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 Travel Writer - Cruise Writercruise 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.  

  • Chris Owen

    Gene already knows Allure is a gnats a** longer than Oasis and Captain Greybeard, to me anyway, wasn’t exactly singing Fain’s praises…its a British attitude thing of some sort; they poke fun at people with power and money but they kinda sorta mean it. I remember a whirlwind tour of London on a double-decker bus. The guide had that attitude, pointing out houses where wealthy people lived with a bit of disdain.

    On the guy that had the heart attack and got thrown off the ship because of it along with a $5000 bill from sick bay? I feel like I’m getting half the story. I’ve been researching similar events since Monday and there sure are more than a few cases like what you describe. I just can’t seem to find evidence that the cruise lines are doing anything wrong by treating the emergency then taking them to the closest fully equipped medical facility.

  • Thanks for the comment Chris. CruiseLog is the most popular cruise blog out there but Gene Sloan needs to take advantage of his position and cover some stories with an critical eye toward helping cruise passengers. Same is the case with Captain Greybeard.

    The “guy” with the heart attack is a lady from Britain who the cruise line charged $5,000 for an overnight stay and then handed her over to the Mexican hospital administrators who are the pits. No one should pay for a luxury cruise and end up with a $125,000 bill (and rising) from a Mexican hospital. Cruise lines can negotiate with the local hospitals in ports in places like Cabo and protect their passengers, just like they negotiate hospital rates for crew employees.

  • Franz Neumeier

    Jim,

    maybe it’s my European attitude, but don’t you think a proper health insurance is something the traveler himself is responsible for? I do have an additional insurance that covers all expenses abroad and will even fly me back home to Europe in a medical jet. This insurance costs me just a small fracture of what I pay for the cruise itself. With all respect for the passeiger mentioned in your article – but isn’t it just bluntly stupid to travel abroad without a proper health insurance?

    And imagine what would happen when the cruise line DOES NOT send a passenger with a heart attack to the next available hospital (even if it’s in Mexico) and the passengers passes away while being treated in the onboard hospital instead. Wouldn’t it be you laywers being the first to sue the cruise line for millions of dollars for NOT sending the passenger to a hospital? Wouldn’t it be you laywers claiming that the doctor on board was not experienced enough and didn’t have the equippment to treat a heart attack properly and hence should have sent the passenger to a hospital?

    Laywers make their living out of blaming everyone else but their customers for the craziest stuff. Shouldn’t you mention in your attack on the travel writers as well, that you’re following your personal financial interests as much as you’re imputing to do so to Gene Sloan, Capt. Greybeard and others?

  • Rob Fish

    The which is bigger storey started by RCC, in the online captains video log of the Allure of the Seas Capt Hernan Zini claimed the Allure was 5mm longer that the Oasis.

    http://www.oasisoftheseas.com/ivideo.php?embed=1xaTRzMTrlUYuaQCIC_p6br1gPMEIR39#ooid=1xaTRzMTrlUYuaQCIC_p6br1gPMEIR39

  • Franz:

    You are a cold person to call a sick lady stupid. Also, she had insurance but it refused to pay.

    In the U.S. legal system, cruise lines are not liable for the medical negligence of the shipboard doctors and nurses. Also, if the passenger had died due to a heart attack and medical negligence on the cruise ship, the Death on the High Seas Act would preclude any recovery for retired passengers (or children for that matter).

    So I have no “personal financial interest” in a case like this at all.

    You should have disclosed in your comment that you write a cruise blog.

    What safety and health tips do you provide to your readers in Europe about shipboard medical issues?

  • Jim:

    >Also, she had insurance but it refused to pay.

    That of course throws a different light on this case; shouldn’t the story then be asking why the lady’s insurance refuses to pay instead of blaming the cruise line?

    >You should have disclosed in your
    >comment that you write a cruise blog.

    It doesn’t make any difference, but yes, I’m writing a cruise blog here in Germany.

    >What safety and health tips do you provide
    >to your readers in Europe about shipboard
    >medical issues?

    I’m just questioning the practice of blaming the cruise line for everything that happens on their ships. If the law, as you mentioned, is not sufficient, then ask for the law to be changed and don’t blame the cruise line for it. If the insurance in this case refuses to pay, sue the insurance and don’t blame the cruise line.

    I’d be happy to get in contact with you by e-mail, if you like, to get a better insight in the practices of cruise lines regarding medical care of passengers and crew and what can be done for improvement.