Like most everyone else with a pulse and wi-fi, I followed the Hurricane Harvey news pretty closely. I had two things in particular I was looking out for: 1) what was happening with my friend John, whose neighborhood, The Heights, was largely spared; and 2) what was happening with my friend Michele and her family, who were on a Mexico/Belize/Costa Rica cruise out of Galveston.
John never lost power, and is a regular and quite informative FB poster. So I knew he was okay.
But I was concerned about what was happening with Shelly et al.
I sent a what-up e-mail, which, after a couple of days, Michele was able to answer. (Wi-fi and phone were being rationed on her ship.)
Yes, they’d been impacted. As a result, they’d spent an extra day in Cozumel, and had opted to get dropped off in New Orleans and fly home from there rather than stay onboard for an extended cruise until they could land back in Galveston. They flew home two days later than they’d planned, not to mention that they ended up with a very late night/early morning arrival. But they made it home safe and sound, far more fortunate than the folks who sat next to them at dinner. They lived (or used to) in Rockport, Texas, and had lost their home.
Michele gave high marks to the way the Carnival handled things, in terms of their keeping people informed about what was happening and being very organized about getting people squared away.
Despite the props, it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll ever find myself on a cruise, Carnival or otherwise.
I do entertain thoughts of a European river cruise, where I can see both riverine sides and never find myself more than an hour or two from a city I’d like to see. And an Alaskan cruise might be fun.
My sister Trish has been on a number of cruises, including two cross-Atlantic sailings on the Queen Mary 2, and she very much enjoys going on a cruise. As does my cousin Mary Beth and her SO Dan, who I think have circumnavigated the globe twice in the last few years. My friend, Michele, is also a cruise fan.
But despite having friends and family who like cruising, for the most part, it just doesn’t appeal.
Mostly when I think cruise, I think ‘meh.’
That said, I thoroughly enjoyed a current exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem - Ocean Liners: Glamour, Speed, and Style. Very interesting. (And there until October 9th, if you’re up Salem way. PEM, by the way, is one of the best small museums in the country. Quite wonderful. Plus an excellent shop…)
And that said, I certainly don’t wish any ill on the cruise industry. No norovirus. No ill winds. No more Harveys.
And yet, thar’ she blows: Hurricane Irma, at present a Category 5, on a path to rampage through the Caribbean and onto Florida. And likely to cause tremendous damage wherever and whenever it makes landfall. Not to mention, screwing with the cruise industry.
The Caribbean accounts for 35 percent of the cruise industry’s global, ocean-going capacity, and all three of the largest carriers are headquartered in Miami. Among the countries potentially hit by the storm is Cuba, a new and fast-growing market for U.S. cruises. (Source: Bloomberg)
As a result of Irma on the horizon, cancelled and rerouted cruises, fears about port infrastructure damage, and the cruise cancellations that followed Harvey, those three largest carriers all took a market dive yesterday, with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian losing ground.
Carnival shares fell 3.1 percent to $66.99 in New York, the worst performance this year. Royal Caribbean was down 4.2 percent at the close, and Norwegian slid 3.2 percent..
It could get worse, as the “operators could cancel most if not all of this week’s Caribbean cruises.”
Hurricane season is always problematic for the cruise industry. Who wants to end up in the Poseidon Adventure? With my luck (not to mention age and weight), I’d end up on the lost-at-sea list with the zaftig Shelley Winters, and not as one of the handful of survivors, like the character played by the cute, young, perky, blonde Carol Lynley. You might think “There’s Got to Be a Morning After,” but it ain’t necessarily so.
Anyway, my “small s” sympathies lie with those whose vacation plans are being turned upside down by Irma. Obviously not as bad as losing your home (let alone your life). But a “small d” disaster, nonetheless.
My “Big S” Sympathies are, of course, with those who will be “Big V” Victims of Irma, which sounds truly dreadful.
The cruise stocks will no doubt pop back up a bit – at least for a while. In the long run, however, with weather churning more ferociously and hurricanes increasing in force, shorting those cruise stocks might be the money play. (Share price overboard!)