I have held my tongue about the Carnival Cruise debacle for days now, and the media frenzy continues. I can no longer keep my thoughts to myself. Here is my take on the Carnival Triumph cruise mess (it was not a disaster, no matter how you slice it).
First, this is a wonderful case for why everyone should be required to have passports when they embark on a cruise. The requirement right now is if the cruise originates and returns to an American port, you can get by with a birth certificate and a photo government issued ID. The fact that people onboard the Triumph did not have passports is why they could not dock in Mexico and fly everyone home.
So, in my opinion, the people who were too lazy, too cheap, or unable (!) to procure a passport were the real reason everyone had to suffer. A passport should be a requirement for cruise travel in the future because people will balk at getting one if they have the option not to make the effort.
Second, the ship is 14 years old. Now that’s not old, old by industry standards, but it’s old to me. A more modern ship would have back-up generators and other features that would have prevented the recent incident. As a cruise consultant, it’s my job to think about this older ship making a trek across the open Gulf of Mexico. As a cruiser, most people generally don’t think about any such details. They board the ship and that’s it. If that older ship was hopping down the east coast, jumping around the Bahamas, or even headed to the Caribbean, it wouldn’t give me pause. There would be a convenient port not too far away. But I wouldn’t put a client on an older ship doing a trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific voyage either. I’m just a worrier, I guess.
Third, cruising is an amazingly safe form of travel and a cost-efficient one at that. To focus on this one “unfortunate incident” is a disservice to the entire cruise industry.
Thanks for listening!