Cruise ship issues in Europe dominated the world of cruise news this week. An explosion in the engine room of the Nordlys cruise ship, operated by Hurtigruten, resulted in a fire and the evacuation of the ship off of Norway. Half of the 200 or so passengers were evacuated in lifeboats and the other half got off the cruise ship when the vessel was towed to port. All passengers were safe but unfortunately two 2 crewmembers died and many were injured. Whenever a cruise ship explodes or catches on fire, there is always a cruise / travel columnist who feels compelled to publish an article insisting that such cruise calamities are rare. This time it was Jane Archer, a cruise fan and columnist who writes for the Telegraph Travel. Her puff piece article Hurtigruten Fire: How Safe is Your Cruise? claims that "incidents like this are few and far between." The problem with this claim is that just last year an engine room fire caused the evacuation of over 600 passengers and crew in Norwegian waters. That incident involved the German cruise ship Deutschland. And just last November a cruise ferry, the Pearl of Scandinavia, erupted in fire off of Norway while filled with cars and passengers (photo left). Ms. Archer somehow overlooked these two recent cruise ship fires in Norwegian waters. Cruise ship fires are not as uncommon as cruise columnists may want you to think. Take a moment and read Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires – Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything? The other big development in Europe involved the parents of missing Disney Cruises youth counselor Rebecca Coriam meeting with the U.K. Shipping Minister to discuss enacting legislation to permit the U.K. to become involved in the investigation when British citizens disappear on foreign flagged cruise ship around the world. Mike and Ann Coriam of Chester England are understandably upset with the lack of information from the cruise line and the single policeman from the Bahamas who is charged with investigating the disappearance. While the Coriam family was working to make cruising safer for the U.K. public, another cruise passenger disappeared from the Fred Olsen Balmoral cruise ship. Last year, the Balmoral was dubbed the "Cursed Cruise Ship of the High Seas" following a series of norovirus bouts which sickened hundred of passengers and crew. We reported on the unexplained disappearance of another passenger from the Balmoral last year. The Balmoral also narrowly averted disaster when it was attacked by pirates last year. On a lighter personal note, the season finally started for my younger son's JV football team. Gulliver was trounced by rival Belen Jesuit, but my son got to play running back, split end and corner back. He ran across the field and got a big hit on Belen's running back at the one yard line to save the touchdown. Watch the play to the end! Photo credits: Pearl of Scandinavia – AFP Video – richardsalinas29 youtube
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