By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
A document nutty with journalistic potential crossed our desk last week. In mid-April, a Florida woman — due to the sensitive nature of this topic, we'll just call her Consuela — sent a complaint to Carnival Cruise Lines' Doral headquarters documenting the nasty saga that was her group's recent trip aboard the ship called Legend.
Two days in, "we recognized a horrible smell coming from our cabin," Consuela wrote, "but couldn't figure out what it was."
Within four days, the cabin's carpet was "soaked" and the sewage smell was "atrocious." Worse yet, her luggage under her bunk, containing clothes and gifts, was also marinated in the stinky liquid.
Carnival employees refused to move Consuela's crew to another cabin, claiming there was none available. They offered to launder her soaked clothes, she says, placed an industrial fan in the cabin for two days to try to dry the carpet, and gave her a $23 discount for her inconvenience. "Because they would not accommodate us," Consuela wrote with indignation, "we had to smell sewage and walk on wet carpet, and my luggage was soaked with this nastiness. Not to mention Saturday, the day before the cruise was finished, the toilets were all backed up with feces and urine."
It's not the first time Carnival Corporation — helmed by CEO Micky Arison, owner of the Miami Heat — has been accused of sweeping poop under the rug. If Internet reviews are any indication, the ship Dream is notorious for its pungent aroma. Writes "Bigbob75" in a charitable tone: "Sometimes it's deadly (kind of almost knocks you off your feet), sometimes it's a faint odor that is not pleasant but not that bad." And the headline of a 2008 article on blog Consumerist sort of says it all: "Carnival Ignores Sewage Stench, Tells Passengers to do the Same."
Riptide tried to get to the bottom of Consuela's dilemma, but nobody in Carnival's media relations office responded. Maybe they were in the back room busy plunging toilets.