Cruising into the Headlines – and not in an entirely good way

By now, most people have heard of the Carnival Cruise Triumph’s not so triumphant engine failure in the Gulf of Mexico.

(If you haven’t heard the story, check out the Huffington Post’s article from February 12th about the cruise ship that was  slowly pulled towards shore with over 4,000 passengers. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/12/carnival-triumph-cruise-ship-adrift-towed-alabama_n_2669698.html?utm_hp_ref=world)

In 2012, the Costa Cruise ship Concordia hit some underwater rocks off the coast of Italy. While a bump might be minor, the ship ended up tilting over, completely on its side. More than thirty people died and most of the 4,200 riders were traumatically affected.

Is Carnival, the parent company also for Costa Cruise, to be held at blame for these two examples of major cruise ship failures? Or are people taking on risks when they travel on a massive ship?

“Any given day in excess of 300,000 people are on board our ships, being safely carried to various locations throughout the world,” said Michael Crye, executive vice president of the Cruise Line International Association (source: What caused the Concordia disaster?)

On a cruise, traveling is part of the experience. You can relax on deck while reading a book or swim in an on-board pool. After eating dinner, you could watch a comedy show or go gambling at a casino on board. Depending on the location of the cruise, you could have a day trip to explore Venice, Italy or Progreso, Mexico. The idea is that everything you would need or want to do is on your ship.

Different ships offer tailored itineraries and venues. As this article explains, some cruises are specifically tailored towards young families, honeymooners, or retired adventurers. http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/cruise1.htm

Just like any other event or mode of transportation that has high amounts of people in small spaces, things can happen. A passenger could sneeze on a seat, you put your hand down as you sit down and voila! – you have someone else’s germs. If one passenger gets sick with the stomach flu and is in close contact with others, then it too can easily spread. (This is part of what the Triumph is currently experiencing.)

What about “modern advances” in technology? Statistically, people spend more time in a car than on cruise ships (unless you work on one). This means that you would have a higher percentage of getting into a car accident than you would on a ship. Technology is great but it is made by humans, which means it too can fail. In the past two years, only two cruise ships have been in major news for engine failure – the Triumph and the Splendor.

The Triumph’s story will make it an infamous ship and probably will not help Carnival’s hope to have a positive spotlight in the media headlines. However, as the FoxNews article below points out, it is too soon to tell if prices for cruises will decrease in the immediate future.

To read more:

* Viewing the status of the cruise industry post-Triumph’s disaster. http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2013/02/20/state-cruise-industry/

Problems that Carnival Splendor have faced, including an incident where it had to be towed. http://www.dailynews.com/ci_22370837/carnival-cruise-ship-damaged-by-fishing-nets-off?source=most_emailed

* What caused the Concordia disaster? http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/15/world/europe/italy-cruise-questions

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