The Big Mistake
When I awoke the following day on Monday, December 13, I began my
morning ritual of going to the Windjammer to fetch coffee for Marla
and myself. Here at home, Marla brings me coffee every morning.
Our tradition is that I get to return the favor at sea.
think I get the better end of the deal, but not today.
elevators were still out of action thanks to constant rocking of the
ship, I was forced to climb 7 flights of stairs. The seas were still
really nasty, so keeping my balance and carrying two cups of coffee
without spilling took serious effort. By the time I returned to
the cabin, I was really huffing and puffing.
I noticed a bulletin from the ship had been slipped under the door.
It said that each cabin had been given $200 credit for our troubles.
If the cabin had 2 people, that was $100 per person.
When I showed the paper to Marla, she doubted we
receive any of this money due to our odd status as dance
teachers (she was right). Then Marla
shook her head in puzzlement. $100 didn't seem
right for a situation that had put us all in danger. Marla predicted many of the passengers
would be up in arms at this figure.
Before I continue, let me explain that money was never an issue for
us. We were in the odd situation of being part-staff and
part-passenger. We had been hired by an outside agency to teach the
dance lessons aboard the ship. In return, we paid the agency an
administrative fee for the privilege. This
meant we weren't cruising
for free, but on the other hand we paid far less than the regular passengers.
Considering how much fun we had teaching the lessons, we were quite
content with the arrangement. It was more
However, due to this peculiar arrangement, the ship did not owe us single
penny. That meant in the coming disagreements, Marla and I were
strictly neutral. Therefore we just sat back and watched the coming
fight with dispassion.
Marla was right. At breakfast (which I
skipped), no one we spoke with was even
remotely satisfied with the amount.
Very few people stuck up for the cruise line on this $100 OBC issue.
Here is the only comment
I found on the Internet
where a passenger indicated the
settlement was good enough for them.
We have been given $200 per cabin. There are people
right here in the computer area writing a letter to say
it's not enough. They
are mad that they had to line up for breakfast and
lunch. Whatever. I will not comment on the compensation.
But I give credit where credit is due.
The staff has gone without sleep to clean the ship and
keep us fed. Venues are being reopened. The Casino is
up, and everyone was in the Schooner Bar tonight having
a good time. I am trying to make lemonade out of lemons
Between the weather in England connecting there, to
strikes in Spain, to the storm in the Med - this has
been a cruise to remember.
But, I am still having a good time, and enjoying meeting
my fellow cruisers. We are all safe; no one was
seriously injured. I'm not going to write a letter of
complaint just because I had to line up for breakfast.
The majority of passengers had a much different attitude.
I would have to agree that $200 per cabin is not enough
based on the circumstances. DH and I had a cabin/suite
on a cheap 4 night cruise that had a mildew smell.
mildew smell. We just mentioned the fact on the comment
card at the end of the cruise. A couple of weeks later
we received a $150 future cruise credit each for DH and
myself - for a total of $300 for the cabin. And, I say
again, it was a mildew smell. We were never in fear of
We were very impressed with the ship's response to the
situation given that we certainly asked for nothing.
But this sort of event was much more impacting on the
cruisers who experienced the situation so - in fairness
- I think they deserve more than $200 per cabin OBC.
Others may agree or disagree. (Cruise Critic)
back in the States began to add their own comments.
I think that in your case the elimination of the smell
was the ship's responsibility and you should have
received some compensation. However, if last night's
situation was due to an act of God then IMO $200 for
every cabin on the ship seems very generous.
But if due to human error, then not
Yesterday's initial position of the cruise line was that the
ship had done little wrong, but here is a hundred bucks for all the
discomfort. The moment I saw the letter, I had a hunch someone
had made a big mistake. That $200 per cabin offer on Monday morning changed
everything because IT OPENED THE DOOR.
For starters, it felt to me like hush money... but no one shuts
up for that amount. Second, it established the cruise
line felt compelled to offer compensation. Big mistake.
Oh my gosh, now the sharks smelled blood! This $100 stirred
them into a frenzy! If they will offer $100, how much more
will they offer?
