contracting COVID-19 on a cruise ship and dying as well as accounts of cruise passengers  being abandoned in foreign ports after becoming infected at sea.

As the Miami Herald reported, “top cruise industry leaders at the Seatrade cruise conference claimed victory over the coronavirus pandemic.” Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA chairman, went as far as to claim that the cruise industry was leaving “the health emergency behind.” But the over-hyped rhetoric of the cruise executives is overshadowed by the reality of many hundreds of vacationers who were recently infected on just five of the Princess fleet of cruise ships, one guest dying after contracting COVID-19 during a cruise this week, and some of the cruise lines abandoning their infected guests in Europe.

As the Miami Herald further pointed out, “there was little sentiment from the industry leaders … of  responsibility or remorse for numerous superspreader virus outbreaks on cruise ships during the pandemic …”

The fact that cruise executives claim victory over COVID-19, as if they somehow were personally  involved in finding a cure for the disease, is perhaps no more outrageous than having no feelings of responsibility or remorse for the many thousand of guests and crew members who were sickened and over 100 people who died after being infected on their cruise ships in 2020 and 2021.

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Image credit: Grand Princess – Morgan Hines and Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY – 103 have tested positive for COVID-19

Brazilian law enforcement agencies arrested six people and confiscated 30 kilos of cocaine at the port of Santos, Brazil, according to the Brazilian news outlet G1 / Globo. The drug smugglers, five Brazilians and one Argentinian, were arrested at the cruise terminal in Santos, attempting to board the Costa Diadema (photo top) which was about to begin a transatlantic cruise to Europe.

A video posted on the Brazilian news outlet G1 / Globo shows drug dogs alerting on luggage, which contained false bottoms, (photo below) and one man who was arrested with 1.74 kilos of cocaine wrapped around his waist (photo right).

This is the second recent major drug bust involving a cruise ship from the port of Santos in Brazil. Earlier this month, police in Spain and France arrested a total of twelve passengers, in separate arrests, involved in smuggling a total of sixty-six kilos of cocaine. In those arrests, customs officials used sniffer dogs to check the smugglers’ suitcases, which had false bottoms and contained around three and a half kilos of the narcotics.

Smuggling drugs out of Brazil on cruise ships is big business. Three years ago, the federal police in that country arrested sixteen passengers aboard the Costa Favolosa cruise ship who were  carrying 300 kilos of cocaine in their luggage.

For a two year period from 2012 to 2014, as many as thirty-four people who posed as cruise ship passengers on Costa cruise ships participated in a smuggling network that transported hashish from Morocco to Brazil and cocaine from South America to Europe, according to the The Local newspaper in France.

The investigation, which began began as on offshoot of a 2013 murder inquiry, led police to place undercover French and Spanish officers on the Costa Fascinosa cruise ship in March 2014 as it traveled from Brazil towards Venice, Italy. As the vessel approached the Canary Islands, the officers arrested most of the smuggling team and seized 25 kilos of cocaine.

The article also mentioned that the ill-fated Costa Concordia was reportedly carrying a huge shipment of Mafia-owned cocaine when she sank in January 2012. You can read more about this issue in our article from seven years ago: Mafia Drugs Hidden Aboard Doomed Costa Concordia. The independent newspaper in the U.K. also covered this issue: Costa Concordia: Shipment of Mob drugs was hidden aboard cruise liner when it hit rocks off Italian coast, investigators say.

We previously reported that several people were arrested for smuggling over 16 kilos of cocaine while disembarking the Costa Pacifica in Malaga following a transatlantic cruise from South America several years ago.

As I have said before – as cruising appears to be increasing (notwithstanding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic) it is likely that cruise ships will continue to be used by crew members and guests alike to smuggle drugs from South American countries to the U.S. and Europe.

Hat tip to the popular Crew Center which seems to be the only publication in the U.S. which have reported on this latest incident to date.

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Images: Top –  drug sniffing dog in cruise terminal in port of Santos, Brasil (screen grab) – G1/Global;  drugs aroung waist (screen grab) –G1/Global; Costa Diadema – Z Thomas – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.

