I read your recent article in the Conde’ Nast Traveler entitled "Ironically, the Costa Allegra Fire Gives Me More Confidence in the Cruise Line."
You write: "Carnival Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises had major fire outbreaks and not a life was lost."
Perhaps you forgot about my clients’ husband and father, Mr. Richard Liffridge. Mr. Liffridge was sailing with his wife Vicki Liffridge when the fire broke out on the Princess cruise ship, the Star Princess. The fire erupted on a balcony and burned through one hundred cabins. As explained in the LA Times article "Cruise Industry’s Dark Waters:"
Victoria Liffridge recalled that she and her husband crawled along a passageway filled with thick, black smoke as flames shot above their heads. It was "like being in an oven," she said. The couple became separated. ‘The last words I heard him say were, "Vicky, don’t let me die, she said. Victoria Liffridge crawled to safety, only to be told later that her husband had not survived. When she identified his body it was covered in soot from head to toe.
Mr. Liffridge left behind his wife, four children and many grandchildren.
After the fire, Princess Cruises lied to the public, saying that Mr. Liffridge died of a "cardiac arrest," as if his death and the fire were unrelated. This contrasted with his autopsy report that concluded he died in the soot-filled hallway as a direct result of the fire due to inhaling incombustible toxic particles.
Mr. Liffridge’s daughter, Lynnette Hudson, was invited to Congress to testify about the ordeal and the shabby way that Princess Cruises treated her family after the fire.
Carolyn, I realize that the cruise industry has launched an aggressive media campaign to try and salvage its tarnished image with a series of false "talking points" after the Costa Concordia capsizing and the Costa Allegra fire. I am well aware that the cruise lines are asking their travel agents and friends in the media to publish positive articles about the joys of cruising. But lying to the public just perpetuates the cruise lines’ reputation for dishonesty.
Educate yourself. Take a moment and read the MAIB report on the fire that killed Mr. Liffridge. Read our tribute to Mr. Liffridge and take a moment and look at some of the photographs of Mr. Liffridge and his family. Read our article: "Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires: Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything?"
Remember, the motto of the Conde’ Nast Traveler magazine is "truth in travel."
Tell your readers the truth.
March 6, 2012 Update: Although neither Ms. Spencer-Brown nor Conde Nast bothered to respond to us, today Conde Nast corrected the false article with the following statement:
"*Correction: In the original publication of this article, we stated that no lives were lost in the ship fires mentioned. That was incorrect. One death was caused by the Star Princess fire, and per Princess Cruises, the cause of the death was smoke inhalation."
Today, Ms. Spensor-Brown was back to shilling for the cruise lines after a story was published about a NCL cruise line assistant cruise director who was arrested for child pornography and sexually abusing a 16 year old girl. She decided to blame the parents:
"Carolyn Spencer Brown, from Cruise Critic, says typically cruises are very safe. "There’s a lot of checks and balances along the way to keep people as safe as possible . . . You’re still responsible for your child."