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    Carnival Splendor One Year Later: 10 Lessons Learned From the Cruise Ship Fire


    A year ago today, fire tore through the engine room of Carnival Splendor, leaving the vessel adrift and cut off from the rest of the world. The ship, which had just begun a weeklong voyage to the Mexican Riviera, had 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crewmembers onboard. For the next four days, a saga unfolded that riveted millions worldwide -- one that involved a daring Navy supply mission, a cruise director who both entertained and kept things in check, and a mysterious pallet of Spam caught by a photographer's lens.<br style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; "><br style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; ">On November 11, 2010, the ship was finally towed into San Diego, where it was met by a phalanx of journalists, family members and buses that transported passengers to area hotels. The fire, it was revealed two months later, was caused by the "catastrophic failure" of a diesel generator. <br style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; "><br style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; ">So what did the Carnival Splendor adventure teach us? <br style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; "><br style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; ">star2.bmpThe best way to handle a crisis is to let the world know what the crisis is. From the beginning, Carnival was forthcoming about what was going on and how things were expected to progress. Even as the media firestorm ticked upward, the line sent out a steady stream of alerts via Twitter and Facebook. It responded to all of x's e-mails and phone calls, even going so far as providing us with copies of the makeshift dining menus and access to a very busy Senior Cruise Director (John Heald).<br style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; "><br style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; "><br style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; ">star2.bmpJohn Heald deserves a promotion. Talk about dumb luck. Somehow Carnival's star cruise director was on the right ship at the right time and was able to skillfully prevent panic on a dead ship and mount a PR campaign at the same time. Then, upon his return, his candor was both reassuring … and almost unnatural. <br style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; ">

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