This week hasn't been kind to Royal Caribbean's sister companies from the media front. A passenger on Azamara Club Cruises was left behind in Turkey after breaking a hip and a Celebrity Cruises ship had to cancel the rest of its Alaska cruise season due to problems with its propulsion. All this has the media foaming at the mouth and bringing up every catastrophe at sea since Titanic. Frankly, in thise case I don't think it's justified.
The cruise industry is far from perfect and Royal Caribbean has made its fair share of mistakes but in this case, I really don't blame the company. Because Azamara and Celebrity are owned by Royal Caribbean, Royal Caribbean gets lumped in with headlines like "Now It’s Royal Caribbean’s Turn To Make The Whole Cruise Industry Look Bad" or "Royal Caribbean strands injured American in Turkey".
In each of these cases, I understand why what happened, happened and I think Royal Caribbean made the right decision. In the case of Azamara, I know if I hurt myself or get lost, the cruise ship will leave without me. It's why on any excursion I take I get back to the ship a few hours early so it's not even a remote possibility. But when the unthinkable happens and this poor passengers breaks a hip, unfortunately the ship must go on but they did the right thing by leaving them in a hospital rather than a glorified nurse station onboard the ship.
In the case of Celebrity cruises, the ship cannot move and opted to stay in port to try to make repairs, but when that looked bad, the company decided to cancel the remainder of the cruises for the season in Alaska. They didn't try to push the envelope and see what happened if the ship would leave and risk leaving the ship adrift. Rather, they did the right thing by forgoing profit and making sure the ship got fixed. But of course, the media quickly points to this is "another broken cruise ship".
Let's not forget the media loves stories like this because it's a rating bonanza. They put out ridiculously inflamatory headlines to get viewers/clicks and then scare everyone with these horror stories. And then they list every ship that's ever had problems at sea.
Frankly, I think what we need to recognize as Royal Caribbean fans is that while the news affects our sister companies, it's still a blemish on the crown and anchor's reputation and blown out of proportion, as per usual. This the kind of media hype that makes these stories seem far worse than they are and given the circumstances, I believe Royal Caribbean did the right thing.
The preceeding is an op-ed by Royal Caribbean Blog blogger Matt Hochberg.