As far as I’m concerned, to paraphrase Samuel Johnson, a cruise is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned, or at least having uncontrolled vomiting and diarrhea. Nobody died on Carnival Triumph, and the CNN breathless coverage was over the top, but it’s typical that the cruisers have no recourse:
[…] [T]he ability of passengers to sue cruise ship operators is sharply limited, lawyers said.
Tickets issued by Carnival and other companies contain language limiting how much a passenger can recover and also set the location of the court where any lawsuit filed can be filed. The location typically suits the company involved, said Vincent J. Foley, a lawyer in New York who specializes in maritime cases.
People who shit in bags, had to live in a tent city on the deck of a ship, and ate buns with ketchup because food ran out are going to get what Carnival chooses to give them: a refund on their cruise and a voucher for another cruise. I’m sure this group will take advantage of that generous offer, because they’ll want to re-live their sun-filled vacation on the Triumph. Of course, there’s no guarantee that they’ll have the all-inclusive port-a-pottie experience next time, but if they’re lucky, they might spend time locked in a toilet fighting norovirus.
Carnival is a company headquartered in Miami that registers its ships in the free-market paradises like the Bahamas, and they don’t pay taxes because they are considered exporters. They make most of their money from Americans, and they have a track record of diarrhea and death. In a sane world, the government would be working to put them out of business. In this world, they’ll continue to have fires, spread disease and run aground, without excessive tax burden, just as Hayek would have wanted it.