The largest cruise ship operator in the world is Carnival , a company based both in Miami in the U.S. and in Southampton in the United Kingdom and part of larger parent company Carnival Corporation. The origins of this large cruising company date back to 1972 and today it owns many of the most recognizable brands in tourism, including Princess, Cunard, and Holland America among many others.
Cruises are supposed to be vacations for people to relax, have fun, and to see the world. Unfortunately these trips often come with risks to both passengers and crew members. Any ship out at sea is vulnerable to bad weather and rough waters, but cruise ships come with additional risks. With so many people packed on board, illness and assaults are not uncommon and when a ship experiences a mechanical failure, the stakes are high.
Carnival is not just the largest cruise company in the world; it is the world’s biggest leisure travel company of any type. The brands in the Carnival line up include: Carnival, Princess, Fathom, Costa, Cunard, P&O, Aida, Seabourn, and Holland America. The fleet of the entire lineup includes 101 ships, and these cruise ships visit over 700 ports around the world each year.
The number of passengers traveling with Carnival cruise ships each year numbers around eleven million. This represents about half of all cruise-goers every year. Responsible for the safety and entertainment of these passengers are 120,000 employees. Carnival is also in the top half of the Forbes 500 list and in 2015 brought in over $15 billion in revenue. It has headquarters in both the U.S. and the U.K. with many other offices in locations around the world.
Carnival Cruise Lines was started in 1972 by Ted Arison, considered by many to be a pioneer in the cruise industry. It didn’t take much more than a decade for Carnival to become one of the biggest cruise operators in the world, and over the years the company has continued to grow, mostly through acquisitions of other cruise companies and brands.
Some of the notable acquisitions have included Holland America and Seabourn, which gave Carnival a portion of the luxury cruising segment. In 1997 Carnival acquired Costa, the Italian cruise company which was the most popular cruise brand in Europe at the time. It also added history to the lineup with the purchase of Cunard, the company that built the world’s biggest ocean liner the Queen Mary 2.
The most recent addition to Carnival’s rich history is the Fathom brand. Following the company’s history of innovation in the industry, Fathom will be unlike any other cruise line. It offers passengers the chance to go on an exciting vacation while also participating in volunteer opportunities and working with locals in areas throughout the world.
Cruise Ships and Operations
The Carnival fleet is a big one in the cruising industry, with multiple brands serving different segments and locations with individually-branded ships. The Aida fleet is based in Germany, while Costa is in Italy. Both serve European passengers and offer cruises in the Mediterranean, North Sea, and other European locations. Cunard is one of the older brands and has just three ships in its fleet., but is a high-profile luxury brand. Seabourn is also a luxury brand with routes all over the world. Holland America, Carnival, and Princess have the largest fleets of ships and serve the most customers on trips.
Cruising is fun and exciting for most people, and for the workers aboard the ships they represent a job and a way to earn a living out at sea. On the other hand, both passengers and crew take a big risk when they travel on a cruise ship. Any ship out at sea could capsize, sink, collide with something, be boarded by pirates, have mechanical failures, or catch on fire. These and other incidents can cause accidents that harm and even kill both passengers and workers.
Carnival cruise ships have experienced a number of these accidents, in which sometimes no one was hurt, but unfortunately also in which crew or passengers were hurt or killed. One of the most terrible of all Carnival accidents was the grounding of the Costa Concordia. The cruise ship ran aground on the coast of Italy due to error on the part of the captain. He infamously abandoned the ship before ensuring everyone else was safe. As a result of this incident, 32 people drowned and 64 were injured. It took years just to remove the partially-submerged ship.
Another Carnival incident that made waves in the news occurred in 2013 aboard the Carnival Triumph. The ship was off the coast of Mexico when it experienced an engine fire. The fire itself did not hurt anyone and was quickly put out. However, it did cause a power outage and loss of propulsion. Passengers and crew were stuck aboard the Triumph for more than a week with no power and with sewage backing up in the toilets.
Carnival’s small luxury brand Seabourn experienced a terrifying incident in 2005 while off the coast of Somalia. The ship, called the Seabourn Spirits, was attacked by pirates who fired on it. The captain was fortunately able to change course and arrived in the Seychelles with no injuries to crew or passengers, but with damage to the ship from machine guns and grenade launchers.
More recently, a grisly and terrible accident occurred onboard the Carnival Ecstasy. An electrician was performing routine maintenance on an elevator on the ship. He had disabled the safety system to do the work. He was standing on an elevator that then started moving upwards. He was crushed to death. Not only did the worker lose his life so tragically, but passengers witnessed the incident and were understandably traumatized. The death was ruled an accident, and although the worker had followed procedure, the accident happened and the elevator moved when it should not have.
Accidents and Rights to Compensation
These incidents are terrible and numerous. One reason why accidents are so much more noteworthy on cruise ships than on other types of ships is the sheer number of people affected. When something goes wrong on a cruise ship, such as the grounding of the Costa Concordia, thousands of people are at risk of being injured or killed. Illness can spread rapidly through a crowded ship, and a fire or attack by pirates can cause panic and resulting harm.
Passengers have a right to expect a safe environment when going on a cruise and may sue the cruise line when something goes wrong and results in injury, illness, or death. Workers on board cruise ships share part of the responsibility for keeping passengers safe, but are also entitled to a safe working environment. When crew members are hurt in a workplace accident, they also have a right to seek compensation from the responsible maritime company.
If you work on cruise ships and you experience one of these terrible accidents, you are covered under maritime law. You can call on these laws to help you seek compensation from your employer. Money after an accident can help you get back on your feet, but make sure you consult with a maritime lawyer before making any moves.