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EDITORIAL

The News Story That Will Anger Cruise Fans

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Consider this a warning, cruise fans: This story is probably going to make you angry… as well it should. Because it’s yet another example of just how unfairly the industry has been treated, especially when it comes to how it has been covered with regard to the current health crisis.

The Story You Probably Don’t Even Know About

oasis of the seas royal caribbean

Oasis of the Seas (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Imagine if 145 people aboard a cruise ship — let’s call it the S.S. All Aboard — tested positive and were put into quarantine as a result. Within hours, every mainstream media outlet in the country would be breaking out the age-old “floating petri dish” stereotype, politicians would be looking for people to publicly shame, and the Centers for Disease Control would dock the vessel for months and demand new protocols be put in place before anyone could even consider boarding it again.

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We know because this is the scenario that has been playing out ever since early 2020.

And yet Wednesday, I’m willing to bet you haven’t heard about the fact that 145 employees of a single Costco store in Yakima, Washington tested positive.

Why? Because outside the local outlets, this story has been largely unreported. If, however, you did read coverage, you’d find this nugget of info buried within: “All 145 employees that have tested positive are in isolation or quarantine, but the store itself remains open.”

Let me repeat those last few words: “the store itself remains open.”

What Naysayers Will Claim

Have no doubt: Some will say, “Of course Costco can’t shut down… it’s providing a necessary service. The same can’t be said of a cruise ship.” I would argue, however, that every single cruise ship I’ve ever been on has had better cleaning standards than you’ll find in that Costco or any of the other businesses which are routinely being impacted by outbreaks, and yet not given the same pariah-like treatment as the cruise industry.

Do a quick Google search for the words “cruise ship” and, under the “news” tab you’ll find a Bloomberg story about crew member suicides which took place during the early days of the crisis, and a CNN story with the screaming headline, “The 11 Days of Drama at Sea That Changed Cruising Forever.”

Because even now, nearly a year after the events which unfolded on the Diamond Princess, the media is still using the cruise industry as the click-bait friendly face of the health crisis.

ships docked in Nassau

Before the shutdown, it wasn’t unusual to see numerous ships docked in Nassau at once.

None of this is to say that the cruise industry didn’t make mistakes during the early days of the crisis. They did… as did many other businesses. But you’d be hard-pressed to find any other business sector which has been held to the standards to which the cruise industry is now being held.

But think about this the next time you go to Costco or a movie theater or that local restaurant whose owner is worried about the survival of his business: Is there anybody out there watching them with the eagle-eye that’s being kept on the cruise industry, which, again, already had a far higher standard when it comes to the protocols that were in place before the health crisis began?

Is the media beating them repeatedly about what’s unfolding now, let alone events that took place nearly a year ago?

Yeah, I thought not.

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