Cruise ships are godawful, polluting, floating petri dishes of disease, yet millions of people insist on spending tons of money every year to be voluntarily trapped on one. They call it a vacation. I call it a nightmare. The nightmare was made real on Thursday when the Carnival Cruise ship Carnival Freedom caught fire while docked in Grand Turk, the capital of Turks and Caicos in the Atlantic Ocean.
The fire broke out on the ship’s exhaust ports, according to ABC:
“The Carnival Freedom’s funnel/exhaust system is currently on fire in Grand Turk’s port,” said Blake, a passenger on the Carnival Mardis Gras, which was docked next to the Freedom when the fire started.
Passengers on the ship said they had to assemble at the muster station and put on life jackets. No evacuations were ordered.
Carnival released a statement saying, “Freedom’s emergency response team quickly activated and extinguished a fire inside the ship’s funnel.”
Carnival said that all guests and crew were safe and they were cleared by local authorities to go ashore.
“We are all safe and were able to disembark as planned. As to what happens next, we have no clue,” one passenger said.
Emergency teams were able to extinguish the blaze before anyone was hurt. Passengers were then cleared to leave the ship (which, if a ship is on fire, you’d think getting off the ship would be priority number one, but okay). Passengers were still in the dark on Thursday as to whether they’d be asked to re-board the damaged ship to get to their next destination.
This fire happened to occur the day after a chemical pervaded the Carnival Magic cruise ship and several passengers became sick, according to 13 News Now. The Coast Guard is investigating that event.
So fire and miasmas on top of the ever-present threat of gastrointestinal illnesses, like the extremely contagious norovirus, not to mention other not-fun illnesses that thrive in close quarters, like COVID-19.
The best prevention for gastrointestinal illnesses on a cruise ship is to not board a cruise ship. The next-best thing is to carry hand sanitizer at all times, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leave the area as soon as someone else has vomited or experienced diarrhea. What a relaxing time!
Cruise ships don’t just get people sick, they are making the planet sick as well, as our friends at Gizmodo explain:
Ships dump tons of trash and hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage straight into the ocean. That’s bad for any ecosystem but particularly ones that are already under threat from outside stress. Cruises also contribute to those other stressors, particularly the climate crisis cooking reefs and melting glaciers. A single cruise ship can spew out as much planet-warming carbon as 700 trucks, and as much particulate matter as a million cars.
Cruise ships: not even once.