Letters to the Editor

Letters from the issue of February 10, 2000

 Captains Outrageous
The ugly truth behind Carnival's glamorous billion-dollar cruise business
By Kirk Nielsen, Tristram Korten, and Ted B. Kissell
Carnival: Same Old Same Old
The "Captains Outrageous" articles by Kirk Nielsen, Tristram Korten, Ted B. Kissell, and Jim DeFede (February 3) were well done, but as usual nothing will be done about the situation with Carnival Cruise Lines. Public officials and corporate leaders know that if they just ignore such revelations they will go away, and the general public will forget about them.

I caught one error. In Kirk Nielsen's segment ("The Perfect Scam"), he stated that Congress was controlled by Republicans in 1993. Nope. Democrat Tom Foley was Speaker of the House and Bob Dole was minority leader in the Senate in 1993. Republicans did not win the congressional elections until 1994, and took control in 1995.

Gordon L. Hudson

Carnival: Lowly Foreigners Don't Count
What makes you think Miamians are going to care about people from other countries who work for Carnival Cruise Lines when most Miamians don't give a rat's behind about each other? Just look at the way people of color are treated in this town. Just look at the way people drive. The only activism seen in this town is the mad dash of most to obtain nirvana or sensuality or physical pleasure at the cost of another's pound of flesh.

Miami is anti-intellectual. Many of its residents are like cows, conscious only of whatever object or sensation happens to be staring them in the face at the time. This is a town where a BMW's fender may very well be worth more than a limb.

Please don't talk to me about Micky Arison. He is merely giving the people of Miami what they want, and he is just one among many pariahs.

Manny Losada

Carnival: World-Class Shipocrytes
Aside from Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Puerto Rico, the leading opponents of efforts to legalize and tax casino gambling in Florida are the cruise lines, which makes them the foremost hypocrites of all! They have a tax-free income. Their ships are all registered in foreign countries, so they don't pay one cent of their billions in profits to federal, state, or local governments.

Adding to this insult is the way the cruise industry handles tourists arriving at our airports. They are transported directly to the cruise ships and never spend a penny in the local economy. Tourist figures are always inflated because these people are counted in the total while never actually touching our land.

The environmental record of cruise ships in some areas in horrendous. They pollute our local waters and the ocean. And forget the fines levied against some of them for polluting; they're no more than a mosquito bite on this billion-dollar elephant.

Ronald C. Rickey
Miami Beach

Carnival: Just Another Happy Customer
Great articles on Carnival "Screws" Lines! For more evidence of Carnival's greed, check out the Website http://www.starshiptravel.com/noparadise-main.htm. My wife and I and 2500 other passengers believe we were ripped off by Carnival on their so-called millennium cruise aboard the Paradise.

When you visit the Website, please look at the complaint letters and the demand letter sent to Carnival chairman Micky Arison on behalf of 1600 passengers petitioning the company for partial refunds for a cruise to nowhere.

Tom Coldwell
Fairfax, Virginia

Carnival: An Equal-Opportunity Money Machine
Your group of articles about Carnival Cruise Lines was timely, well researched, and to the point. There is something that needs to be pointed out, however. Jim DeFede accurately noted that Carnival gets away with its "special brand of corporate mischief" largely through political contributions. These contributions are made at the state and local levels, as well as national.

One large-scale recipient of Carnival's and Micky Arison's multiple contributions was Miami Beach Mayor Neisen Kasdin. Inasmuch as your newspaper gave Kasdin's re election campaign such a boost with a last-minute attempt to trash his opponent ("Not for Sale ... Exactly," October 28) reformist commissioner Martin Shapiro, who got nothing from Carnival, I thought you might like to know this.

Richard H. Rosichan
Miami Beach

Carnival: Extortionists Disguised as Journalists
After reading Jim DeFede's contribution to "Captains Outrageous" ("The Real Micky Arison"), I came to the conclusion that you guys must have tried to extort advertising money from Carnival Cruise Lines, and when you couldn't, you came out with this bullshit.

This fine reporter Jim DeFede (should I call him a reporter or an extortionist?) doesn't realize that Mr. Arison has done a lot for this community. He has done more for the youth in the low-income districts than the whole Miami City Commission or the Miami-Dade County Commission. His Carnival Cruise Lines brings into Miami a lot of tourists, even if they only stop for ten minutes at Miami International Airport to have a colada at La Carreta. Carnival also has created lots of work for local people.

But what the hell. You guys couldn't get Micky Arison to give you a full-page ad and so you came out with a bunch of lies. Sooner or later someone will send you the bill. Be ready to take care of it.

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