According to numerous sources, including a Carnival Cruise Lines spokeswoman, along with folks who were onboard, the announcement, which was made at 3:45 a.m., was a prank. At least one passenger (possibly more) had obtained access to an off-limits area of the ship that contained Carnival Miracle’s public address system. That area is normally locked -- but was, as was also normal, unoccupied at the time.
Some passengers actually did quickly don life vests and report to muster stations before the captain made an announcement that the preceding order was a hoax. Carnival Miracle docked, as scheduled, in New York later that morning. The perpetrators were not discovered.