I’m not planning on taking another cruise, ever. My reluctance in such indulgence has nothing to do with the ruined ship, Costa Concordia, resting on its starboard side in Italian waters off the island of Giglio -- Giglio Porto, Italy. The Costa Concordia was operated by a company owned by Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines.
For the record, parent company Carnival dominates about half of the cruise market and from personal experience they’re service is superior. You know they’re embarrassed over the capsized luxury liner, the reported actions of the ship’s captain and saddened over the lost souls.
The most recent experience I encountered (not a Carnival ship) on a short, four day -- three night excursion to the Bahamas was more than enough reason to never again spend money on the floating hotel rooms. I’ve told my family that any future cruises they choose to enjoy, I’ll support them, wish them bon voyage and fly to meet them at a designated port-of-call.
Having made wonderful memories of stops in Mexico, the Grand Cayman Islands and Jamaica in years past, our last speedy venture from Cape Canaveral to Freeport punctuated future cruising activity for this land lover. It wasn’t anything the captain or crew did or didn’t do; it was all weather related and the turbulence provided for an adventure filled evening of seasickness.
When the seas are churned by Mother Nature’s winds, then it is my constitution that is turned by the tumultuous motion of the ocean.
If there’s any group of people I openly envy, it is you folks who do not suffer from kinetosis; the sickness associated with movement from roller coasters, cars, trains, planes and especially boats. I’m one of the 33 percent of people who are susceptible to the illness, but fortunately, not one of the few that is most severe. (One friend of mine can’t even ride in the back seat of a car.)
Needless to say, it took strong medication from the cruise ship’s infirmary to give rest to the weary.
Once we returned to Florida and docked, I was overjoyed to see Cocoa Beach and soundly walk on dry ground again. That endless dizzy feeling was the worst I’d ever felt and realized how passengers really are dependent on the captain and crew to maintain their bearings, literally.
I made a vow then and there that no future deep sea fishing excursions or “pleasure” cruises were on my future vacation itineraries.
It wasn’t until this week’s story regarding the mayhem Captain Francesco Schettino allegedly caused when he ran his vessel aground that I stopped and considered all that travelers surrender to any cruise ship company.
A story from Reuters detailed the significance of the contract vacationers “sign” when we purchase a ticket. If you’re like most consumers, especially planning a retreat at sea, why would we stop to study the more than a dozen pages of a legal document? Nothing will happen, right?
The tale of the Concordia may be the reason you read the disclosures on your next booking. Days ago, Joseph Goldberg, a Pennsylvania based consumer attorney hired by Reuters, reviewed the ticket contract obligation passengers are under once they’re booked on a Carnival Cruise. The contract appears on the company’s website. The report by Linda Stern points out the legalese runs about 8,000 words and mentions “liability” 20 times.
There are a number of cogent points everyone should consider when purchasing future tickets. Most of these rights passengers aboard the Costa Concordia signed away will be blown out of the water (no pun intended) by trial lawyers that specialize in representing cruise passengers.
The extreme nature of the ill-fated ship will have attorneys from Carnival and victims of the incident in court for years. All the impending motions from the legal teams will be enough to cause a bad case of kinetosis.
Kenny Burgamy serves as a marketing consultant and is co-host of the Kenny B. Charles E., TV, radio and Internet program.