I am basically a company loyalist. Nevertheless, even to me
that number seemed low. I thought the ship had made a mistake
offering so little money. On the other hand, I didn't think a
full refund was called for either. I would have expected
something in the middle of the two extremes. The number in my
mind was $300 to $500 per person. I think if the company had
offered something closer to that range, Sunday's anger would have
subsided and prevented any sort of backlash on Monday.
Sure enough, as the events on Monday developed, the low-ball offer turned out to be a big mistake. Marla and I got an amazing first-hand education
at how the American Revolution must have started. People
assembled everywhere to grumble. Minute by
minute, slowly but surely, anger grew. All they needed was a
leader for this to turn into
From our catbird seat, Marla and I watched the rising tide of anger
with an odd mixture of horror and amusement. Both of us have
studied the business side of the cruise industry for ten years.
I was rooting for the cruise line to hang in there long enough for
the mood to change, but that wasn't happening. Defusing the growing
anger would be no easy task.
As the tension mounted throughout the ship on Monday morning, we
both tried to predict how the company would balance this growing
resentment against an understandable desire to minimize their
losses. To our consternation, Marla and I both realized we had
no idea how the company would react to this rising tide of anger.
Give Me Compensation or Give Me Death!
The $100 offer sent seismic ripples throughout
the ship. Left with nothing to do, people
began to compare notes. They speculated on what had gone wrong, how
serious the danger had been, and how miserable they were
in a world without
Bingo or Booze. It was the perfect breeding ground for discontent.
The prevailing attitude among the passengers was this "Incident" had
not been their fault and they didn't appreciate
expected to suffer
for it in return for this pathetic little pittance.
Their lives had been put at risk, they had missed out on the only
reason they were here in the first place, they couldn't go outside,
and they were miserable being cooped up all day long
with nothing to do.
had nothing else to do but be miserable, so they complained to fill
the vacuum. Soon enough, the crescendo of whining rose to a
fever pitch throughout the ship.
The ship had offered
them $100 credit to make them all feel better.
Sad to say, but that gesture completely backfired.
This low-ball offer served to infuriate many people. Considering what they
had been through, this
paltry sum seemed ridiculous. They were insulted by it.
Their outrage only served to make things much worse.
passengers said they were miserable, their lives had been put in
danger, they had wasted thousands of dollars
on a busted effort to see
Egypt, and none of this
was their fault!!
If one woman could get
$150 for mildew and another woman could get
$500 for a pole that blocked her view, what
could they get for a completely ruined cruise
that had nearly killed them and had taken away their favorite port?
This stupid lousy
hundred dollars just
ain't gonna cut it!!!!
It took about two
hours to repair each hole.
There are two
holes here - one you can see and one hidden by the leaning man. I have
a picture of the missing hole. See below
Here is what it looked like after the repair was finished.
Game Changer - The
early lunch on Monday morning, I learned that the major news
outlets like CNN, FOX and MSNBC had decided to upgrade their
coverage from mere mention-status to "Splendor-status". I
was incredulous. That showed how much I know! I had
predicted the media coverage would laugh at the overturned chairs
and move on. Wrong. To
my complete and utter surprise, our story had just become a world-wide
The biggest storm to hit the Eastern Mediterranean in years had
an interesting new angle.
It wasn't just foreigners like Egyptians and
Israelis who had suffered in this storm. Now the media had
English-speaking victims to worry about. Oh boy! Even
better, in addition to the Americans, British, and Canadians, there
were Germans, Spaniards, French, Japanese and countless others who
had just barely escaped a terrifying brush with death!
Now the media of every country in the world had a personal
angle to work with.
In retrospect, I think our "Incident" benefitted
greatly from its Splendor Doppelganger. The entire world had followed the
travails of the powerless Splendor cruise ship just
one month earlier. The media had quickly noticed an uncommon
interest in those passengers stranded at sea. People throughout
the world expressed their concern over the poor victims forced to
survive on Spam and Raisin Bran.
Now, thanks to the momentum generated by the
story, the media saw our own incident as a great stroke of fortune.
