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Triumph of the Swill

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • February 14, 2013 - 1:02 PM

British papers can get rather loose and excitable about the facts, which is why this Daily Mail Cruise Ship of the Damned headline seems a tad overblown: Boss of Carnival cruise ship adds insult to misery by going to basketball game as 4,000 suffer aboard 'stinking stricken ship' with urine-soaked carpets and sewage in cabins. If there was a direct correlation between “not going to the game” and “sewage disappearing from cabins" I could understand the jibe.

I’m not saying the Triumph is an old ship, but here’s a promotional handout photo.

 

 

 

 

At a news conference yesterday a company spokesman said that not all the bathrooms had been knocked out by the engine-room fire; there were 22 public bathrooms, and most of those were working. Most.Well. If you look at deck plans of the ship, and you’ll note that the cabin decks have no public restrooms. Most of them are indeed in the public area, fore or after and occasionally midships. And they’re small.

So reports about the conditions onboard are probably correct - hot, smelly, hungry, angry. That also goes for most comments on the news stories, since cruise-ship mishaps always bring out the people who do not like cruise ships and think you should not like them too, unless you’re a stupid fat American but I repeat myself ha ha. Well, I love cruise ships. Standing on your balcony as the ship slides out of a harbor at dusk is one of the joys of life, and I pity anyone who can’t see why some people would enjoy threading through fjords with the knowledge that nothing is required of you that day but your presence at dinner. 

That’s the civilized side of cruising. Getting on a cheap party boat that lumbers around from one hot indistinguishable beach to the other can be a different manner. I like those too. But the bad ones generate some amusing reviews. As with, say, the Triumph.

OK, well first we received a email saying the boat was late and we would leave Galveston about 7. Fine. Reading reviews from the previous cruise it had broke down in progresso over night!

What, it hit a giant soup can? No, it’s a port. Another review:

We were looking forward to the beautiful beaches of Cozumel, and the sparkling turquoise waters, and were sorely disappointed that we ended up in Progresso.....most definitely a "work in progress". An awful port to spend the night at.

Another person complains of the cigarette smoke, and also

The hallway near our room smelled like cat pee. I didn't notice it in the room until the last two days - then it seemed to seep into the room.

The lines and the crowds were terrible. None of us remembered having that many people crowded around the buffet lines on previous Carnival cruises. Did they fit more people in them, or something?

Possibly, yes. I was surprised to see that the Triumph held 3100 passengers. The last cruise I took was on the Nieuw Amsterdam, which is not only longer, it can accommodate 2100 passengers. The Triumph, in other words, really packs them in. 

To be fair: almost any ship will have a slew of bad reviews, because you can’t please everyone, and some people are just finicky pills. Head over to the reviews for the Nieuw Amsterdam, and the people who like Carnival say it’s the “Snootiest ship in the fleet” and a “Floating nursing home.” For example:

The ship is new but it is so cheaply decorated, the walls are empty of art, there is nothing on the whole ship to rest your eyes on -- no paintings, no sculptures, no vases -- nothing. The lobby has one chandelier for decorations; everything else is decorated in dark browns and nursing home like.

This person is - what’s the technical term? Idiot? I think that works. Really, here’s a standard hallway:

 

 

Blue. Red. Those things on the wall? Photos of old ships and bygone scenes of New York. The ship is loaded with art - paintings of the other vessels to bear the name in the fore gangway, Dutch art in the midships stairs, modern art in the aft stairs. And then there’s this:

The ship is built by someone who has never been on a ship in his life and had no idea how the rooms will be used.

Seems likely.

My point: regard these reviews with some skepticism. But oh, how I look forward to reading the reviews after the Triumph gets home and 3,000 people get in front of a computer.

 

WEB A bit of history, revealed: here’s the guy who invented the first banner ad, in 1994. The link contains the ad. “Of those who saw the ad, 44 percent clicked, McCambley remembers.” In 1994, that would be about 137 people.

How things have changed: the humble GIF is not only considered an art form now, it has its own search engine: Giphy.

 Here’s a selection of eight chosen for their art-history connections. Such as:

 

 

 

 

In related news: the Mona Lisa in the Louvre? It might be a copy.

UPDATE: A few days ago we discussed a story from a Russian news site - yeah, I know, there’s the problem right there - claiming an asteroid was due to smack us hard next century. Given the source and the tone, I was inclined to disbelieve it. Vindication arrived yesterday in the following form, from Slate:

The article, originally posted on The Voice of Russia and reposted on Space Daily, is a fascinating mix of fact and error. A lot of what it says is accurate, but the most important claim—that an asteroid will impact Earth in 2106—is simply wrong.

I won't mince words. The headline of the article, "We have 93 years left till the next End of the World: killer asteroid to hit Earth in 2106", is appalling. It's fear-mongering, plain and simple, because it's totally wrong.

So let me be clear, where the article is not: The asteroid in question is real, and it does sometimes approach the Earth, but the odds of an impact in 2106 are so small that they are indistinguishable from zero.

It is appalling, but like I said: Russian media.

Okay, that gif is starting to bug me, too. If you need to leave, I understand. You're excused.

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