Yesterday was one of the stranger days in the weird world of cruising.
Royal Caribbean reported a 40% drop in net income for the first quarter of this year. Its net income was $47 million, down from $78.4 million a year earlier. Royal Caribbean's CEO Richard Fain attributed the decline in net income on the Costa Concordia tragedy but said that he doesn't think that the effects of the Concordia disaster would be long term. "We did not expect the impact of the tragedy to be long term and we are seeing evidence the effects are waning.”
Perhaps the effects of the Concordia may fade, but not if the the cruise disasters keep coming. A month after Concordia, the Costa Allegra suffered a disabling fire and floated around in waters where pirates like to also cruise. Things like this make families nervous. Satirist Andy Borowitz published an article "Citing Safety Concerns, Somali Pirates Refuse to Board Cruise Ships - Fires, Capsizings Top Pirates' Concerns, Spokesperson Says." Lots of cruise fans thought the article was serious.
This last week, the cruise industry has been rocked with the Star Princess scandal, when the Princess cruise ship sailed happily by a disabled little fishing boat drifting 100 miles off coast of Panama. World opinion came crashing down on Princess Cruises (also owned by Carnival) when the public learned that 2 of the young men (one just 16) died due to Princess' nonchalant attitude while several passengers pleaded for the cruise ship to assist the stricken boat.
Speaking of outrageous conduct, this month started out with news that a Carnival security officer and housekeeping manager (both male) were involved in the strip searching of a girl on the Carnival Sensation which included allegedly making her remove her tampon while they watched.
While Fain was quick to point blame his company's sinking profits on his competitor (Carnival), he didn't mention that one of his cruise ships, the Azamara Quest, suffered an serious engine fire which disabled the vessel last month. He also didn't mention that he still pocketed $5,900,000. Poor bastard. How can he survive on that?
But seriously, lets think about this for a moment. One of Fain's ships caught fire last month and he still makes around $6,000,000 with declining bookings and increased fuel and operating costs while a cruise disaster happens every other week it seems. Royal Caribbean pays its waiters only $600 a year working over 12 hours a day. So Fain still makes 10,000 times more than he pays a waiter to serve your family.
CBS indicated that the declining profits at Royal Caribbean were because passengers may be "spooked by the high profile cruise problems."
Later that evening (last night) an engine room fire broke out on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Sea. Cruise Law News was the first to report on the cruise ship fire yesterday. This is the 80th cruise fire in the last 22 years. The Miami Herald, which is a supporter of the cruise industry and rarely covers negative cruise news, passed along the cruise line's PR statement that the fire was "small and quickly extinguished." Why does that not make me feel any safer?
The Allure is the largest cruise ship in the world with 7,500 passengers and crew. All fires start small. Its a bad thing for a small fire to break out on the world's largest cruise ship in the middle of the sea. Like the Carnival Splendor which recently suffering an engine room fire, the Allure is a new ship. Why are new ships catching on fire? Most cruise fans could care less. The most important thing to them seems to be whether the fire will disrupt their cruise next week.
The Miami Herald chose not to report on a blockbuster story which we reported on yesterday. A Cunard cruise line youth counselor under arrest admitted that he sexually abused 13 boys on three Cunard cruise ships which he worked on (Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth) over the course of four years. A prolific child sexual predator running amok on the cream of the cream luxury Cunard brand of cruise ships for four years. The sick pervert also videotaped himself abusing the children on the cruise ships, either for his viewing pleasure later or perhaps for trading with other pedophiles.
If there is a sexual predator on Cunard ships, do you think that there are no perverts taking your child into a bathroom alone on Royal Caribbean and Carnival brands? Wait a second, Cunard is owned by Carnival here in Miami. Why wouldn't the Miami Herald report on 13 little boys being diddled on one of the Carnival brands? You think that your kids are safer on a Carnival fun ship running out of Galveston than a Cunard ship sailing from Southampton?
I shouldn't be so hard on the Miami Herald. It sold out on any type of investigative journalism a decade ago, and it was not the only newspaper not to report on the cruise line sexual pervert. Not one other media outlet in the U.S. covered the story. Only Cruise Law News did. Major newspapers alternate between being cheerleaders for the cruise lines to being indifferent to something as shocking as 13 little kids targeted and preyed on by a cruise ship employee whose parents entrusted their kids literally into his filthy hands.
What is going on?
Cruise executives make 10,000 times more than a waiter who works 360 hours a month, and can still rake in $6,000,000 in the worst economy while cruise ships sink, collide and burn around them. Luxury cruise liners like the love boats of Princess look the other way while people are dying at sea. Newspapers rush out the cruise line's talking points of a supposedly "small and short" fire, but refuse to mention 13 child abused on the most prestigious cruise ships sailing today. A strip search of a girl on the Carnival "fun ships?"
The cruise industry appears out of control to me.