Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rant #991: Pit Cruise

My family and I have been on two cruises over the past three years, and we hope to go on another cruise maybe in 2015.

We really have enjoyed these cruises.

As people told us for years prior to us ever going on a ship for a vacation, it really is the ultimate vacation.

Everything is done for you to make you feel like a king or a queen for a week, or however long you take the cruise for.

And, of course, you go to places you probably wouldn't go to if you weren't on a cruise.

It is very, very relaxing.

And yes, we took Carnival ships both times.

Carnival has been under the microscope because they have had a number of horrible incidents which have led to passengers being very, very unhappy.

During the past year or so, there have been several major malfunctions on board several of the ships, and it has come out into the open that Carnival hasn't been keeping up on the maintenance of many of its ships.

Now, a report has come out that bookings are way, way down this year, directly because Carnival has gotten a really, really bad name in the industry.

They have gotten not only a bad name because of maintenance issues, but word is also out--whether true or not--that their workers are not paid well, meaning not the "star" people, but the cleanup people, the maintenance people, the lower-echelon workers on these ships.

Some claim that they are almost slave labor, or at the best, indentured servants.

Look, no matter what your feelings on Carnival--and their pretty vapid damage control--they are not going out of business.

They control a large percentage of the ships that cruise around the world, under a variety of different names, not just Carnival.

Second, most people taking Carnival cruises, like my family, have never had the least bit of a problem with them.

I think the only thing that didn't work the last time we cruised with them was one, single elevator.

We did notice some differences between our first cruise and our latest cruise.

We thought that we were nickel and dimed for just about everything, and there were one or two incidents where, quite frankly, we did have to ask some questions that we didn't have to ask on the first cruise.

But, nonetheless, we had a good time the second time around, and we look forward to our third go-around.

Look, cruise ships have been under scrutiny since the days of the Titanic.

Notice that none of these ships fly under the flag of the United States; it's always some other country.

I am not going to directly say that other countries don't have as high standards as we do here, but I guess that is true, so when you are sailing under a different flag, different rules apply.

Knowing little about this industry as I do, I have always wondered why an American ship line doesn't exist.

But on the other hand, I think the all-around standards would be so high that such a line would not be feasible--and it would probably cost passengers an arm and a leg to cruise with such a line, which is not the message the industry wants to put out.

Anyway, my family has never had any huge problems with Carnival, so we will cruise again, although we are looking into other cruise lines this time around.

So, my advice to you is if you plan to cruise, do it with confidence, but shop around.

You want to make this cruise your "cruise of a lifetime," and now, with the industry under incredible scrutiny, you can probably get some amazing deals.

Take advantage now, because you don't know how long this is going to last.

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