This week on Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, Minhaj chooses a seemingly lighter topic to discuss – the real price of taking a cruise. Not to ruin your next vacation, but you might want to hear what Minhaj has to say about the cruise industry. Minhaj decided to do this topic because he actually wanted to go on a cruise with his family, but he felt the need to do some research first, which opened his eyes to the other side of the cruise industry. Cruises are incredibly popular – thirty million people will be taking cruises by 2020. They are, as he states at the beginning of the episode, “nonstop fun” that people of all ages enjoy. “Parents can drink, teens can club, retirees can gamble, and Muslims can… we can eat, we can eat! We can’t eat everything, but that’s all we can do!” he announces, chuckling. Cruises are also the one place where vacationers can completely relax while choosing how to spend time and money. Minhaj displays clips from different commercials for cruises so viewers can see what he means – Chip and Dale performing for children on a Disney cruise, families laughing, and tons of food. Does it get better than that? Well, it could if that entertainment didn’t come at a cost.
Cruise lines are constantly trying to better and simplify the process of anything that could potentially be stressful during a cruise. They’ve begun running facial recognition tests on passengers as they board, and even geo-tracking them so that servers can bring drinks and food to them faster. Additionally, Minhaj states that “no matter what you’re into, there is a cruise for you.” He then displays advertisements for the Star Trek cruise, the David Hasselhoff world cruise, the Bare Necessities nude cruise, Church of Scientology Advanced Religious Retreat cruise, and the Kid Rock cruise. While the audience reacts to the laughable Kid Rock cruise, Minhaj says, “It’s like Captain Phillips, but the pirates are the good guys! They show up and they’re like, ‘I’m the captain now’ and everyone’s like ‘Thank God, save us from this greasy scarecrow!’”.
Although cruise lines are attempting to make the experience of their trips more thrilling, they aren’t focusing on what really needs improvement. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise line dominate the cruise industry, taking up eighty percent of the market. However, all of them have done incredibly harmful things to the environment. Many cruise ships dump in and pollute the ocean illegally, which has resulted in more than one hundred million dollars in fines. They are actually allowed to legally dump animal carcasses, food, and more, which is still detrimental to the environment. Additionally, the ships emit three to four times more carbon dioxide than jets, as well as more sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain, than all of Europe’s cars. Plus, they can potentially cause discomfort to their passengers. The fine print on the tickets for Carnival Cruise Lines says that they can enter or search any room at any time, and the Royal Caribbean’s says that they can lock any person in a room if said person is interrupting the pleasure of others on the ship. Norwegian Cruise Line’s fine print says they can’t be held responsible for damages caused by revolution, perils of the sea, a revolt of the crew, and insurrection, amongst other things.
While the passengers of any cruise are very important, it’s also crucial to discuss the safety and treatment of the workers. Cruise workers make about five hundred dollars a month, or a dollar and eighty cents per hour, with no overtime despite working seventy to ninety hours a week. In order to be able to make that happen, they purposely operate out of small countries with weaker tax and labor laws. By doing this, Carnival made more than nine billion dollars in income in the last three years but paid less than two percent in taxes. Crime also goes unjustified at sea as well, because the waters aren’t always controlled under United States law. One woman had her hair grabbed and her head banged against the wall till she was unconscious on a cruise, but by technicality, there was no crime ever committed because they were in unregistered waters. By the time she went to report it on land, they had already let the perpetrator off the boat. Due to occurrences similar to that, Obama passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, which improved safety on cruises related to crimes such as homicide, suspicious deaths, sexual assault and more. The cruise lines often refer to sexual assault as “inappropriate touching” in order to avoid having to report it. Another law relating to crime overseas is the Death on High Seas Act, or DOHSA. DOHSA allows the family members of someone who died on board to sue, but only for the cost of the funeral and whatever the deceased person would have earned over the length of their timeline. Unfortunately, this means children and retirees have “no economic value”. Not that many people get murdered on cruises, but a ten-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy drowned in cruise ship pools, amongst many other young children. The reason they drowned is because most cruises typically don’t have lifeguards, because hiring lifeguards would mean giving up paying passengers. There has been an attempt to change that in order to bring the families of drowning victims to justice.
— Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (@patriotact) August 25, 2019
Towards the end of this episode, Minhaj lightens it up by showing a warning video starring himself, which I found very funny. I would highly recommend watching this episode. Although it was an unexpected topic, it was extremely informative and surprisingly necessary. New episodes of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj can be streamed every Sunday on Netflix and YouTube.
Featured Image via YouTube