The first question that came to my mind when I heard about the Great Carnival Cruise Catastrophe, was “My God, how are these people going to survive?!?!”
Imagine, 4500 people captive on a 1000-foot ship 44 miles from the California coast with absolutely no electricity. No heated pool. No ice for their drinks. No tanning booths. No slot machines. No karaoke. The problem occurred when a fire broke out in the engine room, cutting off all power.
Stranded victims of were forced to eat SPAM, pop tarts and canned crab, and bump around their staterooms with only a cold flashlight for comfort. For entertainment, passengers of the crippled cruise ship resorted to card games and sing-a-longs. Fortunately, fears of a cholera outbreak were finally quelled when the mammoth minds of the Carnival engineering team figured out how to keep the toilets running. And unlike the Apollo 13 engineers, they apparently did not have to use duct tape.
Not surprisingly, the sheer size of this calamity caught the world’s attention. CNN, MSNBC and FOX airdropped in reporters - giving us the kind of 24-hour coverage we have come to expect with major calamities occur. Heart wrenching footage of sweat drenched tourists pleading to the world for help filled the airwaves. Charities took up collections for victims and their families, as well as any clothes ruined by over perspiration. Lines of people began to form at the San Diego terminal where the boat, now being tugged by four courageous tug boat crews, was slowly making its way back to shore at a painstaking four miles per hour.
These poor, poor people. Caught in a nightmare that was utterly unpredictable. This was no Chilean Mine Disaster, where people inured to hardship knowingly descended dank, dark, and dangerous mine shafts, These were people pampered by luxury, unwilling if not unable to fend for themselves. These were people who had come to have a good time. Nowhere in their contract was the threat of deprivation, starvation, warm milk and disease ever mentioned.
These were people who had trusts, not just trust.
Fortunately, the seventy two-hour ordeal has ended. Thursday morning the boat docked in San Diego to the cheers and tears of thousands of sympathetic citizens who had taken up vigil, eyes scanning the ocean for the familiar red and white logo of their beloved Carnival Cruise lines.
Will the victims of the Great Carnival Cruise Catastrophe suffer PTSD? Will they ever be able to get on a ship again? And perhaps most importantly, will there be a movie contract? Only time will tell. But with our support and prayers, we can hope. We can hope.