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Authors: Ross A. Klein

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Cruise Ship Blues: The Underside of the Cruise Ship Industry

BOOK: Cruise Ship Blues: The Underside of the Cruise Ship Industry
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CRUISE SWIP

Ross A. Klein

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR
CRUISE SHIP BLUES

The cruise line industry has a $500 million annual advertising budget. The environment, workers and customers of the industry have Ross Klein.

It’s a more even contest than you might imagine.

— Robert Gibson,
Alternatives Journal

Cruise Ship Blues
is a mine of information about what’s changed, what hasn’t, and what should change in the cruise industry. No cruise charm, no dull travel destination talk, no self-serving claims of corporate responsibility — just sobering, informative, often entertaining, first-person accounting, meticulously researched. Sure to become an indispensable primer for anyone considering a cruise vacation, and a must-read for all those who endeavor to preserve the ocean realm.

— Coralie Breen, CEO/President, Oceans Blue Foundation

Come aboard the first in-depth examination of the international cruise industry, and find out why advocates for social justice, fair labor practices, equitable tax laws, environmental protection, and competent medical care have started paying attention to the ship “on the other side of the curtain.” Klein's below-deck tour scuttles the “Love Boat” myth and exposes the fragile foundation supporting a multi-billion dollar industry...

— Gershon Cohen, Ph.D., Project Director, Campaign to Safeguard America’s Waters, Earth Island Institute

For anyone who’s ever been seduced by the cruise industry’s slick ads, Ross Klein's fascinating expose will make you think twice before booking your next voyage.

The industry’s dirty, dangerous and deceptive practices are more reminiscent of the Exxon Valdez than the “Love Boat,” replete with scandalous tales of toxic pollution and bungled cover-ups, utter disdain for passenger health or safety, and above all, lurid accounts of greed trumping human and environmental welfare.

This book causes outrage.

— Russell Long, Ph.D., former America's Cup Skipper, Executive Director, Bluewater Network

Behind all the hype and glitz of luxury cruising, there is a real story, told here by Ross Klein, whose expertise is founded on the personal experience of thirty cruises. Here “the underside of the industry is brought into daylight.” Klein's readable and authoritative volume may not dim your enthusiasm for cruising, but it will open your eyes to a very troubling corporate culture that abuses both customers and workers, and threatens the environment; and it may save you some money.

Forewarned is fore-armed.

—    Paul Chapman, author of
Trouble on Board, the Plight of

International Seafarers

Cruise Ship Blues
...is well written and full of hard to get information for anyone — cruise lovers included.

It shows how millions of relatively privileged individuals engage — mostly unreflected — in socially and ecologically unsustainable recreational behavior.

A sustainable future would call for “soft tourism,” implying that the wasteful, environmentally and socially damaging cruise industry be downsized...

—    Isidor Wallimann, co-editor of
On the Edge of Scarcity: Environment, Resources, Population, Sustainability, and Conflict

CRUISE SHIP

BLUES

THE UNDERSIDE OF THE CRUISE INDUSTRY

ROSS A. KLEIN

 

New Society Publishers

 

Cataloguing in Publication Data:

A catalog record for this publication is available from the National Library of Canada.

Copyright © 2002
by Ross A. Klein.

All rights reserved.

Cover design by Diane McIntosh. Larry Mulvehill, © Corbis Images.

Printed in Canada by Friesens. Second Printing.

Paperback ISBN: 0-86571-462-2

Inquiries regarding requests to reprint all or part of
Cruise Ship Blues
should be addressed to New Society Publishers at the address below.

To order directly from the publishers, please add $4.50 shipping to the price of the first copy, and $1.00 for each additional copy (plus GST in Canada). Send check or money order to:

New Society Publishers

P.O. Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC V0R 1X0, Canada 1-800-567-6772

New Society Publishers' mission is to publish books that contribute in fundamental ways to building an ecologically sustainable and just society, and to do so with the least possible impact on the environment, in a manner that models this vision. We are committed to doing this not just through education, but through action. We are acting on our commitment to the world's remaining ancient forests by phasing out our paper supply from ancient forests worldwide. This book is one step towards ending global deforestation and climate change. It is printed on acid-free paper that is
100% old growth forest-free
(100% post-consumer recycled), processed chlorine free, and printed with vegetable based, low VOC inks. For further information, or to browse our full list of books and purchase securely, visit our website at:
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New Society Publishers

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Inaugural Sail: An Introduction to the

THE INAUGURAL SAIL: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CRUISE INDUSTRY

S
ailing the seas onboard A cruise ship, the days filled with luxury and pampering, perfect weather, glorious food, and impeccable service ... it’s a dream vacation. What could be better than lounging on the deck of a floating resort, soaking up the sun, indulging in whatever fits your mood?

That image is what sells cruises. But do the people sitting in the sun, sipping those margaritas, realize the environmental and social cost of this indulgence? Are those passengers aware of the environmental practices of the cruise industry, of the lifestyle of the servers and staff aboard the ship, of the risks to safety and security that are part of everyday life on a cruise ship? The answer, unfortunately, is: likely not.

Most people who go on a cruise put anything that interferes with their vacation out of their mind. They are unconcerned about the pollution left in the ship’s wake, or about employees working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 10 to 12 months straight, at incomes below minimum wage. Nor do they give a thought to the risk of illness from food or injury from an accident. This is the part of the cruise experience that’s left out of the brochures. It’s not part of a cruise passenger’s reality, but trust me, it exists.

IS THE CRUISE INDUSTRY SUSTAINABLE?

Cruise Ship Blues: The Underside of the Cruise Industry
is guided by a simple question: is the cruise industry sustainable? The answer to this question has many parts. For example, is the industry environmentally sustainable? In other words, does the cruise industry treat the environment in such a way that leaves it undamaged? As well,

the facts behind the hidden lifestyle of shipboard workers and the cruise industry’s economic record cast doubt on whether the industry is socially and morally sustainable. The answers to these questions, for many of us, are not encouraging. The fact is that the cruise industry has historically shown a disregard for the environment, for the welfare of its workers, and even for the well-being of its paying passengers. That is the focus of this book.

AN INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

Cruise ship vacations are the fastest growing segment of leisure travel. Since 1970 the number of people taking a cruise has increased by more than 1,000 percent. In North America the increase has been fivefold — from 1.4 million to almost 7 million passengers — over the 20-year period from 1980 to 2000. Worldwide, more than 12 million passengers boarded cruise ships in the year 2000.
1

This growth pattern is expected to continue. Passenger capacity will increase by almost 50 percent from 2001 to 2005, between 8 and 15 percent annually. In February 2002 the cruise industry had on order 36 ships with more than 71,000 berths at a cost of $12.5 billion.
1
By the end of 2002, 12 new ships will have been introduced with accommodations for more than 20,000 additional passengers. In 2003 14 more ships will be added, with berths for another 30,000 passengers. Expect a further 10 new ships with accommodations for over 25,000 more passengers in 2004.
2

Between 2000 and 2006, the industry will have increased its capacity by more than 100,000 beds. To put the scale of this growth into vivid perspective, consider that in 1981 the North American segment of the industry accommodated approximately

41,000 passengers. By 2006 that number is expected to exceed 260,000, according to the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA). Actual numbers are likely much higher since these figures are based on two people per room; many rooms can accommodate three or four passengers.

EXPANSION AND CONSOLIDATION

While the cruise industry’s capacity is increasing, the number of companies in the marketplace is shrinking. There are two reasons for this.

Bankruptcies

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