Column: The cruise ship industry is sinking. I'm OK with that

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line, one of the biggest cruise ship operators, warned this week that the company could go out of business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

See you, fellas.

If weve learned nothing else from the coronavirus catastrophe, its that cruise ships are a breeding ground for nasty, potentially lethal little germs and that the vessels are perfectly positioned to transport those germs around the world.

Moreover, this industry has made plain it cares little for customers loyalty, in many cases denying refunds for canceled trips and instead offering credit for upcoming cruises. Which is to say, a chance to be sickened at a future date.

Sam Davis, professor emeritus of architecture at UC Berkeley, has gone on a couple of cruises with his wife, Joanne. They enjoyed it a lot the dressing up, the dancing, the luxury and convenience.

Now theyre battling with Crystal Cruises over a refund for the $30,000 they paid for a two-week Asian voyage that had been scheduled to set sail in March.

The trip was canceled because of the pandemic. Davis said Crystal offered him a credit for a future cruise between now and 2022.

Hes 74. His wife is 70. Davis told me its very unlikely theyll risk their health on another trip with any cruise line.

We truly enjoyed our previous cruises, he said. But it doesnt seem worth it any longer.

There it is. The cruise industry is offering a service thats clearly attractive to some. But it also represents a possibly grave threat to its customers ....

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