My wife and I took two cruises when we lived in Florida. Susan loved them. I was OK with them. On board was OK, if a trifle decadent: endless food and drink and "entertainment." Non-stop having "fun." But the ports of call tested me.The idea of a monstrous cruise ship pulling into some Caribbean port and disgorging 2,000+ passengers to swarm over the tacky gift shops and crowd the bars and restaurants to eat overpriced food and watered down drinks all for the benefit of the poor people who live there--well, not my idea of a great time. Then everybody back on the boat to go do the same thing at the next stop. (Yes, I know it may be different on a different cruise line (or even the same) depending on different destinations . . . but our two cruises were in the Gulf of Mexico.)
However, my cruise experiences were paradise compared to what the passengers on Carnival Cruise liner Splendor are enduring as we speak. (Another story here and a long one here.) The ship was on its way to the Mexican Riviera from San Diego until a fire in the ship's engine room knocked out air conditioning, refrigeration, toilets and locomotion. The ship was for a time dead in the water. We're talking 3,300 people here and about 1,100 crew. Carnival's CEO says the conditions aboard are "very challenging" and apologizes for any "discomfort and inconvenience" being endured by the guests. Are you kidding? Crammed up on crowded exposed decks to get some relief from the heat, eating Spam and croissants flown in by the Navy, and your sweltering stateroom smells like shit because you cannot flush the toilet. The USA Today this morning has this understatement of the year from a Coast Guard Captain who reported the passengers safe but "not necessarily happy."