In September a 32-year-old mother named Paola Londono stepped off a cruise ship in Fort Lauderdale after a weeklong cruise in the Caribbean. Holding her own one-year-old baby, Paula approached the U.S. Customs inspection officer in the cruise terminal and handed him her declaration form. She had no idea that within minutes she would be wrongly arrested for prostitution - and held for 36 hours!
Six months earlier; police in Kissimmee, Florida, had arrested another woman with the same name for prostitution, however this other woman was of a different race, five inches taller and 40 pounds lighter and Paola the cruise passenger.
The arrest warrant states the actual criminal is 5'4" tall and weighs 125 pounds and is 27 years old. The 32-year-old Londono who was arrested is 4 foot 11, and weighs 165 pounds.
Londono was charged with prostitution, possession of heroin and other drug paraphernalia - solely because of the warrant from Kissimmee. She was not in possession of any illegal substances at the time of her arrest.
According to Broward County authorities, they had no choice but to make the arrest because the name and birth date on the arrest warrant matched. They later said that the arrest warrant had somehow recorded the wrong birth date and that it "just happened to be the same" as Paola's, the cruise passenger.
Making matters even worse for Paola, she had to spend more than 36 hours in jail because she was arrested on a Sunday proceeding a holiday weekend Monday. Offices for the keeping of official records were closed on Monday, and even though her attorney had possession of the real criminals mug shots and fingerprints he was helpless to get the young, innocent mother released.
10 Carnival Passengers Kicked Off for Fighting
Last August, ten people had their cruises terminated and were disembarked from the Carnival Dream during a port stop in Costa Maya, Mexico. All ten people were accused of brawling in the ship's dance club at 3:00 a.m. a previous evening. Another person chose to disembark with the ten people who were forced to leave the ship.
The brawl was reportedly due to a disagreement over which song the disc jockey should play next. There were men and women involved in the fight which spilled over into the art gallery located next door. Reports indicate that the team valued at $10,000 was ruined with splattered blood. There was also damage to several flat screen televisions.
Reports say that people on the ground were being kicked in the head by men and women. One person was reportedly knocked unconscious and required assistance from the ship staff to be revived. Carnival says that it assisted the eleven people in making flight arrangements to get home.
Elderly Couple Asked to Leave Queen Mary 2
Along the same lines, the upper crust cruise line Cunard made the tough decision to terminate the cruise of an 82-year-old woman and her 91-year-old husband. Gloria and Frederick Evans claim they were treated "terribly" by the cruise line.
The elderly couple were dining in the Queen's grill, the top restaurant on board the ship, when an unidentified table mate told Gloria to "shut up" and added "there are too many [expletive deleted] Jews on this ship."
Gloria, who is Jewish, claims to have responded with a strong expletive herself. However the surprise was on Gloria the next day when Commodore Bernard Warner, captain of the Queen Mary 2, asked Gloria and her husband to leave the ship when it reached Quebec the following day.
After deliberation the captain allowed the couple to remain onboard for six additional days - until the ship reached New York City - as long as the couple agreed to remain confined to their cabin. But, in fact the couple was denied a transatlantic voyage and Mediterranean cruise they had already booked and paid for following the New York port of call.
While many outsiders protested to the cruise line that the couple was only responding to the rude statements of their tablemate and had every right to defend their faith, CEO and chief shareholder of Carnival Corp, Micky Arison (himself the son of an Israeli immigrant) later stated that the couple had "engaged in multiple incidents of disrespectful and disruptive behavior towards crewmembers and other guests" and that he fully backed the captain's decision.
The couple was refunded a mere $869, which the cruise line described as "the application of normal cancellation fees."
Man Arrested for Releasing Ships Anchor
Rick Ehlert, a 44 year old California man, was cruising out of Tampa on the Holland America Ryndam last November. Late at night, after several hours of drinking, Ehlert entered a restricted area at the bow of the ship and released the ship's anchor. Apparently, Ehlert, who is an amateur yachtsman, he recognized the simple latch that held the anchor in place and he just decided to let it go to see what would happen.
The ship was fully underway in open sea at the time, and had the anchor caught onto the sea floor in such conditions the amount of damage done to the ship could have been extreme. Fortunately, no damage was done, however the action was described as extremely dangerous and reckless behavior by the cruise line.
Ehlert remain anonymous and was not charged until the FBI had a chance to review surveillance footage of the incident. He also admitted to throwing a life ring overboard, apparently "just for fun". Now Ehlert faces a possible 20 years in prison for endangering the lives of the passengers onboard the ship.
What if You Throw a Cougar's Cruise and Nobody Comes?
Carnival Cruise Lines agreed to book a group for a singles cruise company hoping to capture the "Cougar" audience. Cougars are older ladies who "prefer the company of younger men" also known as "cubs." The term cougar has become more popular lately as older women dating younger men has become more common. The first Cougar Cruise was scheduled aboard a three cruise from San Diego to Ensenada onboard Carnival Elation. The group was only 300 people on a ship that has a passenger capacity of 2052.
The cruise went ahead as scheduled, but soon after Carnival announced it would not be hosting any more Cougar Cruises. The line canceled the second Cougar cruise it had already scheduled, but did not reveal the reason why.
As details slowly emerged it appears that the problem was too many cubs and not enough cougars (although this has not been officially verified by anyone connected with the group or the cruise line).
It rarely happens, but there must have been an over-abundance of single young men onboard this cruise - and they were there for one reason only. While we don't know exactly what happened, our guess is that these men propositioned just about every lady of every age in sight. The problem is that these cruise novices probably did not know that most cruises are comprised of happily married couples and families. We think Carnival receivedreceived a number of complaints from these innocent and unsuspecting bystanders innocently exposed to the "Cougar" lifestyle.
After Carnival canceled Cougar Cruise Two, both Royal Caribbean and NCL announced they would be happy to host Cougar's cruises on their ships. So Cougar Cruise Two was held in May on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas and the third sailed aboard NCL's Norwegian Sky in late November.
The second and third Cougar's Cruises did not receive nearly the same amount of media hoopla as the original, so we are guessing the once rules got a lot, uh, stiffer and the media became a lot more blasé.
Above is another good story about a couple who had wedding plans on a Carnival ship in port. The boarding was delayed by a bomb scare, then the party wasw allowed to board at 4:30 - then they were asked to leave immediately because the ship had to sail.
The exchanged vows in 6 minutes and went to the buffet - which was set up at a lifeboat station.
The lifeboat drill started and passengers all came to their station in their life vest - saw the wedding buffet and started eating.
The couple is still not satisfied that Carnival has made the incident right.