New Year’s Wish: National and Global Unity via more cruise ships

A wealthy (through marriage) and virtuous (through Trump-hatred) friend posted while on a $1,000+/day luxury vacation on Grand Cayman:

I mentioned the fundamental lack of sustainability of any economic ecosystem involving cruise ships filled with passengers interested in snorkeling coral reefs and visiting white sandy beaches. How the destruction of mangrove forests for the sake of resort development will only increase the damage done by future hurricanes, and that it was my hope that tourists not want to visit places with gross wealth disparity between themselves and the local population: the simile is an invasive species that devours resources to (the resources’) extinction before moving on.

This is consistent with a lot of what I’ve seen and heard from elite Americans. They say that they’re upset by inequality. They also say that they hate cruises and they mock cruise ship passengers as obese, uneducated, undiscriminating, and uncouth.

My response:

If you dislike wealth disparity you should welcome cruise ships. They are the cheapest form of vacation. A week on a cruise ship that visits St. Bart’s is cheaper than one night of hotel on that island. (Currently on a Royal Caribbean ship where the cost per person per day is less than $100/day including food, entertainment, and transportation to all of the ports visited.)

Let me devote New Year’s Day, then, to celebrating the cruise concept, which enables people of many different income levels and nationalities to come together and experience the world. Empress of the Seas is the smallest vessel in the Royal Caribbean fleet, but we still had crew from 59 countries and passengers from 39 countries on board. The cost of visiting Cuba via this ship was less than half of the cheapest land-based “person-to-person” tours that I’d ever seen. Roughly 20 percent of the Americans on board were African Americans. Due to the policy of mixing up passengers at tables for eight, I saw more mixed white/black groups in a week on the ship than in a year of dining out in Boston. Retired government workers (loyal Democrats!) conversed politely with working small business owners.

Here I am with a new friend:

(my Facebook friends posted some similar images, minus the golden halo, after each had found one African American friend to join for Black Panther)

One block of cabins on our ship was occupied by graduates of a Taiwanese engineering college enjoying their 60th reunion(!).

Who else, other than Purell sales reps, will be brave enough to join me in hoping that 2019 sees further growth in what has already been a spectacular growth story and a force for national and global unity?

6 thoughts on “New Year’s Wish: National and Global Unity via more cruise ships

  1. You’re a fearless advocate for justice, equality, and national and global unity. With your strong support for cruising, you also help to combat homophobia. I hope your cruise ship serves only organic vegetables, is powered by non-GMO fuel, and has a special education program on-board to engage girls in coding so as to prepare them for careers in STEM fields. Happy New Year!

  2. Sally: I think you’re right on the combatting homophobia. I have yet to meet a heterosexual cruise director!

  3. I’ve spent a fair amount of time – based onshore – in popular cruise ship destinations in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean (Grand Cayman; the Dominican Republic; Malta; Venice; Dubrovnik etc. etc.) I’ve spent several weeks at each of those places.
    Heavy cruise ship traffic does seem to have a big impact on the destinations, with dense crowds at intervals and stereotypical business establishments (t-shirt shops etc). I tried to cope with that by learning to time the cruise ship disembarkations and avoid certain areas during those periods, the locals (aside from people who business it is) do the same. There are still usually cool areas left outside the “cruise ship zone” and I would mainly focus on those, or find destinations which have yet to attract a large volume of cruise ship traffic.
    Glad to hear its a good experience for the people on the boats.
    Anyone else with experiences on “the other side” of a cruise ship destination?

  4. Where I live, people (including me) don’t have the option of considering any of this stuff, these are all arguments rich people are thinking about, including going on a cruise. The people I know are having serious problems and walk to work, and think a monthly trip to 99 a big extravaganza, and we live in Massachusetts. I’m glad you can debate the relative value of cruise trips.

  5. Mixing up sedantary, middle aged passengers at tables of 8 sounds like a horror show of health problems, obesity, & marriage problems. Then, there’s the way dialogue focuses on the alpha male of highest status while the rest end up playing with their phones. At least there were Taiwanese representing the innovative part of the world.

  6. I have never been interested in cruising, but your arguments are persuasive if the goal is just a few days in the sun with diverse acquaintances.
    We are fortunate to have a daughter in London, where we have come for the holidays and a respite from hurricane recovery. The faces in the tube, bus, and shops are quite diverse, and we have the bonus of a family visit with some cultural events and local entertainments. The most monoculture is at Harrods where the crowd (!) seems to be 90% adult/youth children of the privileged in the Middle East.

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