Thursday, November 11, 2010

Carnival Splendor? Good News: They Didn't Get Sick; Bad News: There Was This Fire - - -

The Lemming has never had one of those cruise ship experiences: visiting colorful, exotic places while staying in the luxurious comfort of a floating hotel. Can't say I'm sorry about that, either.

Some of my kinsfolk have both the resources and preferences it takes to enjoy something like that: and it sounds fun. For them. The Lemming has been quite content to leave the 'cruise ship experience' in that voluminous list of 'maybe someday' things.

This week's news hasn't exactly been an incentive to change my policy:

"Passengers disembark stricken cruise ship"
Cruise/Travel on msnbc.com (November 11, 2010)

"The first of nearly 4,500 passengers and crew aboard a powerless cruise ship have disembarked in San Diego.

"A line of about 20 passengers of the Carnival Splendor wheeled suitcases down a ramp Thursday morning as a crowd waited at the dock.

"The ship's elevators are not working, and port officials estimated it would take about four hours to get everyone off the ship.

"The nearly 1,000-foot liner was hauled back by six tugs after an engine room fire Monday left it without power off the Mexican coast.

"Passengers have been waiting in line to eat sandwiches and other cold food since the fire. Navy helicopters flew in tons of food and supplies from an aircraft carrier that was diverted from maneuvers.

"Escorted by Coast Guard cutters, the 952-foot Carnival Splendor reached the dock at about 8:30 a.m. PST Thursday. About 100 people onshore cheered loudly as the ship reached shore, while all along the harbor tourists, joggers and fishermen stopped to snap photos.

" 'We're so happy to be getting off. Everybody's been cheering and clapping,' passenger Sahizah Alim, 26, of Sacramento, said by cell phone.

" 'It's been like a nightmare,' she said. 'There's been no food, no power, no electricity, no flushing toilets. I spent the night tossing and turning in my cabin in the dark.'..."

"...'We're eating spoiled turkey sandwiches and warm milk and warm yogurt,' passenger Joey Noriega told ABC's 'Good Morning America' on Thursday. 'Everything smells like it's spoiled. ... Nothing's cooked. It's all sandwich meat. It's disgusting. You're afraid to eat it 'cause it's been left out and touched by everybody else on the ship.'..."

Sour Grapes and Tainted Food

As far as the Lemming knows, there weren't literally sour grapes on the Carnival Splendor. It's a reference to "The Fox and the Grapes," and that's another topic. Sort of.

Considering what's happening in Haiti, complaining about plumbing problems and warm milk may seem trivial, even 'insensitive.' That business about not liking food that was "touched by everybody else on the ship?" With a running start, the Lemming could probably make that sound like a prissy objection by some spoiled rich person.

That's not gonna happen.

The Lemming remembers the sixties, and thought some of the groovy ideas actually made sense. Like poor people being as important as rich people. What made me something of a misfit is that I took that sort of thing seriously - and think rich people are as important as poor people. Which is another topic, for another blog. (A Catholic Citizen in America (November 9, 2010))

Not that everybody on a cruise ship is rich. Folks who are on the crew are there to make a living - and some of the 'rich' passengers can afford their tickets because they've saved money over the last few decades for one-shot luxuries like this.

While the Lemming's ranting about money, folks helping the folks in Haiti could use some. List of charities. I've written about this before. "Haiti: About the Earthquake, Relief, and Related Topics."

Where was I? Cruise ship. Fire. Evolving turkey sandwiches. Right.

The Carnival Splendor folks didn't, apparently, get sick. Or haven't started showing symptoms yet. Let's keep a positive outlook. They didn't, apparently, get sick: and the fire only stopped the ship. It didn't kill anybody.

It's quite possible that the folks running these ocean cruises smelled the bacon, so to speak, and cleaned up their act. Or, more to the point, their food service and sanitary procedures.

Remember "cruise ship disease?"

"Cruise Ship Gastroenteritis Outbreaks Show Sharp Increase Since 2001"
Medical News Today (March 4, 2006)

"Cases of diarrheal disease in passengers on cruise ships increased during 2001 through 2004, despite good results from environmental health sanitation inspection of the ships, a new study has found.

"Researchers led by Elaine H. Cramer, M.D., analyzed cases of gastroenteritis reported on cruise ships calling on U.S. ports for a four-year period, in a study in the March issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"The study showed that gastroenteritis outbreaks per 1,000 cruises increased overall from 0.65 in 2001 to 5.46 in 2004. However, ship environmental inspection scores were high during this period, with an average of 95 on a 100-point scale.

"Noroviruses are the likely suspects, according to Cramer, medical epidemiologist with the Vessel Sanitation Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'Since the introduction of more advanced laboratory techniques that can positively identify noroviruses, these viruses have increasingly been identified as associated with cruise ship outbreaks,' Cramer said...."

Bottom line? The Lemming's glad that nobody got killed: and hopes that there isn't too much fallout - medical or financial - from this SNAFU.

2 comments:

Brigid said...

I think this post got truncated somehow: "Bottom line? The Lemming's glad that" ...?

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

P.S. And this is one of the many reasons why I bring my own food on trips of any kind.

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Oops. Thanks! Fixed. (What was I thinking?)

About the food: I know what you mean. About the cruise ships, though: I haven't researched this, but I suspect that the ships' owners finally twigged that they couldn't keep making their customers ill, and stay in business.

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