Today, Crew Center reported that police at the French port of Marseille arrested two passengers aboard the MSC Seaside cruise ship who were carrying 12 kilos of cocaine in their luggage. This is the second drug bust on the MSC Seaside during its transatlantic cruise from Brazil. Previously, Spanish authorities arrested ten passengers who disembarked the MSC Seaside in Valencia, Spain for smuggling 54 kilos of cocaine, according to the EuroWeekly publication.

The arrest of the Brazilian cruise guests, who were involved in the smuggling scheme worth approximately three million Euros, occurred two weeks ago. The MSC ship sailed from Brazil to Spain, where the smugglers, posing as tourists, went ashore with their luggage which was placed in a tent while the passengers proceeded through passport control.

Customs officials in Valencia, using sniffer dogs, then checked the luggage. The officials discovered that fifteen suitcases, which had false bottoms, each contained around three and a half kilograms of the narcotics.

Of interest is the fact that the 10 passengers were from two different gangs of criminals. The newspaper noted that two separate gangs were involved in smuggling drugs, “without being aware that the others were doing the same.”

It is less than clear whether the two recently arrested passengers were a part of the smuggling rings whose ten members were arrested earlier and who reportedly were unaware of each other.

This is not the first time that cocaine has been smuggled out of a South American country on a MSC cruise ship. Nearly half of the MSC Cruise fleet of ships have been caught in major cruise smuggling in the last decade. The MSC Seaside cruise ship involved in this latest smuggling attempt has been used for at least one prior cocaine-smuggling episode which was uncovered in the last few years .

MSC Opera – 19 Kilos of Cocaine

In 2019, the local police in Madeira, Spain arrested a dozen people after the police boarded the MSC Opera in Funchal for involvement in a smuggling operation of cocaine weighing around 18 kilograms and worth two million pounds. The MSC ship had previously sailed from Havana (Cuba), Montego Bay (Jamaica), George Town (Grand Cayman), Cozumel (Mexico), Philipsburg (St. Maarten), and St. Johns (Antigua) before crossing the Atlantic.

The cocaine had been hidden in “crisp” packets (a/k/a bags of chips) which had been stashed in suitcases. The title of Newsweek’s article on the cruise drug post was titled “Cruise Ship Passengers Hid Cocaine Haul Worth Millions in Chip Bags.”

MSC Divina – 6 Large Bundles of Cocaine

Also in 2019, Mexican authorities discovered an undisclosed amount of cocaine aboard the MSC Divina while the cruise ship was in port in Cozumel, Mexico. According to the Riviera Maya News, Mexican federal agents located six large packages of cocaine inside of a compartment behind a toilet in an undisclosed location on the MSC cruise ship.  The MSC Divina had previously sailed from Kralendijk, Bonaire, Willemstad, Curacao, Oranjestad, Aruba, Ocho Rios, Jamaica and George Town, Grand Cayman before arriving in Cozumel.

MSC Seaside – 6 Kilos

In November of 2018, United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers arrested seven MSC crew members for smuggling cocaine into the port of Miami aboard the MSC SeasideCBP officers reportedly found six kilograms of cocaine and over $100,000 in cash. The Miami Herald covered the drug bust and identified the MSC crew members, who smuggled the drugs, to be citizens of Jamaica and South Africa.

MSC Poesia – 132 Kilos of Cocaine

The local police in Funchal Madeira Island (Portugal’s autonomous territory) boarded the MSC cruise ship, seized 132 kilos of cocaine and arrested 3 male passengers (aged 29, 32, 33) who they charged them with drug smuggling.

MSC Armonia 10 Kilos of Cocaine 

In October 2013, a judge in Italy sentenced three people including MSC crew members who were involved in smuggling cocaine on the MSC Armonia to ten year individual sentences and a fine of 60,000 Euros each for importing ten kilograms of cocaine from South America. The MSC cruise ship departed from Uruguay and arrived at the port of Venice.

MSC Magnifica -15 Kilos of Cocaine 

In April 2013, the Spanish Police arrested two Filipino crew members of the cruise ship MSC Magnífica, which docked  in La Coruña, Spain, for trafficking 15 kilograms of cocaine on the ship.

MSC Orchestra – 75 Pounds of Cocaine 

In 2010, eight people were convicted of attempting to smuggle over 75 pounds of cocaine (worth many millions of dollars) ashore from the MSC Orchestra when it arrived in Dover from Brazil.

