So, the Carnival Cruise ship Triumph (Wow, just count the oxymorons in those first six words) limped into port last week like five days late. Out of power. Onion sandwiches. And if you know anybody who was on the cruise and they tell you they brought you a souvenir, for pete’s sake, DO NOT accept anything offered to you in a plastic bag.
Remember “The Love Boat”? The cheesy, romantic comedy from the 1970’s where passengers played by whatever TV actor was hot that week would come about the Pacific Princess for that episode’s cruise and find “love and adventure” on the high seas. Stupid show. Ran for, I don’t know, eighty-seven years, as a huge hit. Well, whenever I heard news about the Triumph, I keep imaging Purse Burl “Gopher” Smith (I mock, but I’m typing all these character names without even once checking Wikipedia.), Isaac the bartender and Doc in some sort of weird “Hunger Games” type scenario on the Lido deck where cruise director Julie is chucked overboard as a sacrifice to the gods of the sea. Captain Merrill Stubing locks himself away on the bridge to await the inevitable, much like the captain on the Titanic.
Except, of course, the Triumph made it back to shore, no lives lost. Yay! Many of the passengers stumbling off the boat even said to the cable TV cameras shoved in their faces that they’d love to take another cruise in semi-believable tones.
By all accounts, conditions were pretty awful as the ship drifted all those days. And it appears there was no real contingency plan in place to deal with a situation where, you know, the boat breaks in the middle of the gosh darnit ocean, ’cause, you know, what are the chances of a mechanical failure on a hugely complex, hugely huge piece of maritime equipment while in use?
All of which begs the question that so many of those wretched passengers and crew had to have asked themselves over and over and over for almost a week.
Why the hell would anyone take a cruise?
Engine failure. Power failure. Sea sickness. Pirates. Sewers backing up. Food poisoning. All of this and much more has plagued luxury liners since the days when half the people died before reaching land on ocean-going voyages. These days, people don’t usually die, they just get watered down drinks at the tiki bar and get swindled by shuffleboard sharks.
Full disclosure: I’ve never been on a cruise. My entire frame of reference on the subject comes from TV show killer Ted McGinley, who joined the “Love Boat” cast late in its run, only to have the show die a season later, which was pretty much his MO throughout the eighties.
Anyway, I don’t know if cruise ships have shuffleboard anymore. But they do have sickness, the spectre of epic failure, and loud people in speedos, none of which I’m particularly fond of.
Shiver me timbers, matey….Indeed.