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The Triumph was disabled during a February cruise by an engine room fire in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving thousands of passengers to endure cold food, unsanitary conditions and power outages while the ship was towed to Mobile, Ala. It remained there for repairs until early May when it headed back to sea under its own power.
Fran Golden, a blogger for the cruise magazine Porthole, said the two incidents are different.
"I think it’s easier to make people happy when they’re not stuck on a ship for four days without toilets," she said.
Still, she applauded Royal Caribbean’s public relations efforts after the fire. She said sending CEO Goldstein to meet with passengers was a "brilliant move." The company also Tweeted a picture of one meeting.
"It shows that you’re a responsible company. It shows that you care. It’s not just, ‘oh well, this incident happened,’" she said. She noted that the head of Royal Caribbean’s Azamara Club Cruises line, Larry Pimentel, also met with passengers in early 2012 after a fire aboard the Azamara Quest disabled one of its engines during a cruise in Asia.
Mike Driscoll, editor of the Illinois-based publication Cruise Week, said Royal Caribbean had the benefit of hindsight and could use lessons from the recent Triumph fire in its response. He said company took charge of the response on social media, sending out photos and updates. He likened it to the company saying, "Hey, we’re not hiding anything."
Associated Press writers Kasey Jones in Baltimore and Jessica Gresko in Washington contributed to this report. Jeff Todd reported from Nassau, Bahamas.
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