Its one thing for Scared Monkeys or another cruise line watch-guard group rails on the cruise industry for its putting profits ahead of safety and sanitary conditions. or the fact that so many missing persons cases and crimes aboard cruise ships have gone unsolved and unreported. However, when travel columnist Joel Widster writes a story like this it should really make the cruise industry stand up and take notice: Take a cruise? No thanks, not me. ‘Potential of disease, accident, crime enough to keep columnist off high seas’. This is hardly a glowing commentary for the cruise line industry. In fact, it is a endorsement to never step foot on a cruise ship.
But after the recent rash of stories about such cruise-industry problems as noroviruses, missing passengers, pirates and sinkings, I think my chances of taking a cruise are now slim to none.
Am I being too hard on the cruise industry? Are the stories all overblown? I don’t think so. In fact, I think my landlubber resolve is well warranted. I am concerned about both health and safety aboard ship. I also think cruising is costly, inconvenient and environmentally unfriendly. (MSNBC)
Joel Widster refers to cruise ships as bacterial filled tubs as the noroviruses appear to to popping up too frequently and the conditions on cruise ships make it that much more commonplace. Check on the web site that tracks illnesses aboard cruise ships.
… cruise ships are frequently affected by outbreaks of norovirus because they dock in countries where sanitation can be poor and because the tight quarters aboard ship facilitate transmission of the virus. Further, the boarding of “new and susceptible passengers every 1 or 2 weeks” creates a condition where the disease can be sustained over successive cruises; in fact, the CDC says that outbreaks extending beyond 12 successive cruises have been reported.
George Smith, the missing honeymooner, aboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise in 2005 also gets a mention in this article. The number of missing persons and crimes aboard cruise ships is staggering.
Another pressing but often unreported problem is the rising incidence of sexual assault on board cruise ships. During a March 2007 Congressional hearing, Professor Ross Klein of Memorial University of Newfoundland, who monitors the cruise industry, used the industry’s own numbers to demonstrate that cruise passengers may have a 50 percent greater chance of being sexually assaulted aboard ship than on land. According to the International Cruise Victims Organization, many incidents of shipboard sexual assault go unreported because passengers “often feel alone and frustrated by the jurisdictional uncertainties and poor treatment by cruise companies.”
Update: Isn’t this priceless … Royal Caribbean is blaming their passengers for norovirus. So much for the customer always being right. In Royal Caribbean’s case … the customer is always to blame. There’s a nice PR slogan.
Royal Caribbean’s new Liberty of the Seas will dock at the Port of Miami Saturday with sick passengers on board.
Since the ship set sail on its Caribbean vacation last Saturday, 172 of the ship’s 3,846 guests and 10 of its 1,425 crew members have experienced the illness, thought to be a Norovirus brought onboard by a guest previously exposed to it.
A spokesperson from Royal Caribbean said those “affected by the short-lived illness responded well to over-the-counter medication administered onboard the ship.” (Local 10)
(Hat tip: RR)