The media was tickled pink to receive yet another story of
beleaguered cruisers. They were more than happy to link our
two together. Even better, this time it wasn't a bunch
of potties that wouldn't flush, but rather the jackpot of all stories -
narrow brush with death! Yes, they had bought
the embellishment strategy...
If the media had their way, this
Listing incident would become the next awesome cruise disaster
sensation. Pretty soon people trapped on floating beds at sea would seem
just as scary
as Chilean miners trapped below the earth! Better yet, they
were American victims!
Sure enough, the media had a field day with our story. Instantly the fallen Christmas tree and
the helpless Santa lying on the floor in the lobby became the International
Symbols of our Harrowing Ordeal. Oh, Poor Santa. Oh, Poor
Christmas Tree. Oh, Poor Passengers. The media put it
out there and, sure enough, the world was more than happy to gasp in
You have no idea how pleased some of our passengers were at this
development. For the refund chasers, this was a dream
come true. Thanks to the international media feeding frenzy,
they had a powerful new ally on their side - the horrid threat
of BAD PUBLICITY!!
Now that they knew the world was watching, the Refund Chasers
felt empowered to seek the Holy Grail of all Cruise Trips - a Full Refund! Their
secret weapon had just arrived.
It no longer mattered that they continued to lose the Great Compensation Debate.
I thing the ship has done a great job
in offering 200 Dollars on board credit.
THEY did not force the storm to come
up. Does nobody read their contracts- in such
circumstances they are not in duty to give anything.
Missing Alexandria is a bummer- of course- after all
nobody got hurt badly, isnīt that more important. After
all this a S H I P , this is something that floats on
water- should someone have forgotten that!
For me it is unbelievable that some asked for more money
back- if I would be in customer service there, they
would get a nice piece of my mind! Some people really
should take a good look at themselves! (Cruise
It no longer mattered that the veteran cruisers considered them the
biggest bunch of babies to ever sail the Seven Seas. All that
mattered was that the Networks made money by advertising the plight
of victims. The Refund Chasers had just become the
International Victims of the day.
The Rabble Rousers
Every Revolution needs
a spark. In the case of the Great Compensation Debate,
the spark came from a husband and wife team.
Since I have no desire to get sued
again, I will use pseudonyms to refer to our firebrands. Also
keep in mind I was not there at the start of the insurrection. Therefore I cannot
story is completely accurate.
Billy and Susan were
the Rabble Rousers who got the ball rolling on Monday. Susan
did a very clever thing. She wrote an email to the ship's
cruisers, then emailed it to herself. Then, using the printer
provided by the ship in the Internet Cafe, Susan printed out a
hundred or so leaflets.
Dear Fellow Cruisers,
that $200 per cabin will cover what we have missed on
the cruise is wrong. The biggest part of this trip
was 2 days in Egypt and that was what we will never get
What might be acceptable now is a credit for
a future cruise or a refund. If they gave $200
upfront it is because there is more to the story than
just bad weather. The error was poor judgment in
bad weather & the almighty dollar.
bigger refund please contact the company in Miami.
They will not listen unless there are enough complaints.
Please contact them.
Billy and Susan began
their campaign up in the Schooner Lounge, a popular gathering spot
on the ship. Susan and Billy passed out the leaflets to anyone
who showed interest in their "Full Refund" platform... which was
quite a few people. Tapping into a huge pool of anger, it
didn't take long before Billy and Susan had an entire group in
complete agreement with them.
At some point, the group decided to take their protest down to the
Front Desk in the Lobby. That seemed like the logical place
since people go there to handle problems.
I heard differing accounts as to what happened next. I
believe Susan approached someone at the Front Desk. While her group
looked on, Susan made her case for a full refund.
I was told that as a group, they began to chant "Call Them, Call
Them, Call Them". This chant was meant to encourage someone to
call the Front Office in Miami and tell them to increase their
offer. This chanting was all done in public. A mean
argument ensued. Soon enough the scene
became bitter. Now Susan was asked to step inside to ease the
Susan followed the Hotel Director into a small office out of sight
of the group. Rumor has it that
Susan threatened to find reporters in Malta and personally tell
them every nasty thing she could think of about the Captain's
incompetence. Then she would add how badly the passengers had been treated by the
company for good measure.
