Carnival Cruise Line characterized the recent brawl on the Carnival Legend as limited, isolated and unprecedented. But anyone who follows the cruise industry knows that these type of fights which occur on Carnival ships are hardly rare.
There literally are dozens of videos on YouTube of fights which have erupted on cruise ships over the years. The vast majority of these brawls occur on Carnival ships.
There are reasons for this problem, in my opinion:
The “wider audience:” Cruising is now more popular than ever. The cruise line’s trade organization, CLIA, says that over 27 million passengers will take a cruise this year. Cheaper fares have attracted what Carnival Corporation chairmen Micky Arison characterizes as the “wider audience.” Eight years ago in an article titled Cruise Ship Brawls – A Problem that Will Get Bigger with Bigger Ships, I wrote about CEO Arison discussing potential issues associated with cheap cruise tickets and a more diverse group of passengers.
Cruise executive Arison said: “cruise ships are a microcosm of any city or any location and stuff happens . . . The negatives of discounting might be less commission for agents and less revenue for us but the positive is it opens up the product to a wider audience.” I mentioned that the “wider audience” will undoubtedly include a younger crowd from a different demographic, including what I call the hard partying “Bud Light – tank top” crowd.
Too much alcohol on increasingly gigantic ships: Cruise lines aren’t profitable based solely on their cruise fares. Of all “onboard purchases,” including casino sales, shore excursions, specialty restaurants and gift shops, alcohol sales are the key to keeping the tax-free foreign flagged cruise ships profitable. Pushing alcohol sales are a key part of Carnival’s fun ships. Carnival collects literally hundreds of millions of tax-free dollars a year selling booze on the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. Bartenders, who make a earning solely on gratuties and tips, are often prone to over-serve guests.
Ill trained and and insufficient number of security guards: A common complaint we hear from passengers is that ship security does not intervene at an early stage to stop potentially violent situations from escalating and getting out of hand. Carnival responded to the recent brawl between ship staff and cruise guests by praising its “highly trained security staff.” But images of its security personnel and ship officers kicking and beating passengers last week (and trying to stop passengers from filing the out of control violence) speaks volumes about Carnival’s shipboard security and the cruise line’s so-called “zero tolerance” of such violence. In the videos below, the Carnival security personnel are often seen observing the fights or trying to stop people from taking videos of the melees.
Eight years ago, I asked how Carnival will handle the “wider audience” flocking onto its larger cruise ships. If cruise ships are like cities and “stuff happens,” as Carnival’s Arison rightfully suggests, what steps are cruise lines taking to protect U.S. families? I asked then and will ask now whether Carnival and other cruise lines will ever hire a full complement of well trained and experienced security guards? Or will they continue to try and save money with only a few inexperienced “guards” trying to protect their guests from the inevitable violence when thousands of people squeeze into the huge ships and far too much booze is added to the mess?
The answer to these questions is contained in the videos below, which I have ranked in order of out-of-control violence. There are far too many videos to include them all here, including the recent brawl aboard the Carnival Legend.
If you have a video to nominate, send me a link and we can add it to a ten ten list.
Carnival Dream (2010):
Carnival Splendor (2010):
Carnival Ship (2011):
Carnival Glory (2016):
Carnival Breeze (2015):
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