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I’ve spent time over the past three days reading Carnival’s official Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Carnival?sid=0.6141771394759417

When all hell was breaking loose on Thursday night, I thought Carnival had an organized team of posers.  But the more I read this dialogue — a debate that’s not slowing down — I realize a LOT of people love Carnival and will continue to stand up for Carnival in a way I thought was reserved for religious and political beliefs, with the passion some of us have for our favorite football team.

I realize Carnival has managed the postings to keep some of the naysayers at bay — but it’s not all sugar-coated.  There’s a real fact-based (and perception-based) argument going on here, with hundreds of participants.

And the ones who love Carnival are shouting the loudest.

It’s a good match to watch in this off-season for American football.

This has been a fascinating evening.  I’ve been watching CNN and following the Twitter feed and Facebook page of Carnival Cruise Lines: https://www.facebook.com/Carnival?sid=0.5826209932565689

It reminds me of that line that Hal Holbrook’s character says to Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen):

Man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.

I’m watching a brand react in real time in a way that could never happen in a pre-social-media world. The Carnival Facebook page is a jousting match tonight.  Thousands are commenting. Some are eloquently applauding Carnival.  Some are accusing Carnival of deleting negative posts (I tested it — it’s true).

Carnival Bathrobes

Look at the bright side, passenger.  You got a free bathrobe out of this deal.

Carnival is looking into the abyss tonight.  What’s staring back is a mix of condemnation and praise. More praise than I expected.  I’ve been on a Carnival cruise — one that didn’t have any special problems — and I was not impressed.  But clearly there are some die-hard Carnival brand advocates.  Just what a brand needs on a dark night like this.