Friday, February 15, 2013

The So-Called Cruise From Hell

They've dubbed it "The Cruise From Hell."

Last night, Holly and I were glued to the coverage of the Carnival Triumph's return to port in Mobile, Alabama.

Reports coming from the ship throughout the week were awful. News of engine fires, sewage issues, rationed food, and a slow return to land.

One of my mentors, Vann Conwell, had a daughter on the cruise. Prayers were offered up from around the globe for the passengers and crew.

As the ship slowly moved into the view of the media's cameras, everyone was waiting to hear the first-hand reports from those onboard. Based on early reports, things were dim and the television audience looked on waiting to hear all of the gory details.

And as the passengers got off the ship, we heard things like:
-"The crew was wonderful. They went above and beyond the call of duty with smiles on their faces."
-"No, it wasn't ideal, but we got to know crew members and shipmates that we would have never gotten to know otherwise."
-"My friend and I were forced to communicate in ways we usually don't because our cell phones weren't there to distract us."
-"We played card games and made the best of the situation."
-"I could use a warm shower, but it wasn't as bad as reported."
-"People rallied around their faith. Each night, there was a Bible study and a time of prayer."
-"Sometimes it takes a situation like this to remind you what's most important. We take so much for granted."

And the cable news reporters were speechless. The interviews were terrible.


Because the media was prepared for a night covering "The Cruise From Hell" and the passengers interviewed wouldn't allow the pre-created headlines to fit the scene as it unfolded.

The anchors continued throughout the night to ask questions focusing on the negative:
-"Are you going to sue Carnival?"
-"It must have been awful...what was the worst incident you saw during your time onboard?"
-"Will you ever go on another cruise in your lifetime?"
-"What was it like to go to the bathroom in a bag?"

And over and over again, the passengers focused on the positive things they had experienced.

My point is not to diminish the serious nature of what happened onboard the Carnival Triumph. It was an awful situation. If I was onboard, I would have been upset. I hope I could have responded the way those passengers did.

But it was fun to see news anchors squirm with the incredible responses from vacationers who talked about faith, the best of humanity, and a crew paid much too little who served well despite experiencing deplorable workplace conditions.

Somehow, as I scroll through news sites today, "The Cruise From Hell" headlines remain.

But I'm not sure where they got those headlines. Sounds like bad reporting to me!