Last week was another rough week for Royal Caribbean.
First there were repeated outbreaks of the nasty norovirus aboard the Jewel of the Seas which sickened hundreds of unsuspecting passengers. Then there was the embarrassment of a Royal Caribbean employee with a criminal record stealing private information from Royal Caribbean computers regarding Royal Caribbean customers so her career-criminal-of-a-husband could break into their homes while they were on Royal Caribbean cruises. And finally there was a sexual pervert molesting a 6 year old child in the kid’s H20 WaterZone aboard Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas.
For those in the know in Miami, Royal Caribbean is consider to the black sheep of the cruise industry. Ask insiders at Carnival, NCL and the smaller cruise lines like Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, and Silversea Cruises for a quote? They will whisper under their breath – only at Royal Caribbean could this happen.
These stories caught Royal Caribbean flat footed. Its PR people (which the cruise line calls the "corporate communications" department) were late to the stories and ended up issuing the usual corporate sounding PR statements which made them sound guilty as hell:
In response to the norovirus outbreaks, the Royal Caribbean PR people issued this statement: "At Royal Caribbean International, we have high health standards for all our guests and crew . . ."
This statement came after its own employee burglarized the homes of local Florida citizens who were cruising on Royal Caribbean ships: "Royal Caribbean does not tolerate any form of criminal activity in its workforce or operations . . . "
And finally this one after the sexual abuse of a child in the children’s water zone on its cruise ship: "Royal Caribbean maintains a zero tolerance policy regarding any criminal activity onboard our ships . . ."
Royal Caribbean’s PR statements about norovirus and crime are corporate double-talk.
For example, the cruise line’s "zero tolerance" program began as a public relations stunt ten years ago after it hired outside consultants to study its high rate of sexual assaults. After the experts told Royal Caribbean that it had a problem because of the frequent sexual crimes on its cruise ships, the cruise line ended its study, rejected the experts’ recommendations, and adopted a marketing strategy where it claimed that it had "zero tolerance" for crimes. This was the same year it pled guilty to multiple felonies for making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Attorney’s Office about environmental crimes.
Since then Royal Caribbean’s CEO, Richards Fain, tells the company stockholders each year that crime on Royal Caribbean ships is "rare" when the cruise line’s own experts concluded long ago that crimes against passengers is "routine."
As far as the "high health standards" go, take a minute and read the 46 comments by sick passengers who just got off Royal Caribbean’s norovirus contamnated cruise ship.
Out of this gobbledygook comes a clear message: you can’t trust what Royal Caribbean says.
*The word "gobbledygook" comes from Maury Maverick, a Texan lawyer who served as a Democratic Congressman and the mayor of San Antonio. He used the word in the New York Times Magazine in 1944 referring to a turkey, “always gobbledy gobbling and strutting with ludicrous pomposity.”
Photo Credit: The Consumerist Don’t miss reading "Royal Caribbean Caught Infiltrating Review Sites With Viral Marketing Team."