Rumor has it that the Hotel Director threatened to have Susan
confined to her room under house arrest till they reached Malta for
leading an insurrection. Then she would be thrown off the ship
in Malta for inciting the passengers. Susan responded that
they wouldn't dare.
Somehow, news that things weren't going well for Sue reached the
group. In support, the group began to chant "Susan Susan
Susan". As they hoped, the noise attracted other
passengers like a magnet. The strength of this organized show of support was
So the Hotel Director decided to hold an impromptu town meeting in
the Lobby. Rather than deal with one woman, he would
take his case to the masses.
Mutiny on the Bounty
Marla and I were on Level 6 when we first heard the shouting.
We had just finished teaching one of our dance classes. Curious, we followed the noise. We got to the railing
and looked down. To our astonishment, there was a nasty public
argument in full swing two levels below down in
the Lobby. We weren't the only ones attracted to the noise.
As if by magic, suddenly every railing on every level began to fill with
onlookers. I estimate half of the passengers on ship were now in
We were greeted by the ugly sounds of "Liar! Liar! Liar!"
aimed at the Hotel Director.
Amazingly, someone recorded the entire confrontation. If you
are curious, a brief clip can be viewed at
MSNBC (no guarantee as to how long the clip will stay posted)
Typically a cruise ship is a model of manners and decorum. Not
today. No polite discussion for these people. This was
mob rule. I was shocked by the strength of the crowd's anger.
I was witnessing a full-scale rebellion!
To his credit, the Hotel Director decided to take them head on.
He was right there in
the middle of the lobby where everyone could observe. The Director
had three advantages. He had a microphone. Even better, he had a
dozen uniformed security officers posted around him in strategic
positions. Best of all, thanks to metal detectors, the
passengers were unarmed. Given how mad they were, that was
probably a good thing.
Those officers looked pretty nervous. I
didn't blame them a bit. When the meeting in the Lobby began,
the passenger number had been manageable. But that changed in
a hurry as word of the public confrontation spread like wildfire.
Suddenly the Lobby filled to capacity. When there was no more room
down there, people went to the higher levels to look down like Marla
and I did. I estimate
close to 1,000 people were now watching the confrontation. It was an
The group on the floor confronted the Hotel Director with angry
words. They shouted at the Director while he was speaking and said
some pretty ugly things. The Director was clearly rattled. He asked
people to give him the chance to finish before interrupting him.
But it didn't do him much good. People would quiet down only
to interrupt him again 30 seconds later. They challenged
everything he said.
It was a scary scene to behold. I couldn't hear the exact
words being so far away, but I could hear the savagery in their
voices. I shuddered in disgust. The shouting made it clear just how
angry these people were.
With all their new buddies behind them, the
leaders were emboldened to say some very hurtful things about how
the Captain had nearly killed every one of them and what a bunch of
uncaring cheapskates the management was.
One shout that I was able to overhear was a woman who screamed at the top of
her voice, "I can't wait to talk to every G---D reporter I can find
At that point, everyone around her began to chant "Malta!
In my opinion, that was probably the most persuasive thing said all
day. We all knew that the media was waiting on the island of
Malta to greet the ship tomorrow. The threat of having every passenger
on the ship badmouthing the Captain and the company to the entire
world was powerful leverage indeed.
After 15 minutes of nasty public arguing, the Director said he would
talk to Miami Management some more and get back to them. At this point, the
I was relieved. That was the angriest crowd I had
ever seen in my life. This mob was even nastier than some of
the war protests I witnessed back in college. I was actually frightened by the heat
and belligerence of the people. I couldn't believe they had
spoken with such rudeness to a man who was badly out-numbered.
The Hotel Director showed real guts to hang in there amidst the
He was trying to engage them in a civil conversation, but it was
useless. Their screaming overwhelmed his attempt to create a
dialogue. When it was all over, he looked beaten. It could
not have been easy to stand up to a Mob. In fact, I imagine it
was downright terrifying.
By coincidence, I passed the Director on the stairs about an hour
later. I told him to hang in there. I reminded him that not everyone
felt the way the mob did. He smiled and said he appreciated the
encouragement. I added I meant what I said. I said his courage had calmed
About seven hours later, the Captain spoke over the intercom to
announce that every passenger would get this cruise for free.
The cheers were deafening. The mob had gotten their way.
The passenger revolt led by Billy and Susan had succeeded.
As an aside to this story, I actually met Billy and Susan after the
trip was over. They were on the same flight out of Barcelona. As we
sat in the airport waiting area for hours on end, I had a chance to get to know them.
As I listened to their side of the story, I found myself in
agreement with many of their points.
Billy brought up the issue of the high winds that had "surprised"
the Captain. Marla had seen the TV list winds in the 80s,
significantly higher than the Captain initially claimed. As it
turned out, someone had the brilliant idea to photograph the TV
stating "75 mph".
Then Billy reminded that the waves were so high they reached as high
as Deck 10. This was the truth. Marla saw a wave that
reached up to Windjammer on Deck 11. If the passengers could
see how high the waves were, why did the Captain act so surprised?
The Captain didn't do himself any favors. One of his written
statements said "We experienced extreme wind and sea conditions,
beyond what was forecasted."
Another written statement said "In fact, we experienced winds in
excess of 70 knots (80 mph), which was nearly double what was
Okay, Billy said, so the Captain was surprised. So why didn't
he turn around sooner? Instead he kept us going straight into
the teeth of the storm almost to the point of crashing into other
Why did he take us in there to
begin with? It seemed ludicrous that the ship had
magically found itself in the middle of hurricane. Didn't
these people have instruments? Or better yet, didn't they have
Billy said that he had gone ahead and organized the group when he
did because he knew the media was waiting for us just around the
corner at Malta. He said 1,000 people writing letters one by one had
nowhere near the power of 1,000 people expressing their anger in
front of video cameras with the world watching.
I hated admitting that Billy was right, but I had to hand
it to him. That mob
accomplished more than I would have ever dreamed possible. I
had witnessed three previous incidents where angry passengers got
nowhere. This was the first time I had ever seen a passenger
Earlier when the Director had Susan one on one in his office, he was
defiant and in control. However, in the
face of the mob, I could see him change his tune before my very
amount of raw, naked anger in those people's voices shook the
Director to the very core of his being. At the end of the meeting, he was in full retreat.
As I regarded Billy's story, I had mixed feelings towards the man.
On the one hand, I did not feel the situation on the ship justified
using mob tactics. Personally, I could not have done what Billy did
unless I was heavily provoked. I had been as angry as Billy
once before. Back in New England, I missed a long awaited trip
to Acadia thanks to the ship's incompetence. Yes, I had been
However, the fact that Egypt was completely inaccessible changed
everything on this trip. To me, the money was not worth
creating such a public spectacle. It would have been
completely against my nature to treat the Director in such a hostile
manner given the weather situation in Egypt.
Billy disagreed with me. In Billy's mind, they deserved a full
refund. I thought Billy had a lot of guts standing up
to authority like that. He had
no qualms about doing whatever it took to get his way. And it
worked. What a shame that people have to behave like complete
jerks to get their way. Never was the adage "nice guys finish
last" more apparent. I had just been given a first-hand lesson
in how to get a cruise refund.
Then something strange happened. As we waited in the airport, our
flight had just been delayed for the third time that morning.
It seemed that last night Europe had been hit with the worst snowstorm in
25 years. Our plane to Frankfurt was indefinitely delayed.
Billy was very upset by the delays. He wanted to get home. By chance, the pilot of the
airplane walked into the waiting area. I am not sure what the pilot
was doing there, but I saw Billy notice the uniform and immediately corner him. After Billy
confirmed who the man was, he directed a series of antagonistic
questions at the pilot.
"How old are you?" "Aren't you a little young to be the captain of
this plane?" "How much training have you had?" "How much experience
do you have?"
The pilot had first greeted Billy with a smile. He was more
than willing to engage Billy in a conversation. Now his smile
became a frown. The pilot had clearly been caught off
guard by Billy's unprovoked hostility. He never expected to be given
the third degree over his credentials. Nevertheless, he
politely tried to address Billy's concerns.
