International Centre for Cruise Research
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Carranza, Gina R.
How international cruise lines restored their image after the 2002 Norwalk virus incident
M.A., University of the Pacific, 2003, 69 pages

The purpose of this study was to explore how three international cruise lines restored their reputation after the 2002 Norwalk virus incidents. The research was conducted as a case study using semi-structured interviews. Six individuals were interviewed. These included public relations representatives for three international cruise lines, the Center for Disease Control, a ship's Internet Manager and a ship's Cruise Director. All interviews were taped, subsequently transcribed, and analyzed for content and themes. Quotes were examined in terms of content and grouped according to similarity of themes.

The results revealed five categories. These included How Public Relations Differs on Land vs. at Sea, The Main Objective During a Public Relations Crisis, The Extent to Which the Situation was Handled, Terrorism and Whether the Cruise Lines were Treated Fairly. Similarities existed between the groups of respondents. Specifically, the public relations representatives responded similarly to questions relating to the main objective during a crisis and whether the cruise lines were treated fairly. Additionally, the respondents differed in their views of public relations on land vs. at sea.

The goal of this project was to look at the reputation management of international cruise lines since the 2002 Norwalk-like virus outbreaks. The research was intended to address the perspective held by the public relations departments within each studied organization.

In conclusion, analysis suggests there was an agreement among the subjects researched regarding the effect this public relations crisis has had on the industry. Conflicting views existed among the subjects in question regarding public relations on land vs. at sea. Communicating to the public and the media honestly, accurately, and in a timely manner were found to be essential aspects in managing the reputation of international cruise lines following an industry crisis.