Poor Shipboard Security

IHS Fairplay published an article several years ago saying that cruise ship drug busts “highlight the ability for more sinister items to be smuggled onto vessels.”  In an article titled Drugs Find Highlights Cruise Security Threat, Fairplay says that “cruise companies were taking, and continue to take, security seriously but that the incident had to act as a wake-up call to revisit current systems.” It quoted Gerry Northwood, a principal of the international maritime security company MAST, explaining that cruise passengers don’t face the same restrictions as air travelers.

Northwood also warned that “If a terrorist were to secrete an explosive device inside a consignment of food, it is possible that the explosion would likely happen below the water line with obvious implications for the vessel and the safety of the passengers and crew.”

Commander Mark Gaouette, the former security head of Cunard and Princess Cruises, said in an interview that the cruise industry should be concerned with the possibility of a terrorist group masterminding a gigantic conflagration on a ship. He cites the 2004 attack by an Islamic terrorist group which planted just eight kilograms of TNT in a cardboard box aboard the Superferry 14 in the Philippines.  The resulting fire and explosion killed over a hundred passengers and sank the ferry. (Commander Gaouette is the author of Cruising for Trouble, Cruise Ships As Soft Targets for Pirates, Terrorists and Common Criminals).

Drug Smuggling Will Resume As More Cruise Ships Sail

As cruising appears to be increasing notwithstanding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely that cruise ships will continue to be used by crew members and guests alike to smuggle drugs from South American countries to the U.S. and Europe.

Except for the one occasion when cocaine which was hidden inside of a compartment behind a toilet of the MSC Divina, and later was discovered by shipboard security, all of the drug arrests discussed above were the result of more rigorous security systems and training involving immigration officials and shoreside police.

How Many Smugglers Get Caught and Which Other Cruise Lines Have This Problem?

The question arises how many people, both passengers and crew members, are able to exploit MSC’s rather ineffective security systems to smuggle drugs onto its cruise ships who are not caught?

Althought this article focuses on MSC Cruises, it is far from being the only cruise line with weak shipboard security and lots of drugs smuggled aboard its fleet of ships.  Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Royal Caribbean are two lines with arguably worse records with their cruise ships being used by drug smugglers.

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

April 14, 2022 P.M. Update:

Photo credits: Top – MSC Seaside – Dickelbers – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia; MSC Seaside – Dickelbers via Twitter; Spanish police and drug dogs regarding MSC Magnífica drug bust in 2013 – Jozo via Crew Center; Mexican Police Officer outside of MSC Divina in 2019 – la Fiscalía General de la República via Riviera Maya News.

Three recent cruises aboard Princess Cruises cruise ships have involved many dozens of guests testing positive for COVID-19 according to passengers aboard the Caribbean Princess, Ruby Princess and Sky Princess ships. In all three cases, Princess Cruises did not say how many people tested positive, demonstrating the typical lack of transparency by a Carnival Corporation-owned brand.

The headline of the Vancouver Sun stated  that the Caribbean Princess had “lots of COVID” on board the ship.

“The whole 12th floor is an isolation ward,” said Ally Carol of Richmond to the Times Colonist newspaper. She boarded the Princess cruise ship in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with her partner in late March for a 19-day cruise to Canada. Princess canceled the remainder of the cruise over this past weekend.

“The newspaper reports that Princess Cruises did not mention or respond to inquiries about COVID-19 aboard its cruise ship which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists as having ‘orange status.'”

That means there are enough COVID-19 cases aboard to meet the threshold for a CDC investigation. The CDC launches a probe when least three per cent of passengers and crew aboard the ship have tested positive. Considering the Caribbean Princess had 1,600 passengers on board, this turns out to be at least around fifty infected guests, plus the number of infected crew members which the cruise line did not disclose either.

A guest informed the Times Colonist Princess Cruises “has been very tight-lipped.”

“People have been at the guest services desk demanding to know how many sick people and they won’t tell you anything,” she said. “They just say ‘oh, a certain bartender or waitress you have seen all week [is] feeling under the weather’ when you see that they are gone. The captain has not made any announcements.”

“They say they are going to dry dock early, but we all know it is COVID. They have not said this but we on the ship all believe this.”

