In the news:
Carnival Triumph to cruise again in June after repairs, upgrades
Cruise ship was overhauled after being adrift for days in the Gulf of Mexico with more than 4,000 miserable passengers and crew aboard.
Misadventures at sea are rare, but Carnival’s travails serve as a reminder that with cruises, as with flights or, really, any kind of travel, things can go wrong, and it’s good to be prepared. Regardless of how you travel, here are just a few things you can do to make sure that if something does go wrong — whether it’s being stuck in an airport, on a ship or in a hotel that’s suddenly been quarantined because of a flu outbreak — you’ll be in better shape to cope:
1. Take along more doses of your medication than you expect to need. It’s a weeklong trip? Take two weeks worth of meds.
2. You’ve provided for the baby-sitting of your kids for the length of your trip. Have a backup plan in case you don’t get home on time.
3. If, instead, you took your still-in-diapers child along with you, make sure you take along more diapers than you think you’ll need. (You do this everywhere you take your baby, right? Because you should.)
4. It doesn’t hurt to throw a handful of granola bars into your carry-on for a rainy day. Same goes for a few bottles of water, within the rules of whatever mode of transportation you’re taking.
5. Have more than one means of communicating. Take your phone along with a Wi-Fi device that allows faster typing than a phone. If you’re on a ship, keep your phone in airplane mode while you’re onboard to avoid enormous roaming charges, but if you’re in a bad way and need to enable your phone, you’ll have it. Charge your devices every chance you get.
6. Bring a couple of books (or fill your electronic reader with books; their charge typically lasts for days), and take along a deck of cards.
7. Bring hand sanitizer, a tiny flashlight, a small first-aid kit and antacids. This is just smart packing for any trip, let alone one that could leave you adrift a sea.
Helen Anders / Cox News
Four months after an engine fire left it adrift in misery for days, Carnival Triumph is scheduled to return to sea on June 3. First, though, it’s going to have to be treated for a gash in its starboard aft side.
It’s as though this ship were cursed. A few weeks ago, hurricane-force winds hit Mobile, Ala., tearing the Triumph off its moorings and ripping its side. A rigging worker fell into the water and died.
Triumph, which first sailed in 1999, was in Mobile for a Carnival fleetwide comprehensive overhaul “bolstering these ships’ emergency generator power capabilities, strengthening protections surrounding key electrical systems and rerouting electrical cabling to provide greater protection and help ensure power redundancy,” according to Carnival spokeswoman Aly Bello.
The overhaul follows February’s Triumph episode — which left passengers without working toilets, lights, hot water, elevators, air conditioning and the usual vast array of food — and propulsion problems experienced by several other Carnival ships.
Carnival, whose prices are among the industry’s lowest, has long been popular with budget travelers. Some travel agents say it still is, especially with discounts up to 40 percent following the recent misadventures.
Carnival wouldn’t talk about booking numbers but did forward a copy of its March first-quarter report, in which its chairman, Micky Arison, notes, “Despite considerable attention surrounding the Carnival Triumph, we had been encouraged to see booking volumes for Carnival Cruise Lines recover significantly in recent weeks,” crediting the bookings to “attractive pricing promotions, combined with strong support from the travel agent community and consumers. ...”