Carnival Cruise Line Clarifies Treatment of Those Rescued at Sea

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In response to guest concerns, Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald has explained exactly how anyone unexpectedly rescued at sea is treated once they are aboard a Carnival cruise ship.

Furthermore, Heald stresses that the safety of life at sea is not only maritime law, but a guiding principle of Carnival Cruise Line.

Unexpected Reaction to At-Sea Rescues

Just days ago, Carnival Paradise rescued 27 refugees in distress near Cuba, ensuring that all individuals were safely brought aboard the cruise ship, their immediate needs tended to, and the proper authorities notified.

These types of rescues are not frequent, but are also not uncommon, and cruise ship crews are often praised for their commitment to safeguarding life at sea and rendering such aid. In fact, earlier this month, the captain and crew of Carnival’s Mardi Gras were honored for such a rescue in treacherous weather in 2022.

Not everyone, however, is pleased with such rescues, as Carnival Cruise Line’s Brand Ambassador John Heald has discovered as guests have reacted to such incidents with less-than-impressed comments on his Facebook page.

While most reactions were positive and praised the team aboard Carnival Paradise for their life-saving actions, others were critical of the decision, indicating that refugees should not be welcomed aboard or even assisted.

While Heald has been subjected to similar comments in the past, the number of comments and the unkindness of the reactions have prompted him to explain and clarify how cruise ships react to these incidents.

“It is maritime law that we rescue people in peril on the sea. That’s the first thing,” Heald explained.

John Heald
John Heald

When a small craft is noticed in distress, a cruise ship will immediately slow, turn, and stop to render assistance. This might involve providing supplies such as fuel, food, or water, or else bringing the occupants aboard the cruise ship if their craft is not seaworthy or the situation is dire.

“There are stringent and well-practiced safety and security protocols when these rescues are carried out,” Heald emphasized.

“The refugees are not allowed anywhere but the medical centre and an area on a crew deck where they are always under watch from our Security team. They are not allowed to be in any guest areas, obviously, and all security and medical precautions are undertaken before they are handed over to United States Coast Guard.”

This should dispel the idea that any refugees get a “free cruise” once rescued. While they are cared for, they do not have access to all the ship’s amenities, do not enjoy the nightly entertainment, and are not permitted to explore the ship freely.

What Would Cruisers Do?

Heald does implore guests to consider a different situation, such as if they were a ship’s captain and saw a group of refugees in distress, calling and signaling for help. Would it be so easy to leave them behind, knowing they would not survive much longer?

“Carnival Cruise Line will always help all people of all nations who need lifesaving rescue at sea. We are true to that principle and that will never change,” Heald said.

Carnival Paradise Rescue
Carnival Paradise Rescue (Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line)

These sentiments are sure to be held by other cruise lines as well, as all cruise lines respond immediately to any distress and offer assistance to small craft in need.

Read Also: All Carnival Cruise Ships by Age – Newest to Oldest

Cruise travelers should note that at every port of call, they are welcomed into a foreign country with the best of hospitality from a different culture. How would it feel to have a cruise ship in terrible distress turned away from a port, risking lives with help within reach, but refused?

Kindness is always welcome, and while stopping for a refugee rescue might be a very minor delay or inconvenience on a cruise vacation, the saving of life is always worthwhile.

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