Archive | 5:21 pm

Really, loose lips did THIS?

15 Jan

This is what we call a "Career Ending Move" by the captain.

I’ve never taken a cruise. Not a day cruise of the Bahamas or a week cruise of Alaska. Until this weekend, my reasons for avoiding this type of travel were:

  1. The Environment – do you know how much fuel it takes to power a cruise ship and how much pollution it creates? Tons.
  2. The People – I hate touristy vacations, so the idea of being holed up on a boat with tourists = anti-vacation.
  3. The Idea – my kind of vacation is going somewhere and exploring and immersing myself in the local culture; a cruise seems to allow only a superficial exposure to the port cities where you stop, with a larger emphasis on the on-ship experience – buffets, entertainment, etc.
Tourist Vessel off the coast of Antarctica - 2007

Tourist Vessel off the coast of Antarctica - 2007

Don’t get me wrong – I understand that loads of people love cruises and I’m not putting them down (although I do think you should realize how bad they are for the environment before you book a ticket so that if you decide to do it anyway, you can at least make sure your enjoyment is worth the extermination of a few species). I’m just saying: not my thing.

Anyway. After this weekend, a whole new reason tops this list: SINKING SHIPS.

Fascinated by the vessel that ran ashore off the coast of Italy, I started googling “sinking ship” to see if I could find videos of it. Know what I found? Videos of many, many passenger ships that have sunk. WTF? Call me naïve, but I was thinking that ship builders got their shit together after the Titanic and built these things so they were unsinkable. Apparently NOT. Here’s a rundown if you’d like to fact-check my claim:

Copyright: Michael Hipler

2007 - off the coast of Greece

Granted, most people generally survive. But still? Any cruise that a) Sends deck furniture into the ocean, or b) Tilts my porthole so I am looking directly into the water = unacceptable. Because either situation would prompt me to crap my pants, and – I don’t know about you, but – any vacation in which I have to deal with my own excrement isn’t actually a vacation. (High standards, I guess.)

From the limited research I did (two minutes on Google) it looks like the most common cause is pilot error. Um. Just looking at the photos from the current wreck and the one off the coast of Greece in 2007, I’m pretty sure anyone who wasn’t drunk or half-asleep could’ve guessed that those boats were too close to shore.

Another thing that’s messed up about cruise ships? PIRATES. Every time a pirate attack makes the news, I’m left scratching my head, puzzled that such an occupation still exists. What next? Stagecoach robberies? Sorry, does not compute. Pirates belong in the same category as gladiators: dwelling only in the past or the movies. (And yes, I realize I’ve mixed comparisons – I know that a gladiator isn’t someone who holds up a stagecoach.)

Anyway, I’ll close with one final tip. Look at these photos. Notice anything? Correct: If you insist on taking a cruise, book your room on the LEFT side of the ship. And – just to annoy your travel agent – refer to it as the “above-water” side.

Bon voyage.