This week, the Huffington Post’s home page has been running “6 Reasons To Never Go On A Cruise Vacation.” The post lists the usual stuff: sinking ships and debilitating fires in pirate-infested waters, not to mention fast-spreading viruses and sexual assaults. We’d add reason #7: where buying a ticket forces you to assume all risk for your own safety so nothing’s ever the company’s fault.
Actually, we’ll see how far that argument goes, now that at least one lawsuit has indeed been filed in Florida against Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines and its subsidiary Costa Cruise Line, owner of the Costa Concordia that recently sunk off the coast of Italy. Said one Venezuelan passenger, “Our goal ‘is to get the cruise lines to stop ... spending money on ads that market dream vacations that can't be fulfilled because they invest nothing in security or personnel training.”
I’m guessing Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va), who challenged the industry at Senate hearings yesterday, might add #8: this is an industry of tax dodgers. We learned at these hearings that Carnival Corp., which is incorporated in Panama and is Carnival Cruise Line’s parent company, pays on average only 1.1% in federal, state, local or foreign taxes despite making $11.3 billion in profit. Money they don't seem to be putting into safety.
Earlier, the industry and many members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee insisted the cruise industry is “safe,” but Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) noted, “It’s sort of a warning when you have a fairly new mega-liner hit rocks and sink.”
You might say.