You've probably read most of the horrors experienced by the passengers on the ill-fated Carnival Triumph, currently being towed to Mobile, Alabama, after an engine-room fire disabled the ship's generators on Sunday. By all accounts the situation can only be described as heinous. But it gets worse…
Among the nightmarish conditions: nonworking toilets, odors so overpowering that people are vomiting everywhere, so little food that passengers must stand in line for hours in the hopes of getting nothing more than an onion sandwich, and sewage "sloshing" in the hallways and seeping through the walls! And yet few media are reporting an equally horrifying (though unconfirmed) bit of news: The ship may have stopped serving alcohol.
All right, I understand why they might want to do that—at least in the immediate wake of the fire. After all, if the crew needed to abandon ship, the last thing they'd want is thousands of inebriated holiday-makers attempting decampment via lifeboat. But once the ship got some minimal emergency power back on, as it did, and it became clear that this would merely be the Voyage from Hell and not a life-or-death event, couldn't they have turned the liquor faucet back on?
An email I sent to Carnival Cruise Lines today on this subject wasn't returned in time for this post, so in the spirit of investigative journalism (Google), I managed to find this quote from the New York Times, which seems to contradict the no-alcohol-available comments I found on the message boards at Cruise Critic: "I got a text from her last night," Steven Peery told the paper, referring to his wife, a passenger. "She said they were playing music and giving away free liquor." Hey, sounds like fun!
Free drinks are great, but all in all, I'd rather pay for Carnival's limited, but still generous, booze package if I could avoid navigating through sewage sloshing in the hallways.
Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter at @orwoll.