Loathsome nanny-state Senator saves America from evil cruise ships

The cruise line industry has taken a few black eyes recently, particularly Carnival Cruises. Between their recent “poop cruise” media fiasco and the couple of subsequent, lesser malfunctions, the company has manged to become seemingly endless fodder for late night jokesters. Mechanical malfunctions and a bored cable media machine have turned it into one of the must cover topics of the winter. But fear not, America! Your tax dollars are hard at work making sure you’re covered. As Hot Air Green Room alumnus Howard Portnoy reports, New York Senator Chuck Schumer is on the job. (From the AP via the NY Post)

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the cruise ship industry to adopt a ‘bill of rights’ to guarantee passengers certain protections while aboard their ships.

The New York Democrat says Sunday he’ll be asking industry leaders to voluntarily adopt the guidelines which include guarantees that ships have sanitary conditions, back-up power, medical staff and other standard procedures.

Schumer’s plan would also include the right to a full refund if a trip is abruptly canceled due to mechanical problems. [Emphasis added]

As Howard points out, most of the demanded protections and assurances would have had no impact on the recent troubles the cruise line has run up against. The ships already have back-up generators and the sanitary conditions in such confined spaces are as good as they can be if you lose some of the essential infrastructure. And trust me… I was on an aircraft carrier for several years. Things break there too. The Brits have a very old saying for a reason: worse things happen at sea.

Plus, while there will always be a couple of people who bring a lawsuit any time they smell the opportunity of a big payday, many of the passengers told tales of a crew which bent over backward to make things as pleasant as they could and kept the mess in check as much as possible. Further, the cruise lines really don’t need Schumer’s help on this one. They live and die by customer service and tend to go above and beyond to make things right for the passengers. The recent batch in the story above were offered full refunds, cash incentives and free future tickets.

Even if they weren’t doing back flips in an effort to take care of the passengers, we still wouldn’t need the nanny state to intervene. The free market will take them out of the hunt fast enough if this is really some sort of endemic problem with a particular provider. But that’s probably not the case here.