You know that nightmare cruise on the Carnival ship of horrors that was finally towed into Mobile with a boatload of malfunctions? Power down? Food scarce and awful?* Toilets clogged? Shower conditions ranging from hideous to none?
“It’s like being locked in a Porta Potty for days,” Dr. Peter Cass, a physician from Beaumont, Tex., told the New York Times. “We’ve lived through two hurricanes, and this is worse.”
None of that surprised me.
I once endured a horror cruise for the weekend (Los Angeles-Ensenada, Mexico round-trip) with a group of friends. It wasn't nearly as bad as what the 4,200 passengers experienced over five days on the Carnival Triumph, but it was a lesson nevertheless. After pulling out of L.A. in our Royal Caribbean vessel we soon learned that the lower decks had a persistent sewage smell that ship authorities would either deny or make excuses for -- different excuses at different times to different people. Apparently they figured passengers never talked to each other.
If you complained enough they would try to quiet you by sending a guy to your cabin to spray it with cheap perfume.
It seemed like everyone on the lower decks was trying to get a room change, but all the rooms were filled on our ship of sludge. Passengers were waving bribes at the desk people to no avail. None of this made the news.
It was my first and definitely last cruise so I don’t know how much drinking normally goes on, but during my Royal Caribbean catastrophe the booze intake was enormous. When the perfume solution didn’t work, lots of passengers figured they’d drink themselves to sleep at night to escape the smell.
Yes, that was an entirely different cruise line, and I imagine both Carnival and Royal Caribbean are at the lower end of the ocean liner luxury spectrum, but our experience was something you don’t easily forget. You learn the hard way what it means to set sail in one of those things. Once you leave the dock you are a captive to whatever conditions arise.
*Reminds me of the person who complained after a restaurant meal: “The food was like poison. And the portions, they were so small.”
Causes Ivan Goldman Supports
American Heart Association
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Beit T'Shuvah Recovery Program