Thursday, April 23, 2009

Carnival Prepares For Emergencies

We all know that when a hurricane sets its sights on South Florida, residents by and large follow instructions to pack up and evacuate to safety. With so many cruises leaving from Miami and other Florida ports, that sometimes means changes in ship itineraries, which might even include using a different port for embarkation and debarkation. You've probably seen the folks at the National Hurricane Center in Miami on television issuing storm updates and may have even wondered what happens at the cruise lines during emergency situations.

As part of Carnival’s comprehensive emergency preparedness plan, the company recently had a training session for nearly 400 employees on the various reservations and IT technology housed within a Mobile Recovery Unit situated adjacent to its Miami headquarters. The Mobile Recovery Unit (pictured here) includes 20 computer terminals and telephones which were linked directly to Carnival’s computerized reservations network. It was a seamless process as the company’s reservations and telephony systems software were made available via satellite within the Mobile Recovery Unit, allowing reservations personnel to take live bookings within the off-site center. The annual training exercise is part of Carnival’s wide-ranging contingency plan that would allow the company to continue operations in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.

When I asked Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen where the Mobile Recovery Unit would be sent in the event that a large scale evacuation of Miami was ordered, he responded, "As for hurricane preparedness, it really all depends on a case by case basis and the Mobile Recovery Unit can be deployed just about anywhere (it would also be deployed after the fact should we lose power at our offices, etc)." Additionally, Gulliksen reminded me that a Colorado Springs reservations center is part of the Carnival emergency response plan.

Remember, official hurricane season consumes a full six months of the year, from June 1st until November 30th. Cruise Diva shares what else can happen when you are Cruising Into Hurricane Season.

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