I am fascinated regarding what travel writers and cruise experts write about these days.
Gene Sloan’s blog on USA Today called CruiseLog features a debate on which Royal Caribbean cruise ship is bigger, the new Allure of the Seas or the Oasis of the Seas. I suppose comparing the gargantuan Excess of the Seas with the monstrous Indulgence of the Seas (with over 12,000 passengers and around 500,000 tons between the two of them) is a fair enough topic. It is perfectly emblematic of the cruise industry’s grotesque view of environmental consciousness and sustainability.
And a cruise blog in a U.K. newspaper, Captain Greybeard, by John Honeywell, focuses admiringly on the CEO of Royal Caribbean, Richard Fain, pocketing $6,000,000 after selling a small portion of his large cruise stock portfolio.
Neither of these popular travel blogs contain any insight into these stories. For example, CEO Fain profited millions of dollars by slashing employees from the company’s payroll and terminating medical benefits for hundreds of injured and ill crew members.
Unfortunately, pandering to the cruise lines is a full time job for some travel writers and cruise bloggers. They do not want to offend their friends at the cruise lines who invite them on cruises for free. Well, it is not really free, if you consider the is a quid pro quo – free cruises for free publicity.
This is a subject I have touched upon before:
Travel Writers and the Ethics of Reporting Cruise News
Cruise Crime and the Indifference of Travel Writers
There are plenty of interesting issues affecting cruise passengers that these type of writers avoid at all costs. For example, on Monday I wrote about a British passenger who became stuck in a Mexican hospital with a $125,000 bill after suffering a heart attack during a cruise on a Princess cruise ship. Cruise lines like Princess have contractual arrangements with the local port agents and hospitals to take care of their crew members when they are ill. If one of the Princess crew members had a heart attack, the cruise line would pay only a fraction of what the British passenger is facing. Cruise lines and port hospitals look at sick passengers as profit centers.
You will not see cruise writers cover a story like this or anything controversial. They will write happy stories about big cruise ships and millionaire cruise executives. But they will look the other way when a sick cruise passenger is saddled in debt and stuck in a Mexican hospital.