Why is the cruise ship industry?

Just why. The first cruise ship tour resumed sailing the Caribbean, and guess what happened? Coronavirus, of course. The passengers are concerned and complaining, but I just want to know why you thought cramming yourself into a confined space with 119 other people would be a fun outing.

Sloan, who is a senior reporter for cruise and travel at The Points Guy, reported that the Covid scare started when the captain informed passengers of the preliminary positive test over the ship’s intercom system shortly before lunchtime on Wednesday.
Passengers were instructed to return to their cabins and remain isolated there, he said.

Great. You signed up for a cruise of the beautiful Caribbean, and now you get to sit in a cramped stateroom and maybe, if you’re lucky, stare out a porthole. Even in times without a pandemic, I fail to see the appeal.

At least they aren’t spewing out both ends as the usual outbreak on a cruise ship goes. Instead, they might end up struggling for breath and dying. The industry is constantly trying to upgrade the experience, you know.


  1. whheydt says

    Somebody should start the “Truth in Advertising” cruise line an name their first ship the “SS Petri Dish”.

  2. jaredcormier says

    This is just so unexpected….
    You’d think the companies that are incorporated in banana republic countries to avoid taxes and any civic responsibility would keep the safety of their passengers as first and foremost priority…. /snark

  3. Artor says

    Gosh, who could have possibly predicted this completely unforeseeable outcome? Surely, the promoters and owners of such a plague ship can’t be held liable. That would be crazy talk!

  4. PaulBC says

    Mr. Cause meet Mr. Effect. Sorry, but I have concluded that a surprisingly large fraction of people are doomed to make the same mistake over and over again unless they are given top-down directives not to. When there’s money to be made, they are more likely to receive encouragement.

  5. says

    Switzerland has a river cruise with Volksmusik (don’t look it up, especially not on a video with sound) I think back at the start of October, and look and behold, two thirds of the guests caught Covid. Of course, the people who organised it felt no guilt at all, because they had a “hygiene concept”. We now all have “hygiene concepts”, which are obviously not working, but makes bar owners whine.

  6. wzrd1 says

    Gotta exercise that freedumb, lest it atrophy.
    If I’m to get into a tin can, I’d rather it be the ISS and someone had better have plenty of things to do.

  7. microraptor says

    Cruise ships are disease factories under normal circumstances. I can’t imagine why anyone would think voluntarily getting on one would be a good idea during the Covid epidemic.

    Also, cruise ships are incredible sources of pollution. Last spring, there were numerous reports about how ports that normally saw heavy cruise ship traffic were now seeing the cleanest water qualities they’d had in years.

  8. says

    I totally get all the people dumping on the cruise ship passengers for being foolish, ignorant, or deluded. But as usual, things aren’t always so simple.

    Last year, my father booked a cruise that was supposed to sail sometime this summer, but… well, you know. Now, I won’t blame you for thinking he’s some out-of-touch, rich, white dude who wanted to sample the local colour of the quaint little natives on the islands from the comfort and safety of a mobile bourgeoisie fortress… but, well, to quote Luke: “Impressive. Every word in that sentence was wrong.” (Well, except for “dude”. And maybe “white”, but that’s iffy; it depends on how pure your definition of “white” is.)

    In fact, my father was born in the islands, though he now lives in Canada with me. The reason he wanted to take a Caribbean cruise is… well, just imagine if you had friends and family scattered all across a half-dozen or so islands, some of whom you haven’t seen for a half-century or more, and there was a way you could relatively affordably visit them ALL over the course of a week or two—even if all you get with each is just a quick lunch meeting. My father is not rich by any measure; there is simply no possible way he could ever afford to actually travel to SEVERAL different islands in a practical span of time. He’s getting on in years; he’s spent the last few years getting a near-constant stream of notices of old friends and family passing. When the cruise was cancelled, he knew he was never going to see some people again. It would have at least been nice to be able to see his 4 year-old granddaughter; I don’t know when he last even saw her full face, because the kid doesn’t seem to know how to hold a phone when using FaceTime—I’m not sure I could even identify her without being able to see her hairline.

    But a month or so back, the cruise line contacted him and told him that the cruise was on again… and not only that, they offered all kinds of extensions and upgrades to sweeten the deal, presumably because the industry is in such dire straits it really needs to get passengers and good word-of-mouth. Naturally, it was a limited-time offer; sail now (that is, early November), or lose the chance. Now, my father is no fool. He was well aware that cruise ships are Petri dishes even before the pandemic. Hell, some of his musician buddies have worked on cruise ships, and they have horror stories. And of course, he is VERY keenly aware of the seriousness of the pandemic; although he’s retired, he still sorta-kinda works as a musician playing Caribbean-flavoured music at retirement homes and similar places. In fact, the intersection of cruise ships and COVID has been a recurring headline issue for him, thanks to Barbados news. (Barbados allowed a number of cruise ships to act as floating quarantine camps for thousands of cruise ship employees after a “no-sail” order prevented them from being able to go home, and even provided food, support, and eventually transportation for them. It was a huge deal in Barbados, and they eventually won some international award for it.)

    Now, he ultimately decided not to take the cruise line up on their offer… but it was NOT an easy decision. Even with the COVID risk (doubled by the fact that he’d have to board in Florida—which was not just concerning for being a COVID hotspot, but there were also concerns about election-related political turmoil), he was tempted. Now that you know his story, I hope you understand why. This is literally about life and death for him. There are already people who died since the original cruise was cancelled, that he missed the chance to see.

    And I should add, his dilemma is not atypical. I know a lot of people with roots in the islands, and for them, cruises are an affordable and practical way to take a vacation while visiting friends and family on multiple islands. (“Affordable” relative to the cost of actually travelling directly to those islands individually, of course. Or buying/chartering a private boat or plane to do it.) I get that the stereotype is that cruises are a rich person’s indulgence… but that’s not actually the reality. Budget cruises are surprisingly affordable, and it doesn’t really matter if your room is a windowless closet if the real point of the trip is the all the visiting that goes on when you’re not on the ship.

    Maybe most of the people on those cruise ships were entitled, reality-denying idiots who just didn’t take the risk seriously. Maybe all them were. Obviously I’m not trying to excuse people who are acting selfishly and irresponsibly in the middle of a pandemic. I would definitely like to proffer a hearty fuck-you to the cruise line companies, and lay a large part of the blame for the current crisis at their feet for their smarmy tactics to lure people into a dangerous situation. But yeah, sure, maybe the people who went on the cruises were stupid, and maybe my father would have been stupid had he chosen to go, too. However… understanding my father’s dilemma has made me understand that sometimes… it’s complicated.

  9. says

    Cruise ships are cheaper than care homes and provide similar or superior care for many elderly people. As a result a large number of people live out their last days on four and five star cruises for solid financial reasons. Unfortunately, these people are precisely the most vulnerable to covid19.