When taking a cruise, one thinks of being on a beautiful ship, sailing across the ocean to a great island or to some fantastic beaches. You may even think of going shopping or eating at a fancy restaurant in an exotic land. People spend thousands of dollars every year to take the vacation of a lifetime, with the all-inclusive trip aboard the Carnival Cruise Lines, where the food is to die for. Or they hop aboard Princess Cruises, trying to re-create what they think will be just like the Love Boat. But no one expects their dream vacation to end up like something right out of a Stephen King novel.
There is much talk about cruise ships needing tighter security, and to have the operators held accountable for what happens on each of the cruises. Passenger safety should be the first priority, but it seems as though there is not much (as far as change goes) improvement in the industry. While one is on a passenger ship, most of the time you are in the middle of the ocean or another sea, it is “international” waters, which means that there really is not a law that applies, since it isn't in one specific country. This makes it very difficult to apply laws to cruise ships.
5 Man Overboard!
Few people have gone “overboard” while cruising on an ocean liner. First of all, the only way for someone to actually fall is to be up somewhere they should not be in the first place. For instance, the windows in smaller cabins (or staterooms, as a lot of companies are calling them) do not open, and the ones that do, will not fit a normal-sized person through it. The cabins that have sliding-glass doors open up to a balcony, where a gate surrounds the area and is normally around four feet high and cave in, so it would be extremely difficult to just “fall” off of the balcony. Many people drink excessively while aboard a cruise ship, thereby losing sense of reality, direction and sometimes, common sense. There have been people who have jumped overboard, thinking that they would end it all, only to be rescued soon afterwards and heavily fined. There have also been those few people who either fell, jumped or were pushed, and never heard from again.
A man and a woman went aboard the Grand Princess that went into the Gulf of Mexico, back in 2007. A call to the Coast Guard at 2:30 in the morning reported that same couple had gone overboard and were missing. The 20-year olds had reportedly fallen off the giant ship that had just left Texas. It was very dark, as the waters surrounded the large vessel, and the night was very foggy, making it hard to do a search-and-rescue mission easily. The Coast Guard had sent out a helicopter to search for the couple, but the woman had already been found by the time it arrived at its destination. The man was eventually found after being in the ice cold waters for over four hours. He was extremely lucky.
4 The Silver Shadow Hides Food To Avoid Inspection
The Silver Shadow, owned by Silversea Cruises, had a surprise inspection in 2013, when a crew member alerted the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to let them know about the food that was on board. According to reports, the staff was ordered to “hide” the food in their own cabins, unrefrigerated, for hours (and sometimes, days) at a time. Food such as eggs, poultry, meat and cheese were stored in temperatures well above the 40 degree recommended for safe storage. Some was even found in hallways of the vessel, also not stored in refrigerated containers. The CDC gave the Silver Shadow a score of 80, which is a failing score when it comes to inspections. It had previously received scores in the 90s and even a score of 100 in the past, but inspectors wondered how many times the food had been hidden and they just were not caught. The CDC only poured chlorine over the spoiled food, and basically told them to “never do it again.” Nothing else was filed or done to rectify the situation. People pay on the average, $5000 a week to travel on the Silver Shadow, only to be fed sustenance that is far beyond safe for consumption.
3 A Royal Caribbean Nightmare
According to the Associated Press (AP), passengers are documenting stories of rape that happened while cruising on the Royal Caribbean. One customer in particular, stated that she was strangled and raped while aboard the cruise line, by a member of the Royal Caribbean staff. The assailant was working as a security guard (at a disco inside the ship) back in 2006, at the time of her sailing, and the victim was afraid to come forward since he wore a badge. It was reported that the staff on the ship were not extremely helpful with her; they made the victim take a trash bag and collect her own evidence. When talking about how he forced his way into her cabin, she had said, “I resisted and struggled. He strangled me and brutally raped me. I awoke with marks around my neck.” The man who was accused of raping her was never arrested.
2 The Shipwreck of Costa Concordia
When people think of huge ship wrecks, the Titanic is normally the first one that comes to mind, not the Costa Concordia. This large boat was built in Italy in 2004, and was part of the Concordia-class cruise ships until 2012, when the disaster struck. Not too different from the Titanic, where it struck an iceberg and caused the ship to sink to the bottom of the Atlantic, the Costa Concordia struck a large rock and flooded the entire engine room, causing darkness throughout the entire ship; due to loss of power. The Costa Concordia drifted back to shore, where it eventually sunk, killing 32 people out of the 4252 passengers and crew members that were aboard. Even though the law states that the ship should be evacuated within a half hour of impact or loss of power, it took over six hours to evacuate the people that were on board, resulting in a huge loss of life.
When the ship initially struck the rock, it caused significant damage, but there was no instruction given by the captain to abandon ship. There were multiple conversations between the captain and headquarters, each with the captain acting as if nothing was wrong, eventually ending with the captain stating that they were vacating the Costa Concordia. When going on a passenger cruise such as this one, the passengers are supposed to be given directions on what to do in case of an emergency, and this had not taken place when the ship was struck. The captain also did not give orders to his crew as to what to do, since the workers were of several different nationalities and not all of them spoke Italian, the nationality of the captain. Out of those 32 that drowned, one was a bartender who got into a lifeboat, but fell out because of the mass confusion, and drowned. A musician, Giuseppe Girolamo, gave up his seat on a lifeboat and ended up drowning, as well.
There is currently a case pending against the Captain, Francesco Schettino, for manslaughter and for abandoning ship. Wreckage is still being found along the shores in Italy from the horrible disaster.
1 The “Poop Cruise” Carnival Triumph
Triumph is owned by Carnival Cruises, which is also the owner of the previously mentioned Costa Concordia. It also owns Costa Allegra; another cruise-liner that happened to have a fire breakout in the engine room, in February 2012. Carnival no longer has a valid reputation when it comes to safety on ships. Just shortly after the Costa Allegra incident in Italy, Carnival Triumph had one of the biggest blunders in history, in regards to one of their signature cruise ships.
In January 2012, the operators of Carnival Triumph apparently knew about problems with the engine, and knew that only four out of six generators were working appropriately. In February 2012, the operators of Carnival Triumph decided to set sail nonetheless; fully aware of the problems that might arise while passengers were aboard the ship. According to reports, a fire started from a generator that was well beyond the time for maintenance; it should have been sustained a year prior to the cruise, but was not. Leaky fuel lines also were an issue, which also drove the fire, causing a power outage for over three days in extremely hot weather.
Cruise passengers aboard Carnival Triumph were without air conditioning, water and electricity for thirty-six hours. Food was also scarce after the first day, since most people did not think it would last due to the lack of electricity, and they were right. With no electricity, there were no refrigerators or freezers to keep the food cold, and there was nothing to cook them with. Normally on a cruise ship, there are generators for when the power goes out, but since the generators were not working, there was no backup plan for the primary backup. People were sleeping on the very top deck, since the rooms were so incredibly hot. The rooms on the inside bottom floors did not have windows to open or to let in sunlight, and most of the rooms that did have windows, did not open to let in air. Passengers no longer had water to flush toilets, so they were instructed to release their bowels in specific bags that were left lying around the entire ship. Eventually, the Carnival Triumph started being referred to as “the poop cruise.”