No Tickets to Paradise

15 02 2013

I’ve never been on a cruise; it really isn’t something I feel I’ve missed out on by not being on one.  And in the light of the numerous issues on recent cruises that have hit the news media, I am not certain I really have missed out on either.  As the most recent news wave about the Triumph and what individuals have endured during their cruise unfolds, I have to give pause about the lawsuits that many people are calling frivolous.  Seeing the videos and images from passengers, I can’t really say that I blame them for suing Carnival – and I am typically a very anti-lawsuit type of person.

I try to imagine saving up for a holiday cruise, whether for my husband I, or for our whole family, I would still be socking money away for a few months to afford such a trip.  For us, a trip is never just a trip.  Putting our pets into boarding averages about $1000 a week.  And the average cost is $50 a day per person for a cruise, so let’s say it’s a five-day cruise for my family.  At a minimum, I’m looking $2000, not including spending money, travel to the port, etc.  Even at a generous saving rate, we’re talking six months of saving money for this trip to avoid disruption to our income.  At this point, we’ve burnt our vacation hours from work for this trip, and six months of savings to go on the Triumph.

Now let’s see – we’ve had a few beautiful days on this tropical cruise.  And just as we’re winding down to return to reality, the boat engine catches fire.  My family is in no danger, but I have to calm my children as the boat lists and tilts.  Power cuts out and chaos ensues.  Anyone who has ever watched the movie the Titanic would likely be on edge, much less a child in an unfamiliar place with this kind of drama.  And imagining enduring this from Sunday through Thursday – I can’t.

Add to this the spoiled food, lack of air conditioning, and lack of communication with the outside world to know that there will be any type of resolution outside of what I am told by the cruise ship employees.  At this point, I’m seething.  I know I would be angry, scared and emotionally traumatized.  And I’ve not even begun to factor in the health risks.

Human waste, streaming down walls of rooms and onto mattresses where people sleep.  Human waste seeping onto the floors – we’re told to a depth that passengers had to “wade” through it to get to the cafeteria areas?  Human waste.  That amounts to urine, feces, vomit and bodily fluids.  All contaminants that could transfer diseases not limited to HIV/AIDs, Hepatitis.  And even waste being inhaled is dangerous – the methane and ammonia gases to name a few – can cause death to brain cells and cause motor issues and long-term breathing troubles.  And of course the moisture forming molds and fungi being inhaled.  Simply put, the potential health issues are endless and could take months to fully present themselves.

Now, after this five days of hell, yes hell, the cruise ship is finally tugged to shore and the company has offered to refund the $1000 for the cruise cost.  And give me $500 for my trouble.  And paying my way home and any nights’ stay in hotels until I get home.  And vouchers for another cruise should I ever dare to set foot on their ship again.

I’ve no idea what types of health issues are lurking in our bodies, I’ve incurred an additional $1000 for the boarding costs, an additional $100 for the long-term parking costs, and an additional week of missed work that is unpaid.  So my $1000 refund for the cruise costs reimburses my additional boarding costs, and between the four members of my family we have $2000 to cover the lost week of work for my husband and I and our parking costs.

So in the end – we barely break even.  And we still have yet to look at the potential health issues and any emotional issues that require attention for our children.  If I don’t sue, I kiss goodbye any rights to later hold Carnival accountable for health issues.

And I still never got a vacation.

Yeah, I would sue.

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