Man Who Went Overboard ... Speaks!

March 22, 2007

Cruise Critic Readers Respond to Carnival Jumper

Carnival Jumper Keeping Quiet About Ordeal

Glory Passenger Went Overboard After Argument

Carnival Glory Passenger Rescued After Going Overboard

It took a national network morning program to spur Michael Mankamyer, the elusive Carnival Glory jumper, to discuss his most unusual experience -- going overboard from the ship last week and surviving to tell the tale. And so he did, appearing in a taped segment on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" this morning.

Editor's note: One bright spot for Carnival Cruise Lines this morning has to be the fact that, in a promo for the segment, "GMA" graphic artists used a clearly defined ship from Royal Caribbean's Sovereign class! (The image top right is the real deal.)

Indeed, "GMA"'s promo -- "'the miracle man' who spent eight hours in the open water and lived to tell the tale" -- promised some juicy details. Did it deliver?

Well if you wanted to find out how Mankamyer got overboard, you'll be disappointed. The piece does explain how he got inebriated, saying that the passenger boarded Carnival Glory "ready to let loose and party and did just that." According to Mankamyer's interview with "GMA"'s Chris Cuomo, the guy ordered some beer from room service. "I don't remember much after that. The alcohol took over from my medication and I blacked out."

Which medication he was taking was not specified.

Next thing he knew, "I remember being in the ocean and the waves were up and down. I was looking for a boat, a helicopter, just anything.

"I wanted to get out of the water, wanted to go home," he adds. "I was looking for dolphins more than anything. I was hoping a dolphin would save me." It wasn't a dolphin that saved him, alas, just officers and crew from a U.S. Coast Guard vessel. On its last sweep of the area, some eight hours after Mankamyer was reported missing, one of its officers spotted Mankamyer's head poking out of the water: "a man is located off my port bow!"

And so the miracle of his survival took place. Said Mankamyer in conclusion, I will "take every day and make the best out of it, and enjoy the rest of my life cause it's a miracle I'm still here today."

And so ends a tale "of survival that never needed to happen," intoned "GMA."

We certainly hope so.

The funnier side of the telecast was in the story's numerous inaccuracies, which went beyond the aforementioned promo showing a ship from a different cruise line. First, Cuomo's comment that "a wrong turn means going overboard" was a bit disingenuous as everyone who has ever cruised, especially on ships built in the past decade that fulfill ever more stringent safety requirements, knows that you can’t just take a wrong turn and, er, fall overboard.

As well, we still can't figure out where they got the inspiration for a bizarre visual graphic showing how Mankamyer fell overboard. Reports Teijo Niemela, editor of Cruise Business Review and a Cruise Critic contributor, "it was completely wrong -- showing the guy falling off the promenade deck of a Carnival Spirit-class ship instead of a balcony on Carnival Glory, which belongs to the line's family of Conquest-class ships."

Even worse, the noted ship expert adds, is that "ABC shows a graphic of Azipods. Why? Carnival Glory has none."

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor