Security Breach Delays Carnival’s Holiday

May 7, 2003

Carnival’s Holiday, slated to depart New Orleans Monday for a 5-day Western Caribbean voyage, instead spent the night at the dock as a result of not one but, apparently, three screening lapses. In the first instance, an off-duty police officer had forgotten he had a handgun in his luggage. He proactively reported that to a Coast Guard official, and, indeed, the gun was found in his suitcase. In a second incident, four bullets were found in a corridor; testing revealed they were in no way connected to the off duty officer’s handgun. And, in yet another incident on what must have been a bizarre day altogether, a third passenger came forward and told authorities his father, a hunter, had a suitcase which inadvertently contained ammunition.
In all three cases, those suitcases containing the handgun and the ammunition made it past security screeners. According to a statement from Carnival, “The weapon is believed to have passed through security due to human error on the part of a security screener. “
For other passengers, the incidences involved a handful of inconveniences beyond having to miss a day of sailing. The Carnival statement says that An exhaustive effort was made to determine the source of the bullets. When that effort proved unsuccessful, it was determined that it would be necessary to completely re-screen all guests and luggage. During the course of the investigation, another guest self-reported having one bullet in his luggage -- also believed to have been brought on board unintentionally.
“Guests were advised to pack their belongings, disembark and go through the screening process again.”
As a result of the one-day delay, one port – Playa del Carmen – was scratched. Some passengers opted not to continue with the trip and were given refunds. Those who stayed were given $100 in onboard credit and a 25-percent-off certificate for a future Carnival cruise.
The ship finally did depart New Orleans yesterday afternoon.