Carnival's sorry sea saga continues: Passengers sleeping on deck, waiting in endless lines for cold food, raw sewage seeping through cabin walls, and now the latest nightmare to confront the ironically-named Triumph -- once proud seafarers relegated to using plastic bags to do their business.
Where do the indignities end on this garbage bucket? Might cannibalism be next?
We understand that the sea can be a harsh mistress, but come on, Carnival, couldn't this hot stinky situation have been handled differently? That's what The Daily Weekly wanted to know yesterday, as we dialed up the cruise lines' media center at headquarters in Miami.
Expect a scene like this when at last the passengers of Triumph make it to Mobile
Why, we asked, couldn't the company have sailed an empty cruise ship out to meet the crippled craft? Then, tie up alongside it, and slowly but surely transport the 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members, via gangplanks or some such device, onto a power-functioning, toilets-working, clean, sweet-smelling vessel -- and point them straight toward a nice big buffet and open bar.
To this inquiry, Carnival spokesman Vance Gullicksen offered this rather surprising admission: "I am sure we looked at this as an option, but I do not believe we had an empty cruise ship that we could have used."
Hmmm. Carnival has 24 ships in its fleet. Surely, one could have been pressed into action (even if it meant canceling a scheduled cruise) to handle the rescue at sea, instead of having it sloooowly towed to Mobile, Alabama, where, mercifully, the Triumph is expected to make a less than triumphant arrival today, weather permitting -- one full week after leaving Galveston on what was to have been a four-day voyage.
"As I said, we looked at a lot of options," said Gullicksen. "Originally, we planned to tow it to Mexico but the tides changed."
So, instead of an dispatching an empty ship for a heroic rendezvous with thousands of grateful, though weary passengers, the Carnival has diverted two of its cruise ships to leave supplies, presumably another round of plastic bags.
Let's hope that list of provision includes an ample supply of whiskey.