I was disgusted with Billy's behavior. What was the point? He had absolutely no reason
to interrogate the pilot in such a belligerent manner. What did he
expect to accomplish?So the pilot was only 27. What
difference did that make? Furthermore, it wasn't the pilot's
fault that the runways in Frankfurt were covered in snow!!
I had to walk away. I was disillusioned to discover the Leaders of
the Passenger Revolt were not exactly the nicest people in the
world. I suppose I should not have been surprised at Billy's
behavior. Apparently being confrontational is in his nature.
Well, more power to him. Yes, this husband and wife team had
successfully intimidated the Hotel Director and the entire cruise
line into issuing widespread refunds against serious odds. In
fact, I never would have given them a chance.
For their success, Billy and Sue
became celebrities for the remainder of the trip. Many rounds
of drinks were hoisted in praise of their victory. But there is a big
part of me that does not like bullies. Might does not necessarily
Still, I appreciated the lesson in group power. Billy was
right. Had each of these
people written to management one at a time after the cruise was
over, I doubt seriously they would have pried an estimated $200,000
concession out of the cruise line.
United we stand, divided we fall. Never was the
truth of that axiom in more display.
The Power of Video
It was not until one week after the cruise ended that I had a chance
to view some of the international reports. I saw three different clips that
had aired on
Watching the MSNBC clips, I suddenly realized the most powerful
people in the room during the Passenger Revolt were the guys taking
Eventually their footage of the crowd screaming "Liar!" at
the Hotel Director would flash across the screens of countless
millions of people around the world. Their video caught the
intensity of the mob's anger in a way that a single picture or my
would never equal.
Thanks to video,
I was fascinated to note that there was never the slightest chance for
the ship to bury the story of the Passenger Revolt, much less the
Today's technology has made it
easier to leak stories than at any other time in modern world
history. The pen might still be mightier than the sword, but Video is
an atomic-powered light saber compared to the pen. This event
was a perfect example.
The Power of the Media
It seems to me that video is so powerful that
people might need to be more careful how it is used.
The powerful cries of "Liar Liar" were so loud that they covered the
entire ship. That is what drew Marla and I to the Deck 6
railing in the first place. Unfortunately, I never heard what
was said that provoked the cries of "Liar! Liar!"
After the ugly confrontation was
over, I asked several people why the crowd had been screaming
"Liar!" at the Hotel Director. Their answer left me
flabbergasted. To my surprise, not one person had the
slightest idea what had prompted the chant or whether the man was really
guilty of any half-truth.
All they knew was the Director was the only person with the guts to
stand up in front of everyone and answer questions. And look how
that turned out. For his trouble, a bunch of angry passengers called
him a Liar to his face while the cameras rolled.
Sad to say, the MSNBC clip didn't offer him the slightest chance to defend
himself. So I suppose in the eyes of the world, the Hotel Director
will forever remain guilty as charged in the court of public
His wife will see it. His mother will see it. His kids will see it.
His peers will see it. For the rest of his life, this man will
be forced to remember that during his 15 minutes of fame the world
knew him as a "LIAR". How would you feel if that was
As I watched the three MSNBC clips, it seemed to me the clips made the event
seem far more dramatic and risky than it ever was. Truth be
told, I personally was never scared. However, I admit I have
more experience than most people on the ship. The fear of the
other passengers was completely understandable.
But just because they were scared didn't mean they were actually
ever in any danger. The only real danger that night was
getting hit by a flying object, but truthfully very few people were
actually hit. No one was badly hurt and the damage was
The incident was simply "a close call". So how on earth did "a
close call" become an international event? I still
haven't answered that question to my own satisfaction.
And yet when I viewed the MSNBC clips, I was stunned.
Those clips made me feel lucky to be alive!
Someone who knew what they were doing had taken a few images, a few
interviews, and added copy that made me feel like my ship had barely
missed becoming the second Titanic.
If I had been somebody back in Houston and I saw any of those three clips
without any inside knowledge of just how tame things really were, I would have
concluded that Rick and
Marla were unbelievably fortunate to survive this terrifying event.
