With Carnival Splendor safely in port in San Diego, and investigators beginning their efforts to discover the cause of the fire which crippled the cruise ship, first-hand reports of the three-day ordeal are now beginning to appear.
Passenger Bob Flynn – a retired Chicago cop – tells Cruise Critic that it was all a bit of an adventure. In what may be one of the understatements of the year, he accepts “it was a bit inconvenient,” and goes on to say that he would not hesitate to take another cruise with Carnival.
His highest praise is reserved for Senior Cruise Director John Heald, who “did an excellent job of keeping the passengers and crew informed and calm.”
“I realise the importance of a level-headed and strong leader in any emergency situation,” says Flynn. “Mr Heald took the reins and prevented panic. His humour during announcements kept us laughing and in good spirits.”
Heald himself has begun relating his version of the events. It’s going to be a marathon. In almost 5,000 words, split between three separate posts, we’ve got through the first hour or so of the crisis, and there’s a lot more to come.
As John promises, “The following is going to be my honest and open account of what happened. It will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth because that is what I always write here and this particular blog thingy must be no different. And besides, that is what our President and CEO Gerry Cahill told me to write when I met with him today.”
I for one will be gripped by every irreverent word. Especially with cliff-hangers like this at the end of Part One: “I looked at Captain
And in more serious vein, when he describes the moment when the gravity of the situation dawned on him: “Obviously this incident is, as I write, under investigation by a team of beards What I can tell you is that when I first heard the word fire it was because one of the fire teams had seen some electrical cabling was on fire, and that was not good news at all.
“It was then that I suddenly realised something which should have been obvious from the moment I walked on the bridge. We were dead in the water. There was no air conditioning, no lights and now no elevators.
“It didn’t take Mr. Scott (Star Trek reference) to realise that there was no power on board. This was getting very serious indeed . . . ”
There will be plenty more where that came from. And after his sterling performance over the past few days and the universal praise from all involved, I’m wondering what’s next for John – who is from Essex, where his wife Heidi and 18-month-old daughter Kye are waiting anxiously for him.
A Congressional Gold Medal, perhaps, from the US government? An OBE from the Queen? From what I have heard so far, he deserves both. Not to mention a hefty bonus from Mr Cahill.