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

  • phyllis


  • Stephen

    What a great job by Carnival to prevent 41 people from entering the USA illeagally and living off of food stamps and welfare. How many crimes would these people have commited here in the USA as well?
    I am happy that Crnival uses its resources to prevent crime in our country.

  • Stephen:

    The greatest crimes perpetrated in the U.S. are by U.S. citizens, particularly the CEO’s of the largest banks, commercial firms and insurance companies which have ripped off U.S. citizens by the billions & billions of dollars.

    Cuban Americans here in Miami are some of the hardest working, tax-paying citizens in the U.S. They are our judges, mayors, doctors, businessmen/businesswomen and Congressional leaders. They add vitality to our economy and community.

  • Jen Horvatin

    I’m one of the passengers on the ship, and while I support helping others I must say carnival did nothing to help out those passengers who had their trip affected. We were no longer allowed to go to our scheduled ports of call and we not compensated in any way! As far as customer service goes, they could not have cared less.

  • Stephen


    There are no doubt many hard working immigrants here from all different nations but if you come here illegally than you have allready commited one crime and there is no doubt in my mind that some of those 41 people rescued would have to commit crimes here in the USA to survive. I dont commit crimes and I dont beleive in letting people in to this country who have committed a crime just by entering and then may commit crimes in the future. I also dont need to support more people on public assistance with my hard earned tax dollars.
    Love your blog even if I disagree with you on this issue.

  • Ginny Gramatges

    I am also a passenger who was on that ship and was with a youth group including several unaccompanied minors. I am glad that we were able to save those 41 lives. I have heard there were many more who had already died by the time we found them. Carnival allowed our girls to phone home for free to contact families and let them know all was OK and they were safe – and not to worry if they heard anything on the news.
    We have first-world problems. Let’s keep perspective and be happy we are free and can afford a cruise.

  • Teresita Gyori

    We just came back from the diverted cruise voyage, the ship dropped off the migrants to Key West. The proper thing the Coast Guard should have done is picked them up with a cutter, I don’t know where you got your information. The ship cancelled Mexico and we headed to Nassau. Carnival should have just dropped off (us Miamians at Key West Navel base in order for us to go home). Nassau is nice but gone too many times. Great crew, awful experience. I saved for a long time for this trip (family of five). Ginny Gramatges, please provide where I can send you my bills in order for you to reimburse me, I see money is no object for you. Besides Carnival has a capacity of 2,065, based on CruiseNewser we were 2,650 passengers on board. What happens if there is a fire. Who gets safed!

  • Nikki G

    Jen, I too was on the ship this week. I agree that Carnival should have compensated us better considering we paid more to travel to Mexico and ended up in Bahamas. I heard this happens a lot on Carnival ships. This was my first cruise.

  • Steve Boyer

    Why after picking up the Cubans do they not go onto Cozumel. They skipped the rest of the trip due to this.

  • Craig Hickle

    I was also on this cruise, and confused by the conflicting stories surrounding whether the Cuban migrants were transfered to the Coast Guard cutter that met us. Regardless, it was a major disappointment to be denied the stop in Cozumel, as it was the only reason the cruise was purchased in the first place. Without question, giving humane assistance to those fighting for a better life, was the right thing to do. And I applaude Carnival for making the decision in delaying its voyage. However, Carnival then made a business decision, based on what they thought would be best for them…and to minimize passenger complaints and requests for compensation. While many passengers were satisfied with a cruise that did not deliver the prize destination, you can count me as one who feels there should be some type of consideration. But to write it off as a peril of travel is not sitting well.

  • carl pascual

    My wife and I were passengers on the ECSTASY and are grateful for the rescue but very disappointed to have our vacation ruined since no compensation or discount voucher has been offered by CARNIVAL for the difference in price fare between COZUMEL and NASSAU. I will certainly think twice again before taking another CARNIVAL cruise.

  • dave coleman

    I was on the ship too. I feel good about the rescue but not about the changed destination and the lack of compensation. Including the rescue, we traveled about 250 miles or 20% less miles round trip than had we gone to Cozumel. Carnival must keep the profit. Not going back on carnival.

  • Chan

    You have to read the comments.

  • Jessica

    My family and I were on this ship as well. Being a family of 5, we saved to go on this trip with the destination of Mexico. I agree with everyone that says we deserve some type of refund. Carnival probably made money off of us by going to Nassau. We could have paid half of the price and got a suite for a cruise to Nassau. This cruise was miserable all the way around. I wish Carnival would have disclosed to the news that we had to escort the Coast Guard back to Miami. Seeing as how all 41 people on board were on the Carnival ship, makes you wonder if Carnival disclosed to the Coast Guard how many people were in need of rescue. I sent a complaint to the Better Business Bureau and I will never go on or recommended363254 Carnival to anyone.

  • cynthia lopez

    Every single one of you here is stupid i dont know where you and your lies stand im cuban and verru sucessful idk wtf is wrong with you stupid as people on here saying that we live on wellfare n foodstamps get the fuk ut we aint lowlifes shut yalls rasicts ass up u dumb mutherfukin americans tht think u better then anybody fuk u anyone can more succsefull then u it dnt matte if u black mexican cuban or puerto rican u can still do good….. get ur facts straight before u start yappin .. this is y i dnt like white people!! Always thinkin u better then people n shit…. RASCITSSSSSS now have a good day and continue to trash talk BOO :* xoxo sincerley cynthia ♥