The cruise line reportedly did not test all of the guests after cancelling the cruise and ordering everyone off the cruise ship, the Times Colonist reported.  “We showed up for our test and they said no tests,” a passengers stated. “So knowing they have COVID on the ship, instead of doing the responsible thing and testing all the guests going back to Canada, they are just disembarking all of us and sending us home, putting us in planes next to unsuspecting members of the public, instead of responsibly checking to see who caught COVID on their ship.”

The operator, Princess Cruises, and owner, Carnival Corporation, revealed their usual lack of transparency last week when another Princess cruise ship, the Ruby Princess, arrived in San Francisco after a fifteen day cruise with many dozens of passengers and crew positive with COVID-19, according to the Washington Post.

Princess claimed the infected passengers and crew were “asymptomatic or showed mild symptoms” but the cruise line refused to disclose the number of people tested who were positive or when they tested positive during the trip.

A third cruise ship, Princess’ flagship the Sky Princess, recently completed a transAtlantic cruise and arrived in London with several hundred passengers positive with COVID-19.

The Sky Princess had earlier been denied permission to dock in Havensight in the Virgin Islands, after surpassing the 3% COVID-19 positivity rate threshold. The Virgin Islands Daily News reported that “while the details of how high the positivity rate was aboard the Sky Princess were not released, the cruise ship itself has fallen into the so-called ‘orange’ category used by the CDC within its color-coding system for high-risk ships.”

A guest who left the ship in London informed us of this outbreak, and provided a clue to the number of infected guests on the Sky Princess:

“Just off Sky Princess transatlantic yesterday. Ship had 5 buses of Covid positive passengers sent to quarantine in London before returning home.”

He further explained that each of the five motor coaches contained “at least 100 passengers.”

The reality of these outbreaks on Princess fleet of ships comes at a time when the CDC dropped its travel health notice for cruise travel last week. According to USA Today, the removal of the CDC notice doesn’t mean the federal health agency considers cruise travel to be without risk – but signified that cruise travelers simply will have to make their own risk assessment.

Although COVID-19 cases have decreased in the United States, with a 7 percent drop in daily cases over the past week according to the Washington Post, a surge in cases in  Europe this month fueled by a subvariant of omicron called BA.2 has set the stage for another potential wave of outbreaks.

Given the failure and refusal of cruise lines under the Carnival Corporation umbrella to release accurate information when passengers and crew members on its cruise ships are infected at sea, it will remain difficult for even the best informed passenger to make a risk assessment whether it’s safe to travel by cruise ship.

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Photo credit: Sky Princess – Fincantieri.

April 5, 2022 Update:

KRON 4 in San Francisco reports:

“We all received a letter informing us of the positive cases for both passengers and the crew. The letter told us we had to start wearing KN95 masks in all areas of the ship.  Both inside and outside.  Previous to the letter, masks were not required.  In fact every room was delivered a packet with 2 masks to start wearing the day of the letter,” passenger Diana Duda said.

“Princess refused to let passengers know how many people were involved. Princess would not tell the crew anything because they were afraid the crew would notify passengers.  This information was relayed to us by different crew members,” Duda said.

We received these messages on our Facebook page from a guest on the Sky Princess:

“I was one of the COVID “patients” on the Sky Princess. Was whisked out of my room and into isolation within 30 minutes and stayed there, blocked in my room for the rest of the cruise. No medical staff on the 9th floor, only food delivery people: you could call room service or the front desk for your needs, which in some cases took hours to get a response to. No medical monitoring of guests other than maybe a phone call. 2 calls for me in 6 days even after I told them that I’m immunocompromised. As far as the numbers, the entire side of the 9th floor that I was on was filled. That’s 100 cabins, with one or two people in them. I was told that the other side was also being used, so my educated guess would be over 200 people were affected. As for the reports of the buses, Coach buses typically hold around 55 passengers. I was on the 2nd bus and we were told that there were 4 or 5 after us. That didn’t count the people who had left to go home in England, and isolate in their homes or other hotels. Also doesn’t count the people that tested positive on the ship, and were let go if they had a negative test after 5 days. The lack of a comprehensive and cohesive plan for the handling of Covid was criminal. I felt like I was in The Brig and worried every minute about what would happen if I got sicker. No two people gave you the same answer, and the “party line” changed every few hours. What a nightmare!”

