What Kathy Lee Didn’t Tell You About Cruise Ships

Another person has gone missing from a cruise ship — the 62nd person to go missing in the last six years. The 36-year old woman fell overboard on her four-day Carnival cruise to Key West and Mexico.

And best of all, the cruise industry doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass. They’re happy to take your money, force feed you at the interminable buffets, as if to fatten your liver for a nice foie gras, and subject you to musical entertainment that would make your high school drama teacher vomit in terror. But if you fall over the rails, that’s your problem.

Maybe they’ll blame the Bermuda Triangle for their latest problems.

Ohio Woman Missing From Cruise Ship [Washington Post] (via Elliott)

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  1. SharkJumper says:

    Insurance Policy on spouse. Check.
    Cruise Tickets. Check.
    Open air table for two near the rail. Check.

  2. Smoking Pope says:

    Although in this case I’d say the age rules it out, the missing numbers in general are artificailly inflated by seniors who buy a cruise ticket and jump overboard rather than stay at home and stick their head in the oven.

    Still, the cruise companies are remarkably (shockingly) indifferent.

  3. WindowSeat says:

    I’m in the “Cruise as Romantic Suicide” corner. People travel from all over the place to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. It sounds indifferent to say that 62 people in six years is a small number statistically, but short of erecting glass walls ten feet high at the railings, what can the cruise lines do?

  4. racohen says:

    still, 62 people out of how many tens or hundreds or thousands of people on cruises over six years? I’m going on a 20 day cruise at the end of the year and I’m more afriad of getting diarrhea than falling overboard.

  5. d0x says:

    Im sure the cruise line would do something is say…someone fell off, and there was someone around who saw it and notified them that they needed to stop.

    The Ocean is a big place and a cruise ship travels alot of distance in a short period of time. The chances of finding someone who wasnt reported as missing within short time is pretty slim unless the Navy happens to be right around the corner.

    Heres an idea, why dont we all wear GPS tracking bracelets when we go on a cruise then if we blip off the ship they know to turn around!

  6. Smoking Pope says:

    Yeah, what to do? You could put out some sort of infrared beam above the high-water mark but below the railing. If it’s tripped, they know to take a look for flailing arms & legs. Video cameras might help in this regard as well.

    And if you had a boat trail the cruise, you’d be able to scoop someone up without even having to stop the ship.

    Of course the alternative would be to go all Futurama and put suicide booths on board.

  7. DeeJayQueue says:

    or you could say to people, “get off the damn railing, you are NOT kate winslet!”

    seriously, this is the reason we’re all idiots. We’re catering to the lowest common denominator here. “What if someone falls off the ship? what if someone runs with scissors? what if someone sticks a fork in an electrical socket?” Either have common sense enough not to do those things or accept the consequences of your actions.

  8. Smoking Pope says:

    Ahhh, DeeJayQueue, you and I are alike in a lot of ways. Yeah, in general I’m with you. If you want to kill yourself, why should Carnival Cruises have to install million dollar systems to keep you from doing so?

    And if you’re dumb enough to go rail-riding with certain doom below you, well that’s just God’s delicate way of weeding out the morons. (But if you think about Disney Cruises and the number of kids that go on them, that might be a good argument to do it.)

    Anyway, if I ran a cruise company and saw all the negative press over this lately, I’d put a million dollar system on each ship, pass the cost along to the consumer, and use it as a competitive advantage.

    As for sticking a fork in a socket, check out what happened to this nimrod.

  9. homerjay says:

    There are three reasons I can see for people to go overboard:
    1) Suicide- let em go… who cares.
    2) drunkenness – I defer to DeeJay on this one
    3) (said in the most sinister of voices) MURDER!

    It would be interesting to see the statistics on how many of those 62 people are suspected murders.

  10. Smoking Pope says:

    Well, homerjay, I think that’s where a lot of the outrage comes from. The cruise lines are so nonchalant about it that when grieving families demand an investigation, the “trail” is stone cold.

    From a cynical cost-analysis point of view, the cruises could probably protect themselves with a few video cameras, a written process for dealing with passengers gone missing, and a little better PR.

    Why couldn’t this have happened to Gopher, or that twit Doc?

  11. AcidReign says:

    …..People also go missing on shore excursions. Carnival will tell you, “be back at 5:00, ship sails at six;” yet some idiot will stop in at the local tourista margarita joint and miss the boat. Getting home from, say, Playa del Carmen, Mexico with little cash and only your Sign & Sail card would be tricky, I think!

    …..Having just sailed on the Carnival Holiday four weeks ago, I can definitely say Smoking Pope, DeeJay and homerjay are right. No one falls over a 4 foot rail by accident. They were either thrown over it, or were doing something really stupid. If you go overboard and it’s actually reported before you go under, the crew is going to lower the little runabout motorboat they have, and come get you.

  12. pidgeon92 says:

    Cruise ships don’t kill people, people kill people. Quit blaming the cruise industry. It’s no different than falling off a cliff in a park.

  13. “It sounds indifferent to say that 62 people in six years is a small number statistically”

    “still, 62 people out of how many tens or hundreds or thousands of people on cruises over six years?”

    This is what bothers me about these stories/statistics. If a single cruise ship with 3,000 passengers (the largest holds over 4,000) and 1/4 again as many crew, for a total of 3,750 people on board, takes 10 week-long summer cruises, for 30,000 unique passengers or 37,500 people-weeks (including crew who go repeatedly), and one passenger goes missing, how does this compare to a town of 30,000 (or 37,500) over the same period? Does the statistical significance change if you take into account a cruise ship’s self-selecting population?

    Cruise Lines International Association (which claims to report only on the US cruise industry, I don’t know if that means US-based companies or passengers or what, but I infer US-based passengers from their marketing reports), reports that 11 million passengers cruised in 2005. 62 persons over the last six years is about 10 individuals a year – let’s be hard on the cruise companies and make it 11/year – so that’s literally one person in every million that cruises. (Q&D stats without reference to change in yearly passengers or yearly disappearances.) How statistically significant is that? How does it compare to comparably-sized cities, such as Moscow with a 2005 population of 10.4 million, or NYC at 8.2 million? How does it compare to a demographically-similar population of 11 million?

    Not that the cruise companies aren’t shooting themselves in the capatalistic foot by not at least pretending to care what happens to their missing passengers since they’re dealing with a relatively wealthy demographic that’s generally well-informed and has a lot of vacation options. But out-of-context scare stats in news stories tick me off. Churches skew heavy for heart attacks in Europe — because their attendance skews toward the elderly, not because churches cause heart attacks. But you could easily run a headline saying, “Heart attack fatalities in churches 20% higher than in grocery stores!” (Or whatever the stat is) You wouldn’t be inaccurate; just misleading.

    A friend who works as an EMT told me that in an 11-game college football season in a stadium that seats 80,000, with half the games at home, you get 1 heart attack per game, with generally one heart-attack fatality per season. But “University of X football team causes 6 heart attacks during exciting home season!” would make a great headline.