Back in February, when an explosion turned the Carnival Cruise ship "Triumph" into a shit bucket stranded at sea for nearly a week, port officials here said that they didn't think the incident would affect the business of cruise ships in Baltimore, and with the cruise industry having an estimated local economic impact of somewhere near $90 million a year (with 240,000 people catching ships out of Baltimore), we can see why they hoped it wouldn't.
"That whole shit ship thing was a one-off and lowers prices for us," people who continued to book cruises may have said. But then there was a fire aboard a ship in March, and another one last week. The most recent fire, aboard the Royal Caribbean ship "Grandeur of the Seas," caused the ship's 2,000 plus passengers to be flown back to Baltimore with the promise that their next cruise for free. Really? Thanks!
It's hard to imagine any of them will ever go on a cruise again. Because the real question is: Who the hell wants to be out at sea with 2,000 other people and their feces in the first place? The whole thing reminds me (obviously) of David Foster Wallace's brilliant piece of reportage "A Supposedly Fun thing I'll Never Do Again."
When we read Wallace writing about a suicide on a Carnival cruise ship some weeks before his trip, it comes across differently, more melancholic, after the writer's own suicide. But, that depression helped him see something essential about the cruise experience: "There is something about a mass-market luxury cruise that's unbearably sad. Like most unbearably sad things, it seems incredibly elusive and complex in its cause and simple in its effect: on board the Nadir [the name he gave his ship]--especially at night, when all the ship's structured fun and reassurances and gaiety-noise ceased--I felt despair."
Now, add to that despair 2,000 pounds of poop per day for a week (according to Men's Health the average man shits 360 pounds per year--but that average doesn't take into account eating cruise-ship buffets).
So, instead of coming to Baltimore to board a sheisseschiff, why not just visit Baltimore and spend a week having an outrageously good time here?