“There was a blatant disregard for masking in required places onboard my cruise ending 4/3. And obvious reluctance to enforce mandated wearing. Our captain would only give a few very vague announcements regarding Covid on the ship. The isolation ward was quite full, unfortunately.”

April 19, 2022 Update:

April 23, 2022 Update:

Late yesterday afternoon, the Norwegian Escape encountered high winds and ran aground as the NCL cruise ship was departing Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Several videos showed the ship in Puerto Plata near the shore.

An NCL cruise passenger, the Disney Dude, was one of the first guests to report on the grounding and posted numerous photos of tugs which initially and unsuccesfully tried to free the ship.

Several pro-cruise bloggers inexplicably praised the master of the ship, for handling the situation, although the ship was under the control of a pilot at the time of the grounding. But some people commented on the photos and left comments rightfully criticizing the master, who remains responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel notwithstanding the involvement of the pilot. “No excuse for running aground in this day and age. Captain Giovanni will have to answer some very pointed questions.”

The NCL ship was finally freed by tugs late last night, and then returned to port in for an inspection of its hull.

Many cruise fan bloggers downplayed the incident. Cruise Radio, for example, stated “And while some seemed to think the situation was dire, (the NCL captain) assured us –  and those following his feed – that nothing could be further from the truth. ‘Everything is very calm,’ he said. ‘Life is normal other than the boat isn’t moving. All activities [are still] going on.'”

NCL stated that all cruise guests and passengers were uninjured and there was no damage to the ship itself. The grounding was initially described by some as the ship allegedly striking the “ocean’s sandy bottom.” But the issue remains whether damage was caused by the ship on surrounding reefs.

The cruise ship was on the second day of a seven night cruise, having departed from Port Canaveral on Saturday, March 12th. The ship was scheduled to call on  St. Thomas, Tortola and NCL’s “private island” in the Bahamas (Great Stirrup Cay), and then end its current cruise in Florida on March 19th.

NCL has been in the news lately. A passenger went overboard from the Norwegian Breakaway last week; his body had not been recovered. (There have been well over three hundred people who have gone overboard from a cruise ship in the last twenty years).  NCL also increased its daily service charges, making it the cruise line with the highest gratuities and the highest paid CEO (Frank Del Rio) in the cruise industry.

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Image credits: Top – Norwegian Escape – El Nuevo Diario / N Digital via El Snack Report; remaining photos – respective users on Twitter

March 15, 2022 Update: Master Mariner Bill Doherty left this comment on our Facebook page:

“The ‘Ultimate’ responsibility for the safe Navigation of ALL ships is the Master.
If weather were an issue, it would have been the Master’s decision to transit the channel or wait until the weather abated.
It’s nice to strut around in fancy dress uniforms, but the safety of the ship and more importantly the souls ( Passengers AND Crew) are the primary concern of the Master.
We have all learned , how deadly a grounding of a passenger ship can be, with the Costa Concordia tragedy and the loss of at least thirty-two souls.”

March 22, 2022 Update: Although NCL calls the damage “minor,” the Norwegian Escape  suffereed a ruptured hull, causing the company to cancel another cruise.

March 30, 20211 Update:

April 4, 2022 Update:

The cost of daily service charges on cruise ships operated by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has increased again, to as much as $20 per person, per day according to several news sites. Cruzely and The Street report that the new charges reflect a “hike of $1.50 daily for The Haven and Suites, no change for Club Balcony Suites, and 50 cents a day for other cabins.”

NCL’s charges are higher than competitors Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean. The Street reports that “Royal Caribbean charges $14.50 per person per day for guests in junior suites and below, or $17.50 per person per day for guests in Grand Suites and above.” Carnival, meanwhile, charges “the lowest gratuities in the (cruise) industry, $13.99 per person per day for standard staterooms and $15.99 per person per day for suites.”

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) Del Rio has gouged its customers before, with extra higher charges, including increased room services charges, automatic gratuities and restaurant cover charges. He made this statement at an earning conference in 2015: “… we have looked across the fleet to identify areas where marginal changes … can be implemented to improve performance. A few examples include a 6.7% average increase in beverage prices, the introduction of a nominal room service fee and lower costs from renegotiated shore excursion agreements. To put into perspective how these small changes can add up quickly, every dollar increase in yield translates to approximately $15 million to the bottom line.”

