Backstage Travels

All the world's a stage…

Carnival Triumph

on February 16, 2013

I feel like I should say something about this subject. Everyone else has. I am friends with a couple of the crew members who were there for the incident. I was just as glad to find out that they were okay as everyone else.

I am a Carnival Team Member, and while I was not on the Carnival Triumph, I can certainly imagine what the staff and crew must have been going through in terms of keeping the passengers and even each other calm and collected throughout a truly awful situation.

I know that there were some people who were angry. And sure, that’s a natural response. But there’s no reason to be angry when you hear a code name being called over the loudspeakers. Real and true panic would ensue if they just yelled “FIRE! FIRE IN THE ENGINE ROOM!” When you first board a ship, you perform a short safety drill. This is basically equivalent to when you ride an airplane and you watch the person at the front with the mask and the life vest. It’s just a little more time consuming because we have to collect everyone in their Muster Stations. In an emergency, a signal will sound. Everyone it told what the signal sounds like, and it is blasted through the horn, whistle, and speakers at the start of the drill. The Muster Station is where people will get the situation explained to them. It is much safer for everyone to hear the news like this than to just shout about it. Code words are not to keep secrets forever. It’s to keep people from panicking.

Now, here’s something I’ve heard people (not at all involved in the situation) say: “Why didn’t they get in the lifeboats and go to shore that way?”

Seriously?

The Triumph was at sea for five days. One vessel. Five days. Now imagine ~30 cramped life boats (150 ish people in each one) and ~30 life rafts(25 ish people) floating around the middle of the Gulf of Mexico for five days. The Triumph was structurally sound; there was no reason to abandon ship. It was literally the safest place to keep 3000 tired, scared, and angry passengers.

From what has been reported by passengers, and not CNN, the staff and crew did all they could in the conditions. Food was rationed, power was rationed limitedly, and some entertainment was provided as they could. They were all literally in the same boat, and passengers said that the crew were positive and helpful, especially the cruise director. I would also like to point out that many of the complaints that people had about other people were mostly about other passengers fighting or not following directions given to them by staff.

No one was hurt in the incident. There were a couple injuries subsequently from the lack of light. Carnival is taking care of the people and refunding everything plus extra things, including another 3-5 day cruise in the future.

Our crews and specialty teams are well trained.

I would also like to add, because I read an article on CNN on this subject, that as a crew member myself, I can tell you that conditions for us are NOT hellacious. It is true that some crew member work more hours than others (in fact, last week for the charter cruise, I was clocked in for 14ish hours a day), but our health and safety are a priority. We get healthcare, extensive protective equipment and we have dining rooms for just us. I should also point out that each ship goes through about 3 safety audits a year, one internal, and two outside companies.

The worst part about the job is being away from the people you love for so long. But we’ve also all signed up for this. All of use are paid and can quit at any time.

Please comment if you have questions or something. But I hope it will put into perspective that this was indeed an accident, not a planned engine fire, and the crew acted in the best way they could. Everyone got home safe and whole, and people are still cruising with us.


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