Trouble in Paradise

Sometimes the times that are supposed to be the most relaxing can end up being completely the opposite, if not for us, then for others. Image courtesy of (

David Disney, Lode Writer

I think it is a built-in urge for people to try and adventure. The grass is always greener on the other side, after all. There is one problem though: it isn’t very comfortable to walk for miles, or sail on a boat for weeks. Naturally, people would try and capitalize on this fascination for the exotic. What happens, however, when these luxury getaway companies fail to keep their promise of a fun adventure on the seven seas?

The idea of a catastrophe on a cruise or some other getaway is particularly interesting to me. I’ve always loved stories of survival in the wilderness, but what happens when hundreds, if not thousands of unprepared people are put in a situation none of them could have expected?

Let’s go back to February of 2013. The Carnival cruise ship Triumph is set to take a four-day cruise around the Gulf of Mexico. Thousands of people boarded the boat, ready to experience a sun-drenched paradise on the open ocean.

Sadly, what they experienced was an awful lot grosser than any of them bargained for. 150 miles off the coast, the ship broke down, stranded in the ocean. With very limited power, and no functioning toilets, the 4,000 people on board were essentially all together on a desert island.

Now, there really was not too much danger of anyone starving or dying of thirst. However, people still have certain functions we all do. Remember when I said all the toilets were nonfunctioning? Well, it turns out a mass of scared people are not only irrational but downright gross. There are accounts from passengers saying walls and hallways more resembled a sewer than a luxury liner.

The good news is the whole cruise only lasted eight days, and the passengers all got back to dry land relatively safe. However, this does not mean we can forget about the way people can act when they are scared. Fight or flight is a powerful instinct. It means in situations like these, people care only about making sure they and their family get what they need.

If we want to see how people can act when they arrive at a place expecting luxury only to face woefully unprepared resources, we only need to look at the Fyre Festival. For those out of the loop, a couple years ago some people thought it would be a good idea to have an ultra-luxury music festival on a secluded Caribbean island. Long story short, they didn’t get a secluded island, but they did get a corner of an already inhabited island.

I’ll skip the details on how big of a mess this whole situation was and get right to the nitty-gritty. Over four thousand people arrived on an island that was completely unprepared to support them. The housing they had been promised was also completely below the standards even a camping tent would provide since the tents provided all had holes in the roof.

Overnight, the island was now flooded with thousands of rich kids, all stranded (and drunk) on an island. Predictably, all hell broke loose as island-based catering staff scrambled to provide food for the crowd. Unlike with the Triumph, however, I don’t have much sympathy for the festival goers at Fyre. I instead have empathy for the inhabitants of the island, who worked for months (some without pay) only to be rewarded with a crowd of drunken partiers.

I think this really sums up how people act when they arrive at a situation they were in no way prepared for. We tend to act badly, forgetting most of the manners we learn in our day-to-day lives. If there was any lesson to take away from this, it would be to never take for granted the privileges most of us enjoy and to keep a cool head when times get rough.

*Note: This article ran April 11