2013 Digital PR Awards: Crisis Management

Winner: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. - Fire onboard Grandeur of the Seas

On Monday, May 27, 2013, at approximately 2:50 a.m. EST, Royal Caribbean International’s Grandeur of the Seas experienced a fire on deck 3, which burned for more than two hours. In an abundance of caution, the captain deemed it necessary to muster all guests at their assembly stations.

Once the fire was extinguished, the ship was diverted to Freeport, Bahamas, for further evaluation. Once in Freeport, guests were informed that the rest of their sailing would be canceled. The following day, the majority of guests were transported home on charter flights.

With objectives that included providing a steady stream of accurate information, leveraging social media to communicate, owning the conversation and limiting negative media coverage, Royal Caribbean got proactive.

Its actions included initiating the conversation on Twitter, and using it to provide all stakeholders with a regular stream of information; sending Royal Caribbean International’s president and CEO Adam Goldstein to Freeport to meet with guests on the ship; and posting photos of the damaged ship on Twitter and Facebook, allowing the company to take control of what visuals were public.

The images that Royal Caribbean shared via social and traditional channels became the most memorable images of the incident. A number of high-profile media outlets, including wire services like the Associated Press and Reuters, shared the photos and gave credit for the crisis response.

Much of the media coverage applauded Royal Caribbean’s decision to put the CEO front and center. Outlets such as the Huffington Post, NBC News, Travel Agent Central and ABC News included a photo from the visit or made mention of his efforts. The Associated Press used one of Royal Caribbean’s photos and included a third-party quote praising the company.

Shareholders and Wall Street analysts maintained overall confidence in the company after the fire in part because of the aggressive and transparent information campaign.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Airlines for America - Don’t Ground America
  • Edelman - Huggies Turns the Conversation Around: From “Boycott Huggies” to “Huggies Hears Us” in 24 hours
  • Edison Electric Institute - Electric Power Industry Response to Superstorm Sandy
  • Havas PR - Making a Difference for a Newtown Family
  • Pepco Holdings - Using Digital Communications to Help Turn Around the “Most Hated Company in America”

Comments Off

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Measurement Conference 

Media Relations ConferenceJoin PR News at the National Press Club on Dec. 11 for the Media Relations Conference, where you'll learn how to tie your media relations initiatives to business goals, use the right metrics to prove the success of your efforts, incorporate social media in a brand crisis and more.

Use code “150” at checkout to save $150 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Crisis Management Guidebook


Crisis management is an art, not a science. In this edition of PR News’ Book of Crisis Management Strategies & Tactics, you will discover many different views on this art, and you are certain to find takeaways that will transform the way your organization handles crises. 

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.