Cruising is a very popular vacation option for seniors and people of all ages.
The benefits are: Usually a fixed cost as most expenses are part of the price of the cruise. This includes entertainment and meals, but usually not alcoholic beverages.
Todays cruise ships feature a wonderland of entertainment, something for all ages. This makes a cruise an ideal vacation for multi-generational families to enjoy together.
But not all cruises go as planned. Many years ago, we decided to take a cruise out of Tampa that included stops in Cancun, Cozumel, Key West, then back to Tampa. We left Tampa on a Sunday and set sail for Mexico through the gulf. We docked in Cozumel and enjoyed that, then on to Cancun which we also enjoyed. All went well, until Wednesday morning when the skies darkened. It looked ominous, and by noon the ship’s captain advised us to stay indoors. The winds picked up that afternoon and the ship started to rock. By dinnertime, you could not even walk on the ship without holding on to the handrails. Later that evening we were advised that the storm was expected to worsen and they were looking into docking at the closest port. Around midnight we were advised that no port would allow us to dock as the storm was too severe. We would have to ride it out in the gulf. The ships stabilizers were deployed to try to minimize the motion. They weren’t effective enough. Most passengers did not leave their cabins. I passed the ship’s doctor in the hallway and he told me there were 1100 people seasick. All entertainment was cancelled, most passengers did not even show up for meals. The elevators were shut down as the ship was rocking too intensely. Seasoned cruisers that we had met during dinner our first night aboard the ship advised me that this would be their last cruise. Finally, on Friday morning they allowed us to return to port in Tampa, where we disembarked, happy to be safe, stable, and on dry land. The Cruise Line refunded only our $10.00 Key West port tax, as we never made it there. Not even a discount on another cruise.
The moral of the story is, if you are vacationing on land , and a storm moves in, you are safe in your hotel, and can ride it out comfortably in most cases. Not so on a cruise ship.
That was our first and last cruise. It’s fair to say that most cruise ship vacations go according to plan, and the passengers enjoy a great experience. But when it doesn’t go well, it can be disastrous.
Listed below are some recent cruise ship incidents that illustrate the unpredictable nature of cruising. Please comment. I would love to hear your opinions on cruising, and whether the recent cruise ship incidents have influenced your future vacation planning.
Recent Cruise Ship Incidents:
April 2014 – The norovirus may be responsible for at least 83 sick passengers and crew members aboard the Crown Princess.
January 2014 – Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas was on a 10-day cruise in January when a fast-moving bug left nearly 700 passengers and crew stricken with vomiting and diarrhea. The CDC reports that this is the highest number of sick people reported on any cruise ship in two decades.
February 2013 – The Carnival Triumph cruise liner suffered a fire in the engine room in February 2013, which knocked out the ship’s engines, electricity and air conditioning. Several of the 3,143 passengers 1,086 crew members on board the ship in the Gulf of Mexico complained of “disgusting” conditions, including sewage sloshing around in hallways, flooded rooms and trouble getting enough to eat.
January 2012 – In January 2012, the cruise ship Costa Concordia struck a rock and turned on its side off the shore of the Italian island of Giglio. One of the deadliest disasters in recent history, the accident took the lives of 32 people from eight countries.
2010 – More than 350 of the 1,800 total passengers began to began to vomit and complain of diarrhea and upset stomachs aboard Caribbean cruise ship Celebrity Mercury in 2010. It was unclear what caused the outbreak, though Norovirus is often blamed for the spreading of such symptoms in close quarters. Cases of the same illness were reported on the Celebrity Mercury after this incident. Later that year, Celebrity Cruises announced Celebrity Mercury was leaving the fleet.
2010 – The Mediterranean cruise ship Louis Majesty was hit by a series of rogue waves. The 26-foot tall waves collided with the vessel and flooded it. Two passengers were killed, and several others were injured.
2008 – The Pacific Sun ship was returning to Auckland, New Zealand, when it ran into a violent storm some 400 miles off the coast in 2008. No deaths were reported, but over 40 people were injured due to the intense roiling of the liner, which literally flung people from one side of the cruise ship to the other.
2007 – A cruise ended early after bacteria was discovered on Fred Olsen Cruise M.S. Black Watch in 2007, but days after returning home, passenger Robert Heath died in his home. An inquest later ruled that Fred Olsen Cruises exposed Heath to Legionnaires’ disease, and found that the two doctors he saw did not prescribe adequate medication and failed to respond to his worsening condition. The cruise line eventually paid out over $100,000 to settle the case.
2006 – In 2006, on board the Royal Caribbean ship, Mariner of The Seas, a young man named Daniel Dipiero went missing while on a cruise with his friends. Surveillance video arose of him walking alone, severely intoxicated, and falling over the side of the ship. The ship admitted to not monitoring its surveillance cameras, therefore never seeing what happened to Daniel while there was time to act.
2005 – Two boats filled with Somali pirates started firing at the Seabourn Spirits cruise liner off the cost of Somalia in 2005. The ship was traveling from Alexandria in Egypt. The ship’s crew used an on-board loud acoustic bang to fool the pirates into thinking those aboard the cruise ship were firing back. None of the The 302 passengers died.
2005 – While sailing between New York City and the Bahamas in 2005, the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship was hit with a 70-foot wave that reached up to the tenth deck of the ship. Sixty-two cabins were flooded, and two people suffered minor injuries. Two people also died on the Norwegian Dawn during a cruise in 2011.
1992 – A Royal pacific cruise ship collided with a fishing trawler in 1992 due to low visibility. According to Marine Insight, crew members did not do enough to save passengers during the chaotic evacuation in the middle of the night, and as many as 30 people died with 70 injured out of the 530 passengers on board.
Again, please comment. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on cruising!