NCL now has the highest paid CEO and the highest service charges in the cruise industry.

CEO Del Rio is by far the highest paid cruise executive in the world. In the last three years alone, Del Rio’s compensation was over $76,000,000. Including his 2015 income of $31,900, 000, he collected over $108,000,000 for four years, including $22,590,000 in 2018, $17,808,000 in 2019,and $36,400,000 in 2020.

Last year, a majority of NCLH in a “say-on-pay” vote, gave a big “thumbs down” to the company’s plan to pay Del Rio $36,400,000 million for 2020, according to a Miami Herald article.

It should be interesting this year when it is disclosed how much Del Rio was paid in 2021.

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

Interested in this issue? Read: NCL Raises Gratuities Again: The Greedy Gets Greedier and Crew Center’s NCL to rise daily services charges – Will this reflect the distribution of the crew salaries?

Photo credits: Frank Del Rio – CNBC.

Yesterday was Carnival Cruise Line’s fiftieth (50th) birthday.  The internet was filled with celebratory tweets and Facebook postings from Carnival cruise fans and travel agents extolling the cruise line’s “family fun and entertainment.”

There is no question that one thing this cruise line has successfully accomplished over the last 50 years is to market itself as a fun and affordable vacation for families on a budget.  From the first inaugural booze cruise on the Mardi Gras in 1972 through the 1980’s with Kathy Lee Gifford advertising “THREE-DAYS CRUISES WITH FREE AIRFARE for $395” (while singing “if they could see you now, on a fun ship cruise, that old gang of mine, eating fancy chow and drinking fancy wine …”), Carnival has always promoted its cruise ships as the place for an inexpensive and carefree vacation at sea for the masses.

But just under the boozy facade of fun at sea is a corporation which has systematically polluted  the air and waters around the world for half of a century. Long ago, Carnival determined that it is far cheaper to dump oil overboard into the water than properly store the used oil for disposal in facilities ashore. The same is true for plastic single-use utensils, chemicals, brown water and, in some cases, black water (sewage). For fifty years, Carnival has treated the ocean as a large garbage dump.

It was initially easy for Carnival to get away with its environmental crimes. There was virtually no interest by the U.S. federal government in enforcing the few pollution laws which existed in the 1970’s and 80’s. By perfecting the business model of incorporating its cruise business outside of the United States (in Panama) and registering its cruise ships in feckless countries like Panama and the Bahamas, Carnival was able to avoid all U.S. income taxes, U.S. wage and labor laws, and U.S. occupational health and safety laws. Its headquarters in Miami, a location from which to launch its ships into the Caribbean, was largely just a convenient place for the founder, Ted Arison, and later his son, Micky (with a net worth in 2022 of around $10 billion) to live in waterfront mansions with yachts while socking away many billions of tax-free U.S dollars generated by its offshore business and cheap labor.

Ted Arison eventually renounced his U.S. citizenship in order to avoid estate taxes on billions of dollars and retired in Israel where there are no inheritance taxes.

The U.S. government finally began to notice Carnival’s illegal conduct and take action against it for the widespread dumping of oil and its use of illegal by-pass pipes on Carnival cruise ships in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. In 2002, Carnival pled guilty to numerous felonies for discharging oily waste into the sea. Carnival routinely falsified oil record books in order to conceal its illegal practices. The U.S. government leveled a $18,000,000 fine and placed Carnival on probation. The Miami Herald reported that in the early 2000’s, Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Corporation-owned Holland America Line were fined a “combined $20 million.”

About the same time, Miami’s “other newspaper,” the Miami New Times, published a number of articles revealing Carnival’s underbelly, including Carnival? Try Criminal – What happens when a female passenger is assaulted on a cruise ship? Not much …”   The article revealed the problem with crew members raping cruise guests and the lack of criminal accountability following such crimes. Nineteen years later, the Miami New Times published an article indicating that not much has changed on Carnival ships in the past two decades – Carnival’s per capita crime statistics for shipboard rape are higher than the rape rates for many states in the U.S.  Read: Carnival Has More Sexual Assault Reports Than Any Other Cruise Line, Statistics Show.

