There you are on the Carnival Liberty, having the time of life. You've brought the kids, grandma and grandpa, auntie Em, the neighbors and half of the congregation of your church on a trip you have saved for longer than you can remember.
A gentle ocean breeze fills your lungs with the taste of the salt air on your lips. The sun is shining high in the sky and the seas are so calm ahead, the sea surface looks like a mirror. Things are so perfect, you think you are in a Carnival Cruise Line television commercial.
Then the reality kicks in. Coming out of your cabin, smoke fills the air. You stop, look around, and for an instant, you think the ship is on fire. Then, you realize the smell is the thick, pungent scent of burning marijuana. Somebody, more likely some group of people are acting out their roles in their own fantasy remake of the Cheech and Chong movie Up In Smoke, retitled Flying High On The High Seas.
You are not amused. Over supper, you discuss the problem with others, and numerous passengers decide to complain, including an off duty police officer traveling with this family. He is an authority figure in real life, and decides to take the roll of protecting his and other families aboard what has quickly become a 'Love In' ship.
The police officer flags down his cabin stewardess and tells her he smells marijuana. One would think that a police officer could certainly tell the difference between a legal leaf burning and an illegal leaf burning. Yet, he is told by the stewardess that he is mistaken, it is actually a cigar burning.
The next night, the scenario unfolds again, and again the police officer complains. This time, he notifies an assistant stewardess and he is told the same thing.
When the assistant stewardess tells the manager, he says it is cigar. She tells the manager, "No, it is the weed, I know it, the guest he is a police offer, he knows it." She is told by the manager to say it is a cigar or she will be fired. So, she goes back to the police officer and lies.
Each of the stewards, stewardess and their assistants are told by housekeeping managers to keep their mouth shut, mind their own business or they will be terminated immediately when the usage of illegal drugs aboard is brought to the attention of management.
When the crew ask their managers what they should do because the police officer continues to complain, they are told to continue to say "it is a cigar".
The police officer, being treated as if he was an idiot, demands to speak to the captain. The captain of a ship, after all, is the head of security on every ship. It is where, the buck stops, and the police officer is certain the captain will not tolerate illegal drug usage on this ship, especially when it is affecting so many passengers. To his surprise, the crew refuse to contact anyone above the managers, the captain refuses to talk to the guest, access to the captain is denied.
This is not fiction, this a true story as outlined to Cruise Bruise by a Carnival Liberty crew member, Cruise Bruise crew informant #15, working in housekeeping.
The crew member says this scenario unfolds time after time for crew members who are threatened and intimidated when they try to do the right thing. They witness illegal drug usage and sales, but are forced to look the other way and lie when asked questions about what they saw.
This is what thousands, if not millions of passengers endure each and every year on the high seas. The family vacation goes wrong and there is nothing you can do, but try to keep your children away from it, close the balcony doors, throw wet towels across the bottom of doors to block out the smell and make excused to your small children why mommy put the wet towel on the floor.