104th anniversary of Titanic just 8 weeks after Anthem nearly rolled over with 6,000 souls on board
It’s time to thank the Good Lord.
We all have a lot to give thanks for and especially those souls who were on the recent foolish voyage of the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, which came very close to joining the 1500-plus passengers who went to a watery grave on the RMS Titanic. Sailing the Anthem directly into the path of a powerful storm was something that I believed Royal would never do. The facts show that they lost half of their propulsion. The ship was close to wallowing over and making the Titanic disaster look tame in comparison.
The reporting of the Titanic disaster was challenging, with some aspects of news reports deliberately fabricated, while confusion and miscommunication accounted for other errors in getting the story to readers.
An example: one newspaper reported that the Titanic was “under tow to Halifax to be repaired”; others, including the Washington Post, reported that the ship had transferred all passengers and “All were saved”. In my book, TITANIC 1912, I take a look at the reports of the disaster that appeared in the hours, days, and weeks after the ship went down and explain how the reporters got the story wrong or right and how that happened.
In the case of the Anthem, the cruise line deliberately misled the public about the weather forecasts, had incompetent executives make decisions, and did so, perhaps out of arrogance or just ignorance. Either way, not much has changed from what caused the Titanic disaster or the Costa Concordia.
One Hundred and Four years ago, the White Star Line had arrogant and incompetent executives make decisions about sailing their liners without enough lifeboats for all on board. The Captain of the Titanic made inexplicable decisions to ignore ample warnings about the ice field ahead of his ship and the fire raging in one of the ship’s coal bunkers.
The Royal Caribbean Anthem captain made a decision to either obey corporate masters in Miami to keep to his itinerary or abandoned all accepted practices of seamanship when he decided to leave port in spite of detailed images and weather warnings of hurricane-force winds in his path.
As a regular passenger on Celebrity and Royal ships, my confidence in the firm has been shaken. I have been on their ships when the captains changed course to miss bad weather, resulting in plans being scrapped for port visits. However, the captains made wise decisions.
The public might wait to see if the company provides more than the apologies that they have given so far. A few heads of executives on a platter would be a good start. The glib remarks from some that “only four were injured” are correct but ignore the possibility that 6,000 could have been lost and were endangered for no reason at all.
Royal Caribbean offers unequaled value for travel. The value must include accountability.