News reports tell us that a huge melee broke out around the gangway of a cruise ship in Seattle around 1:30 Sunday morning and that 12 people have gone overboard from cruise ships this year.
But neither of these stories is entirely correct unless you have a very broad notion of what a cruise ship is.
The Seattle incident apparently involved passengers getting off a tour boat that does dinner cruises and the like. The police report called the vessel a “cruise ship” without giving its name. But, as commenters on the news stories pointed out, full-service cruise ships that take people on overnight itineraries don’t dock in the area specified. Cruise ships are rarely in port at 1:30 in the morning, anyway, and it would be very strange for any crowd of people to be disembarking from one at that hour.
I’ve also seen some news reports that conflate the number of people who’ve gone overboard from cruise ships with the number that have gone overboard from ferries. The total, tracked by the CruiseJunkie Web site, is 12 so far this year, but three of those were from ferries or other vessels, not cruise ships.
The cruise industry has had some bad publicity lately over swine flu, passengers overboard and other issues. Some of it may be warranted. But some of it clearly is not.