Tent city: The deck of the disabled Carnival Triumph is covered in sheets to protect passengers from the sun. *Photo by creative commons by scott L
Tent city: The deck of the disabled Carnival Triumph is covered in sheets to protect passengers from the sun. *Photo by creative commons by scott L

Carnival Triumph dominated the travel news last week after a fire disabled the vessel and it took five days to limp into port.

Some in the media played it up as a tragedy, which was stretching it a bit. That’s not to downplay the horrible conditions onboard after an engine fire left it dead in the water with little electricity, but no one lost their life — this was no Costa Concordia.

While many cruises workout as planned, there are plenty that have bumps and shifts to them.

I’ve been on three cruises that have come across people in tiny boats/rafts trying to cross the Caribbean. Twice we had to wait for a US Coast Guard vessel to show up. And last year on Oasis of the Seas, we stayed near a vessel containing more than 20 Cuban refugees for over four hours before bringing them on board to deposit them in Cozumel.

One of my first cruises was on a Carnival ship that had to sit and circle another Carnival ship which had lost power until help arrived for the other vessel.

I’ve also had the itinerary change as a hurricane made a port unavailable for use. 

Quite often the cruise lines give some sort of alcoholic compensation like free drinks for everyone.

The fire-stricken Triumph’s passengers were offered $500 per person, future cruise credit, a full refund for this trip, plus hotel and travel expenses to get back to their homes.

There will be a full range of people who are more than happy with that and those who sue for a multitude of money for all the pain and suffering they experienced.


United to Toronto

As a follow up to last week’s column on Air Canada cutting back to three days a week, an alert reader pointed out that United Airlines offers a $374 ticket for the same May time frame.

The flight time isn’t half bad for a non-direct flight either as it leaves Bermuda at 3:55pm landing in Newark at 5:32pm for a 6:30pm connector to Toronto, which arrives at 8:17pm.



The rental car company is offering $15 off a weekly rate (five or more days) that includes a Saturday overnight. You have to book by March 23 to get the special deal.



Between now and May 15 members of AirTran’s A+ Rewards programme will earn double credits for eligible AirTran flights booked on AirTran (on the web or by phone).

You’ll have to register to be eligible for the deal, but it applies to all routes. If you use AirTran this is a great way to rack up a free trip faster.


More on the merger

Now that US Airways and American Airlines are betrothed (or is it more like a shotgun wedding considering the bankruptcy proceedings hanging over AA’s head?), it will probably be close to two years before they are completely merged into one airline.

It took United and Continental 22 months after the merger closed to combine their frequent flier programmes.

And we’re staying waiting on the Southwest-AirTran merger to reach the point where the Southwest Airlines brand is the only one remaining.