I learned from this experience that in the right hands, even a
Christmas tree laying on the floor can become an image to convey
terror. For example, take the picture of that cruise ship
fighting the waves. That wasn't even our ship!
Furthermore, by aiming directly into those waves, the ship is in
absolutely no danger. But no one on the MSNBC clip bothered to
point that out.
What if ten people were interviewed in Malta and
one person in ten said they were afraid... but only that one single 'fear'
interview was used in the clip? That selective use would slant the story
What I discovered is that the media can distort
an event any way they wish.
Is there such a thing
as a jinx ship? It certainly makes you wonder. Our troubled journey in
December 2010 was not the ship's first brush with negative
publicity on a world-wide basis.
Back in 2005, the man above
went missing from this same ship during his honeymoon.
For the first time in my life, I had seen "media bias" in action.
That, my friends, was a whole lot scarier
than all the 70 foot waves and 80 mile per hour winds put together.
What do you do suppose would have happened if the media had not
is a fascinating post on Cruise Critic that might
answer that question.
sailed on the Serenade in a very calm Caribbean.
Suddenly out of nowhere, this
ship listed and everything went wild. Everybody and everything that
was not bolted down was thrown about. On the outside promenade deck
large overhanging equipment and a clock crashed onto the deck. Water
overflowed from the swimming pools above down into the elevators and
this shorted the electric supply and created a fire. Some people had
serious injuries as a result of this listing.
I was in the main
theater and ironically watching a plate balancing act during this
(needless to say what happened to the plates). Behind us at the
bar we could hear liquor bottles crashing onto the floor and then
people scrambling to get out of theater...what a horror show!
really thought that this was "my time" because of my location in the
theater and thus not being able to get out if the ship had not come
back from the list.
Being that the ship was in a calm sea did not make any sense to why we
had listed so much. The official explanation was that the
stabilizers had malfunctioned. As I can remember I am sure the
Captain had responded professionally to the situation and all the
appropriate measures were applied during the emergency... whatever
that entailed I could not imagine.
But the only "I'm sorry for your horror show" credit we
got was a free
glass of wine at dinner. I wrote the company a letter about the fore
mentioned experience but never got a reply. (Cruise Critic)
So how do I explain why our cruise got a complete refund and the
other cruise got a free glass of wine.... for an extremely similar
I call it the Splendor Effect. A fire had broken out in the engine
room. Subsequently power was lost throughout the ship. The engines
no longer functioned. The ship was stranded at sea.
Nothing on the ship worked.
The passengers were upset and rightfully so. They took all their
complaints to the world's media. As the publicity for the cruise
line worsened, the management decided to throw in the towel.
Thanks to their successful manipulation of the media, the passengers
on the Splendor were amply rewarded. Not only did the company refund the cruise,
they threw in a future free cruise for good measure.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Refund Chasers greatly
benefitted from the media momentum generated by the Splendor.
Our cruise ship was due to pull into Malta in a day. The cruise line
was well aware that our ship had now replaced the Splendor in the
world's eye. There was a throng of media waiting to interview the
passengers in Malta. Should they stick to their guns and keep the
$200,000 or should they throw in the towel as well and offer refunds
to avoid any further bad publicity?
You already know the answer to that question. Thanks to the unusual
coincidence of two back to back cruise disasters, our ship was
now linked to the Splendor in the mind of the public. If the
Splendor passengers got refunds, then why shouldn't our passengers?
I can't help but wonder if
a cruise ship has ever
faced a mob as angry as ours before. The Mutiny Event was
truly something I will never forget.
In retrospect, when the cruise line made its initial $100 offer,
I imagine the cruise line expected to deal with the angry passengers
one at a time. However, once the media got involved, that was
bad news indeed. And then the totally unexpected formation of
the Billy Club supplied the coup de grace.
For the record, I believe our passengers were OVERCOMPENSATED for
In hindsight, I have to believe that if the cruise line had come in
with a hefty sum to begin with, the passengers would never have
become angry enough to organize in the first place.
However, there may be other reasons for the company's capitulation
that we will never know about. As you will read in our
next chapter, there are several highly
mystifying unanswered questions that still trouble me.