COMMENTARY | While I dream of seeing the world, that dream, if not explicitly, at least in an implied way, includes functioning toilets. I suspect that the passengers aboard the Carnival Dream felt much the same.
Despite the folksy wisdom that the safest time to buy tickets on a cruise would be right after the Carnival Triumph’s defeat in the battle against floors reportedly covered in waste, it seems that wisdom has not borne out. The reasoning was that, since it had just happened, it was very unlikely it would happen again.
This new incident comes days after Carnival’s CEO announced the company would inspect all ships after the Triumph disaster. Why the ships were not inspected immediately when one was disabled, stranding passengers for days, reportedly without access to toilets or the ability to bathe, is anyone’s guess. My guess starts with an “m” and ends with an “oney.”
Inspection would probably require great disruption for Carnival’s schedule, where it seems as soon as one ship returns, it’s cleaned and loaded for the next cruise. Dream’s next cruise was to start Saturday, had the cruise finished as scheduled. That next cruise was canceled.
Reports CNN, the passengers aboard the Dream will receive a refund for a third of the cost of their cruise and a voucher for half-off a future cruise, if they dare take one. They will be flown to Florida from St. Maarten.
Before we go any further, I have to note that it might be time for Carnival to rethink the names of its ships. “Triumph” and “Dream” seem a little too tempting for that imp named irony.
I’m probably not a cruise person, as appealing as Flo Rida’s music makes them seem in the Royal Caribbean ad. The idea of being trapped with thousands of strangers in a floating hotel you cannot leave makes me claustrophobic, despite the unthinkable size of the ships. I don’t gamble, I’m not much of a drinker, and if there’s a norovirus on board, it’ll find me.
But different people are different, and for millions of people, cruises are a fun way to travel, to get to a variety of places and have a good time in the going. Even so, I’m fairly certain, even for the firmest cruise enthusiast, that any time at sea or port in which you have overflowing toilets is probably going to taint the whole experience.
I think Carnival can do better than a third off the cruise, let alone the voucher, which requires that the people already stranded on one vessel board another at another date to make up for it. And not even for free — they’d still have to pay the other 50 percent.
You are not going to remember the cruise that ended with a disabled ship fondly. Any fun you may have had, I would say, prior to that point would be nullified. It doesn’t just ruin the third leg of your vacation; it ruins your entire vacation.
Through it all, Carnival has maintained an air that is pretty much a shrug, a sense of “Whatcha gonna do? It happens.”
It shouldn’t happen, especially after the incident with the Triumph. You’re entrusting the cruise line with your health and safety, and it should be taking that responsibility far more seriously.