When I was a kid, it seemed like the most popular movies were disaster flicks. Movies like the Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno which exploited the public with images of terror, fear, and panic.
Today, disaster movies are not limited to the movie theater. We are living in a iReport society where CNN, MSNBC and FOX News regularly broadcast iPhone videos of fires, floods, and bedlam, including cruise ship disasters.
Unfortunately, there will be stories in the future where cruise ships catch on fire, sink or are hijacked by terrorists. The cruise lines will frantically try and suppress the images and assure the public that everything is OK. But YouTube will be there to reveal the truth. And everyone will be watching the disaster.
I picked the top 5 "worst cruise ship disaster" videos. Nothing subtle here. Exploitational? Maybe so, but these are not low budget disaster movies. They are real. With real people aboard. Fortunately, in most of the incidents no one was killed or seriously injured. Take a look and see how Mother Nature can interrupt your serene cruise vacation:
Number 5: Stabilizers? What Stabilizers? Okay, I admit it. I have to take a Dramamine before I click the play button for this video. It shows what a cyclone can do to a cruise ship. You can read about this cruise ship here.
Number 4: Keep this video secret! Don't let the lawyers see it! Last September the internet was a buzz with the release of CCTV films of the interior of the P&O Cruises' Pacific Sun, which ran into heavy weather in June 2008. P&O had also understated the effects of the storm on the cruise ship and passengers, and it was successful keeping the CCTV under wraps for over two years.
But the video finally made its way out of P&O's control this fall. When the truth came out, the video went viral! A number of passengers were injured. You can clearly see one young lady smash her face into a column at the 47 second mark.
Cruise lines are experts keeping video like this secret. The risk management departments of cruise lines hide these types of video from the public's eyes. This permits the cruise lines to contest the passengers' accounts of injuries and lets the defense lawyers claim that the passengers are exaggerating. Would you have believed what occurred in the video if you did not see it?
Number 3: Anyone for a relaxing cruise to Antarctica? The Clelia II cruise ship caught the country's attention when passengers on the National Geographic Explorer filmed it bouncing around by big waves and howling wind as it was trying to make its way back to Argentina from Antarctica. (Video by Fiona Stewart/Garett McIntosh via jonbowermaster.com) 88 U.S. passengers were aboard as it limped back to port after a wave broke over the bridge of the vessel and smashed windows, interrupting communications and causing an electrical outage that reduced power to one of its engines.
Number 2: Death on the Louis Majesty cruise ship: The Greece-based Louis Cruise Lines ship was heading east to Genoa, Italy when waves struck the vessel and smashed windows in public areas, killing two passengers and injuring fourteen others.
The "Louis Majesty" used to be NCL's Norwegian Majesty and, before that, the Royal Majesty operated by Majesty Cruise Lines from 1992 - 1997. Long before I began representing passengers and crewmembers, I represented Majesty Cruise Lines (around 1995) when this cruise ship was based in Miami. I have been on this ship and in the area where the glass blew out. The Royal Majesty was considered a large cruise ship 20 years ago. A real tragedy, which could have been avoided if the officers aboard had instructed the passengers to remain in their cabins.
Number 1: And the winner is: the cruise ship Oceanos which sank back in 1991. Unlike the other disasters attributable to rough weather, this disaster was man made. The Oceanos was a Greek-owned cruise ship in a state of neglect, with loose hull plates, valves stripped for repair parts, and a hole in one of its "watertight" bulkheads. When the cruise ship began to sink, the cowardly captain and officers were the first into a lifeboat, abandoning children, women, and elderly passengers to face a certain death. But due to the courage of one of the ship's entertainers and a dramatic and nothing-less-than-miraculous rescue that followed, everyone was saved! A happy ending to a terrifying ordeal.
Do you have a video that should be in a top 5 or top 10 list of cruise disasters? Let us hear from you . . .