The per capita rate of sexual assaults on Carnival ships of 40 per 100,000 is a higher per capita rate than twenty states, including California, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Georgia (and over a dozen other states). Read: Carnival Cruise Line Leads Cruise Industry with the Most Sexual Assaults. There is a direct correlation between excessive alcohol served on the fun ship and violence, in general, and sexual violence against women, in particular.  Bartenders and waiters on Carnival cruise ships are not paid a salary by Carnival and depend on tips and gratuities. “The bartenders are motivated to sell excessive amounts of alcohol in order to earn a living. There is no independent police force on these increasingly huge cruise ships. Girls and young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse in what is often a lawless environment.”

Twenty years ago, a well known and highly respected journalist named Jim DeFede, then employed by the Miami New Times, wrote a series of articles in which he asked the question “Is Mickey A Greedy Corporate Pig?”  DeFede also wrote “The Deep Blue Greed – The Arison Clan Built Carnival into a Money Machine by Cleverly Avoiding Tax Laws” and “Ten Questions for Micky.” These articles focused on the extraordinary steps which Carnival took to avoid paying taxes and oversight by the U.S. government while systematically underpaying its crew members and escorting them from the U.S. when they were injured or committed a crime against a guest.

But pollution has been Carnival biggest and most consistent crime. Miami senior federal district court judge Patricia Seitz fined Carnival Corporation a record $40,000,000 when its cruise ships were caught dumping oil via secret illegal by-pass valves. The scheme lasted from 2005 until 2013. Read: Miami Herald’s Carnival-owned ship caught in pollution scheme. Now they’re paying $40 million for it.

The Department of Justice had overwhelming evidence that Carnival engineers intentionally avoided the ships’ pollution systems in order to discharge the oil directly into the waters around the world for nearly a decade. And there’s no question that Carnival corporate executives were aware of the substantial savings due to the illegal pollution scheme.

Eventually, Carnival admitted and pled guilty to the environmental crimes of polluting the seas, as well as lying to the U.S. Coast Guard and the federal government and trying to cover up its scheme. It finally acknowledged its crimes in open court. Carnival Corporation and all of its cruise brands were then paced on criminal probation (where they remain today) and subjected to routine court ordered monitoring and supervision. Read: Deliberate Dumping, Cover-Up and Lies.

Carnival was forced to admit that in July of 2017, the Carnival Pride ship dumped 15 pounds of food waste into Half Moon Cay, the company’s private island used as a beach for cruise passengers. The Department of Justice’s investigation revealed that Carnival ships often also discharged large quantities of plastic items mixed with trash and garbage, in Bahamian waters among other locations. The Miami Herald also reported that the majority of the 500,000 gallons of treated sewage illegally dumped from Carnival owned ships occurred in Bahamian waters.

In the summer of 2019, Judge Seitz again sanctioned Carnival, this time for $20,000,000, after Carnival ships were caught discharging large quantities of plastics mixed with garbage and trash, as well as grey water, chemicals and other pollutants throughout Bahamian waters. It also dumped chemicals in a U.S. national water park in Glacier’s Bay, Alaska, among other locations.

By the fall of 2020, the court appointed monitor (“CAM”) informed Judge Seitz that Carnival “appears to be among the few corporate defendants to have violated the terms of a corporate probation so significantly that it faced probation revocation proceedings by the Office of Probation.”  The CAM’s interim report, which can be viewed here, details multiple findings of ongoing environmental violations and non-compliance with the Court’s environmental compliance plan (“ECP”).

By all accounts, the $40,000,000 and $20,000,000 fines were grossly inadequate to convince Carnival to change its illegal ways. Carnival Corporation collected over $3,200,000,000 (billion) in profits from over $20,000,000,000 (billion) in gross revenue in 2019. These monetary fines were just proverbial drops in the bucket. Judge Seitz had raised hopes that a more significant sanction would be entered when she stated during a conference that she was contemplating prohibiting Carnival cruise ships from calling on U.S. ports as punishment for Carnival continuing to pollute. She also mentioned the possibility of imprisoning some of the Carnival cruise executives for violating her prior orders. But in the end, the Court levied just these relatively non-consequential fines.

