Sunday, February 24, 2013

Carnival Triumph Analysis: What the Horrific Crash at the Daytona Speedway Teaches Us.

It seems that just about every travel conversation of late at least mentions the Carnival Triumph ordeal.  Frankly, I am pretty tired of it.  A terrible accident yesterday at the Daytona Speedway proved my point.

Just before the finish line there was a terrible accident involving 10 cars (one of which was literally sent airborne).  It was so bad that 28 fans sitting in the stands were injured, three quite seriously.  But...and this is the point...every single driver walked way from the accident, including the driver of the car that went airborne, without injury.

Daytona Speedway Crash - Courtesy of Reuters
So what does this have to do with the Carnival Triumph and cruise ship design?  Absolutely everything. 

This past week, while at the International Forum of Travel and Tourism Advocates (IFTTA) North American Conference we discussed the Carnival Triumph and the points raised in my recent article in Travel Market Report, VIEWPOINT: Let’s Get Real About Cruise Safety

As an example I argued that there is a definite economic component to the safety of any vehicle...including automobiles.  I argued that we have the technology to make our cars far safer than they are and race cars prove the point.  It sort of started with 5 mile per hour bumpers being a safety issue, but too expensive.  Later airbags became the safety issue, but with a cost.  And now it is sacrificial engines (finally) where the engine is collapsed downward rather than forced into the passenger compartment. 

But why, even with these improvements, aren't our automobiles safer?  I mean do you think you could take your present car, have it rammed, lofted airborne and then walk away from the accident?  Didn't think so. But the technology to do it exists!

The answer is simple and two-fold: 

  • You are not willing to pay for it.  It would price of the car you drive would be out of price range.

  • Some of the fancy things you have in your car - if safer - will not fit because of all of the safety equipment.
Turning to the Carnival Triumph, with all of the "experts" claiming that keeping the passengers and crew safe with a fire onboard and essentially no power for days was simply not enough I have to ask:
  • How much more are you willing to pay for your cruise to avoid the issues that happened once in how many thousands of cruises?

  • What amenities (public spaces and in your stateroom) you are willing to eliminate so that all of these safety systems can be installed?
Now, let's talk about the fencing that was supposed to protect those 28 injured fans...28 more than were injured on the Carnival Triumph...No, I don't want to get into how many millions of NASCAR  fans are not injured watching races.  Just sayin'!