Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Cruise Industry Is Better Than One Lousy Italian Captain

When I first heard about the accident that caused the capsizing of the luxury liner Costa Concordia, my first thought was this is bad and going to be really bad for a lot of people.
The good news is that fortunately, less than 50 out of over 4,000 passengers and crew died or are missing. And believe me, I am not dismissing any death, injury or distress for all those people.
There is a lot of conflicting information still to this day. That the captain, Francesco Schettino, steered the ship close to an island off of an Italian island for a crew member. That Mr. Schettino went in a life boat to escape before ascertaining the whole situation. That Mr. Schettino claims to have tripped and fallen into the said life boat. And that some of the panic once the situation was ascertained was that the ship had not had the lifeboat drill before leaving port.
And of course this is leading many to want to investigate the cruise industry in general.
So, as one who has been on several cruises, let me say here and now that most are wonderful adventures and rather uneventful affairs.
The first cruise Mrs. RVFTLC and I went on was our honeymoon cruise nearly 12 years ago.
It was on this ship, The Carnival Elation

Now it is a 13-year old ship. But it was new at the time. Our itinerary was Mexico. The West Coast. Puerto Vallarta, Mazlatan, and Cabo San Lucas. And a couple of full days out at sea.
It was the first time either of us were on a cruise. It was a gift from my mother in law.
A funny aside.
As part of it, there was a video that featured Kathy Lee Gifford signing and talking about the ship. There was corny throughout. "Its an Elation vacation!" It made us laugh silly. But once we stopped laughing, it was rather informative.
Once we got on the ship, we were amazed.
Everyone was pleasant. The crew. The people. It was amazing to realize that we were on a ship of roughly 4,000 people.
Most cruises are great affairs to rememeber.
Subsequent cruises were an Alaksan cruise and two more to Mexico.
But the only time one hears of cruises in the Leftywhore or any media, it is when disaster strikes. Or about how the crew is paid. And how terrible their working conditions are.
In other words, the negative.
Yet this once reserved for the rich way to travel has come to the middle income people. The industry has exploded. And in fact, there is a cruise line dedicated to family travel in Disney Cruise Line.
But to bash a whole industry because one captain was an idiot and a coward is not fair.
Cruising is safer than auto travel. Probably safer than air travel as well.
But you would not know the positives when there is this ship half-sunk off of the Italian coast.
That is too bad.

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