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Triumphant failure

Chanet Stevenson, Assistant Scene Editor - February 20, 2013

Picture a sunny day on the Gulf of Mexico: both the sky and water the color of deep blue, and the air is calm. Upon embarking on your cruise ship vacation, the idea of nonstop fun and a promise of relaxation await you.

But now imagine the pungent aroma of feces emanating from the hallways of your once blissful floating resort. Meals are sparse, there is no air conditioning and only a few rooms have electricity.

If this situation sounds like the plotline to a cheesy horror movie involving a wrecked cruise ship, it’s not. Although, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it becomes a Lifetime movie, one which I’m sure I’ll end up watching as I’m admittedly a sucker for the low-budget, clichéd concepts that are Lifetime movies.

Sadly, though, for the 4,200 passengers aboard the Carnival Triumph cruise ship, this particular situation became a reality when a fire broke out in an engine room during its voyage last week, leaving them stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for five days.

While watching this story unfold in the media, I couldn’t help but think about what everyone aboard was going through. I also couldn’t help but add the incident to the already extensive list of reasons why I will NEVER go on a cruise.

Sure, there are plenty of things that frighten me. But to be completely honest, I would rather spend the night in a haunted house, inhabited by spiders and paranormal entities during a zombie apocalypse before I would ever step foot on a cruise ship. The fear is real.
So to give some insight into this seemingly silly fear of cruise ships I have, the real-life incidents that have contributed to my fear are as follows:

1. I’ll begin with the Carnival Triumph incident since it’s the most recent one. While the ship didn’t sink and there weren’t any reported deaths, the fact that it was stranded on the water for five days is enough to terrify me. The idea of not being able to see land for that long and having to rely on tugboats to tow the ship back to port does not sound like my kind of a vacation.

2. The partial sinking of the Costa Concordia: This particular tragedy definitely tops my list of reasons because it’s one that resulted from negligence and could’ve easily been avoided. Not only did the captain deviate from the computer-ran, pre-programmed route, he also abandoned the ship without notifying authorities of the accident. The fact that the captain not only left his passengers behind, but then also tried to lie to authorities about the cause of the accident is beyond shocking to me. Sadly, the tragedy also resulted in 32 reported deaths, as well as two missing persons who have yet to be accounted for.

3. The Titanic. I think this one goes without saying. I mean, it hit an iceberg and sank. But on a side note, I think we can all agree that there was room for two people to be saved on that plank. Leo could’ve lived.

4. Man overboard: All too often I hear reports of someone going missing while vacationing on a cruise ship. Again, Lifetime movies don’t help the situation as they often portray real-life people who have gone missing while on a cruise. But the fact that they are based on true stories is enough of a deterrent for me.

5. And finally, you might get pregnant, and die. OK, so yeah, I stole that line from “Mean Girls” and it has nothing to do with cruise ships, but who can honestly say that they’ve never heard of an epidemic outbreak on a cruise ship? And I may or may not be factoring food poisoning as an epidemic as well.

Overall, my fear for cruise ship vacations, however silly it may be, sadly is real. I realize there are other modes of transportation with higher death rates I could fear more than a cruise ship, but those don’t include water.

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