Tragedy On The High Seas Makes CNN And Carnival Look Like Extreme Sissies

Monday, November 15, 2010

Let´s start by hanging my biases against cruise ships out on the line. I´ve always been of the opinion that a cruise ship is to travel as a bowl of whale blubber is to part of this balanced breakfast. It´s traveling only in that you are constantly in motion. But if we are going to call a spade a spade, it seems more  like the type of travel designed for people who really don´t want to travel, but really like fancy hotels. Which is fine. This certainly has its place for certain people wanting that sort of thing. But it does not mean that I should not make fun of it. Since yesterday I have been doing that a lot, when I read a headline that CNN ran titled: Crippled cruise ship expected in San Diego on Thursday.

The article´s introduction describes a “three-day ordeal” that passengers went through. As the dictionary correctly describes an ordeal as “any extremely severe or trying test,” it left me wondering what great trials these passengers suffered aboard their overpriced Carnival Cruise. And then I read on. And then I laughed, so as not to cry.

The ordeal the passengers suffered came from an engine fire that left parts of the ship without electricity. It came down to not having air conditioning or hot showers. Also, instead of steak and chocolate mousse, passengers had to eat Spam and Pop Tarts. Their three days of struggle is on par with what freshman in college are currently facing daily all across America. Except, college freshman know better than to stay sober and CNN knows better to run a headline on them and call what they are going through “suffering.”

The article went on to quote a a passenger who said, “People [were] playing cards. People [were] standing around just kind of talking. They’re getting to socialize . . . It’s not what you would expect on a normal cruise, of course not, but it’s – they’re doing their best. The crew is doing their best to keep everybody satisfied and make sure that they’re watching everything.”

If they make a Hollywood movie named Carnival Cruise about the ordeal (hey, if they can make a movie about Facebook, they can make a movie about this), I imagine the trailer will be narrated in a deeply powerful voice and say:

Stranded in paradise, with nothing but Pop Tarts and Spam, reduced to playing cards with complete strangers; Carnival Cruise is a testament to the human spirit. It´s about overcoming the odds, and finding out just what a person is made of. This spring, coming to a theater near you, you´ll hear the story of John Middleman, a wealthy retired businessman, who cruises through an unimaginable ordeal, only to survive and live to have his attorney write an angry letter to Carnival management.

This article reminded me of two things: 1) Cruises are still fair game to make fun of, and; 2) If CNN needs news, they should just give me a call. Yesterday the hot water in my house went out, and I´m told it might not be fixed till Monday. I´m not sure if I am going to hold out that long. This may be my last post on The Expeditioner. Tell my family they were fools to co-sign my student loans.

By Luke Armstrong


About the Author

LukeArmstrongLuke Maguire Armstrong lives in Guatemala directing the humanitarian aid organization, Nuestros Ahijados. His book of poetry, iPoems for the Dolphins to Click Home About (available for sale on is especially enjoyed by people who “don’t read poetry.” (@lukespartacus)

  • brokenrecordbaby

    this post tickled me!

  • Great post this, bravo.

  • Ken

    All in all a pretty useless post. Says nothing, proves nothing, and persuades no one.

  • These things would be a hellish ordeal even if everything was working, wouldn't they? There should probably be a news story every time one embarks…

  • patti amrstrong

    You did not even mention the elevators not working! Or hair dryers! After such an ordeal, most of those people will never pseudo-travel again. Yet, you laugh?

  • See, CNN didn't even mention that they were giving away free booze. The most trusted name in news just missed the most important fact of the whole ordeal. I can sort-of agree with the incident being described as an ordeal, as long as that modifier is used to describe the hang-overs those seasick passengers must have felt.

  • Aaron Maguire

    Considering I read that they were giving out free booze, it seems like, if the passengers has been even a little creative, the CNN Headline should have read, "Cruise Ship Passengers Have the Most Epic Game of Drunk Hide and Go Seek in History."

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