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Did Carnival Triumph Passengers Exaggerate Conditions for Lawsuits and Attention?

Cross-posted from The American Complaint Department

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Members of the Triumph “tent city” watch as the Carnival Legend passes by the Triumph

As Carnival reported, the crew was able to restore power and the sewage system to parts of the ship. Some reports coming from the passengers speak of horrible conditions suffered during the ordeal. Less than a week after the passengers reached port in Mobile, Alabama, lawsuits were filed. Four suits have been filed against Carnival since the ship returned to port.

The problem with these suits is that I believe they are based on poor representations of the actual harm caused by the cruise. While we have all heard many accounts of the last days on the Triumph that make it sound like a third world doomsday prepper’s fantasy. We have all heard the description of the “onion sandwiches,” “sewage running down the walls and floor,” and “people fighting over food.” This paints a very grim picture of the conditions on the ship. However, at least one passenger on board of the Triumph has painted a very different picture of the conditions on the ship.

In a Washington Times article, passenger Kirk Draut described a situation that was much less dire than that described by many passengers. According to the article, Mr. Draut had a very different view of the conditions:

“We only had a small amount of water on our bathroom floor, we had running water — no hot water — and plenty of food. The conditions on the ship were not as bad as you were led to believe. The crew managed to restore enough power to have comedy shows, movie night, trivia, bingo and live music. It was not ‘Mad Max’ at sea.”

Mr. Draut had such a different view of the situation that he felt compelled to post pictures of the conditions on his Facebook page. He requested that people share the images in the album to get the truth out. You can see some of the images below. Click here to go to his photo album Carnival Triumph – The Truth.

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The Triumph’s “tent city” on deck 10 of the ship.

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Kirk Draut’s lunch on Tuesday after the fire.

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Passengers watching The Avengers in one of the lounges.

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Kirk Draut’s breakfast on Thursday, February 14 – the last day on board.

His description and the images on his page are a stark contrast to many of the dramatic descriptions we’ve heard from passengers. According to Mr. Draut, “People were playing it up for the cameras. When we saw the first helicopters with cameras, people were running into their cabins to grab their bathrobes and life preservers.” While I’m sure many people had different experiences, it doesn’t appear that the conditions were nearly as horrible as many of the passengers claimed. Why would they embellish their stories, you ask? Perhaps some of them wanted the attention. I suspect many of them simply want a paycheck.

To date, at least four suits have been filed against Carnival for the Triumph. These people are seeking monetary relief for the conditions on the ship during the incident. The problem with these lawsuits are that these people are attempt to get compensation for something that is not likely to have caused them actual harm. Not only did Carnival cover their expenses (with the exception of casino and gift shop purchases) for this cruise, but is giving each passenger another cruise and a $500 check. This may not be enough if someone had an issue such as the loss of income from a small business due to being stuck on the ship. In cases like that, I agree that a lawsuit is in order. However, those are the exception to the rule. Most of these passengers will not have those kinds of issues. They are simply attempting to cash in on the inconvenience.

These are the kinds of frivolous lawsuits that are making our society look foolish. Unless actual harm has been done, and I don’t mean they suffered “emotional distress” due to using the bathroom in a bag temporarily, these lawsuits should be dismissed. Any of these suits that don’t include real harm to the passenger in some way, or proof that Carnival was negligent, should be dismissed and they should also lose the right to accept the additional compensation offered by Carnival. We need to reverse the trend of being such a greedy and litigious society. It is deteriorating our social interactions and the ability of companies to provide reasonable services and costs. The media needs to stop fueling this fire with articles such as Time’s Is $500 Enough for Enduring the Cruise from Hell? My kudos to Kirk Draut for standing up and telling the truth about the situation.

Read my first two articles about the Carnival Triumph and the response:

Carnival’s Response to the Triumph Incident Shows Commitment to Customer Experience

Carnival Triumph Past Guests Raise Questions About Previous Mechanical Failures

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