Living on the Hudson river, staring over into Manhattan, I see cruises docked near the Intrepid and leaving regularly. I won’t lie, I’ve fantasized about being on one. Watching people the size of ants waving from the top deck harkens back to romantic images of vacationing in a time gone by….if only I could join them.
Well, increasingly it seems, the answer is I (and maybe a lot of people) may not want to join them. The cruise industry has a problem, and they don’t to talk about it (or want us to know about it for that matter). Consider the excerpt from James Walker’s story from CNN below:
The cruise lines operate their ships virtually 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. Cruise ships do not make money unless they are operating. The cruise lines push the ships just as hard as they push their crew members. A ship out of service for a week for routine maintenance means the loss of tens of millions of dollars and thousands of dissatisfied customers.
It is in this environment that the 13-year-old Carnival Triumph was trying to sail back to Galveston.
Walker claims cruise ship fires are actually a lot more common than the industry would like to acknowledge. Operating in non-stop conditions with poorly paid workers doesn’t exactly help the situation. As I write this over 3,000 people are being hauled back to shore on what is essentially a listing deathtrap. Anything from bad weather, to a leak, could make the situation life threatening in a instant, not to mention the food and sanitary situation.
It’s time for the cruise industry to recognize they have a problem, before a tragedy truly happens.