Not surprisingly, the Court was forced to fine Carnival a third time, just three months ago, when it imposed a $1,000,000 penalty for the ongoing violation of the Court’s authority. Among many other findings, the U.S. Department of Justice stated that Carnival has “a culture that seeks to minimize or avoid information that is negative, uncomfortable, or threatening to the company, including its top leadership (i.e., the Board of Directors, executives and brand presidents/CEOs).”

In addition to dumping oil, plastics, and chemicals in the oceans, Carnival Cruise Line and its parent. Carnival Corporation, have systematically polluted the air and sea on an ongoing basis, first by billowing low grade / high sulfur bunker fuel fumes from the funnels of its ships, and currently by dumping toxic waste water sludge from its “scrubbing” devices (which are theoretically intended to reduce air pollution). Read: Smoke and Mirrors: Cruise Line Scrubbers Turn Air Pollution Into Water Pollution.

Carnival Corporation embarked on a misleading public relations campaign with a pro-scrubber website. It argues that scrubbers, which it calls “Advanced Air Quality Systems,” are an effective way to reduce sulfur dioxide and other pollutants.

In reality, sulfur, heavy metals, and other toxic wastes are either washed overboard or collected as sludge after many thousands of tons of water are sprayed in the stacks of Carnival ships which are still burning high-sulfur fuel. This sludge, which should be brought ashore for proper disposal, is often dumped at seas causing significant water pollution.

Trusting Carnival to operate a clean and law-abiding business has proven to be futile. Carnival and other Carnival Corporation cruise brands have a long history of illegally discharging oily water, chemicals, bilge water, grey water, chemicals, and food mixed with plastic items, trash and garbage from numerous ships around the world, even while on probation. Every single status report by the CAM over the course of its five year pobbation has documented substantial environmental violations. Given the tendency of Carnival owned ships to dump waste products overboard, rather than incur the expenses of collecting, storing and properly disposing the pollutants ashore, the continued dumping of toxic scrubber sludge appears to be a certainty.

If anyone believes that Carnival has recently improved its treatment of the environment, please read the Court Appointed Monitor’s (263 Page) Fifth Annual Report (filed last month) outlining Carnival’s continued violation of environmental laws and the the Court’s Environmental Protection plan.

Many cruise fan bloggers published articles and posts yesterday about Carnival cruise ships meeting in ports like Nassau and Cozumel to celebrate Carnival’s 50th birthday. Popular cruise fan and blogger Doug Parker’s Cruise Radio, for example, published an article showing members of Bahamian governmental leaders, including the Bahamian Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, along with Bahamas tourism industry leaders and Carnival executive Christine Duffy cutting a 50th birthday cake for Carnival alongside the sounds of a traditional Bahamian Junkanoo Band.


The Bahamas has suffered from more than its share of illegal dumping of plastics and sewage from Carnival’s ships over the years. The Carnival birthday celebration in Nassau, which shows the disturbing spectacle of Bahamian leaders smiling and posing for photos with the executive of a cruise line which dumped massive quantities of plastic and garbage and a half million gallons of sewage into its sovereign waters, is particularly jarring.

But such is the nature of the relationship between Carnival and small, beholden port countries in the Caribbean. The port countries are powerless to stop the air and water pollution from the increasingly massive Carnival cruise ships which crowd into their ports.

Of course, cities in the U.S. are also unable to stop the over-sized polluting Carnival ships from calling on their ports, even when their citizens have decided to limit the size of cruise ships. Take, for example, the tiny port of Key West which remains on Carnival’s itinerary even though Key West citizens voted overwhelmingly to stop large cruise ships, including Carnival ships, from calling. The drafts of the Carnival ships are far too deep for the waters of the Florida Keys and churn up silt which covers surrounding reefs as the Carnival “fun ships” tear through the channel to the small port.

We can only hope that over the next fifty years, the federal court in Miami imposes more significant fines and penalties against this recidivist corporate felon, including jail time for Carnival’s executives. The court should also be prepared to bar Carnival ships from calling at U.S. ports, in order to enforce environmental laws which Carnival has flaunted for far too long.

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Carnival Elation – Cayman News Service; bottom – Carnival Freedom – Cayman  News Service; Carnival Freedom – Photographer wishes to remain anonymous; birthday photo of Bahamian leaders and Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy – Carnival PR via Cruise Radio.