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



Carnival Ecstasy TV navigational photo                Cory Forister

  • Life aboard a CARNIVAL ECSTASY cruise is more heavenly than ever since we’ve added so many wonderful amenities – a wireless Internet cafe, expanded Youth Program space (including a Circle “C” lounge), a Resort-Style pool, the splashy stylings of Carnival WaterWorks, a tranquil Serenity (SM) Adult-Only Retreat and 98 new private balconies.

  • Brandi Andrews

    I was on that cruise ship when it happened. There is no way that it was because of just a buoy. I have neck, back, and shoulder injuries now. I wish they would stop covering up what actually happened and tell the truth. Because their human error cause alot of people trauma! I still have a hard time sleeping because I wake up thinking that I am on that cruise and the boat was on its side again. Carnival Cruise lines is hiding what actually happened! And someone needs to get to the bottom of it!

  • Heather W

    Thank you Jim for your care and concern for the persons on the Ecstasy during the “incident”. We are not looking for billions or even millions, we are looking and I believe deserve the truth about what happened. I want an apology, because noone on board ever received an apology. They really tried to make themselves look like heros with all the talk of saving the boat and crew and all passangers, but do they really think their passangers are idiots?

    I am a sailor and have listed quite drastically on our boat, but this really scared the pants off me. Nightmares, yes I am still having them. I am however not an idiot, and hate to be treated as such. So thank you for allowing this forum for people to talk about their ordeal. Please do keep us informed on the outcome of the investigation.

  • betty holcomb

    I was sitting at a table by the pool when the ship started listing…I looked over the rail and saw debris floating by the ship. You will never make me believe that we did not hit something, possible a small wooden boat or something. When I went to the infirmary later with my back hurting really bad, I was treated as though I was dirt and just a troublemaker. But looks like they are going to be successful in their coverup!