Cruise ships mess me up. They screw with my brain. They’re just too big. It upsets me. I wouldn’t say I have megalophobia, exactly—as most abnormally large structures mostly just intrigue me, and give a weird kind of tingly sensation to my sense of perspective. But cruise ships are different. They’re just unpleasant.
Look, check this out, here’s a few of the top posts on (obviously there’s a Reddit sub for it) r/megalophobia:
Peek-a-boo from r/megalophobia
There’s something fun about looking at things like that. It’s like getting your sense of perspective and scale drunk.
Humans are such destructive and impressive creatures in large part due to our cumulative nature. We build on top of previous knowledge and achievements to go ever larger, faster, and broader. Where most every other animal has that kind of conceptual hard reset every generation, we just keep passing stuff on. Large, outsized structures are a great metaphor for that—they’re both terrifying, and impressive at the same time. But cruise ships are different. They’re just repugnant. To me anyway. Like, look at this monstrosity:
The sense of disproportionate enormity there is likely enhanced by a bit of Photoshop and telephoto lens trickery, but still the point remains: Cruise ships are too big. Too symbolic of so many things wrong with our systems. They’re colossal monuments to hubris and self-indulgence. They’re ocean-roving towns spewing out industrial amounts of effluvia. They’re violent impositions upon a pristine canvas. They’re…just, like, really big fucking fuckers!
Just look at what happened in Venice over the weekend, when the 13-deck monster ‘MSC Opera’ lost control and crashed into a dock in Venice:
‘Lost control’. That phrase should never apply to anything that weighs a bajillion tonnes.
According to NPR:
Alyssa Goldfarb, public relations director for MSC Cruises, the ship’s owner, told NPR:
“Earlier this morning, at around 8.30 AM CET, MSC Opera - while maneuvering towards Venice’s VTP cruise terminals for mooring - experienced a technical issue. Albeit the ship was accompanied by two tugs, she grazed the dock at San Basilio. This also caused a collision with a river boat that was moored there.
“The investigations to understand the exact causes of the events are currently in progress. Regarding these, the company is working closely with the local maritime and other authorities.
“The ship has in the meantime received authorization to move to be moored at the Marittima terminal, as planned. She is now moored there and has begun passenger operations.”
“The MSC ship had an engine failure, which was immediately reported by the captain,” said Davide Calderan, the head of one of the tugboats accompanying the cruise ship, according to AFP and Italian media.
“The engine was blocked, but with its thrust on, because the speed was increasing,” he continued.
The MSC Opera can carry more than 2,675 passengers, and according to its sailing schedule, the ship left Venice on May 26 and traveled to Kotor, Montenegro, and Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu in Greece before returning on Sunday to Venice.
The floating capital of Northern Italy’s Veneto region, Venice is a city comprised of over 100 islands, and it is a city under siege from several fronts. It’s slowly sinking, for a start. It’s also got a crazy pollution problem. And it’s got a crazy tourist problem compounding all the other problems. Venetians have protested the unmanageable level of tourism their home has to endure. They have also protested the irresponsible docking of gigantic cruise ships (see header pic) on their vulnerable doorsteps, the ships being in some way emblematic of all of the ancient city’s woes. But do the cruise ships care? Hell no. They’ll keep on docking. Who’s gonna stop them? You? Fuck off. Have you seen how big they are? Ha. Law of the jungle, baby. Might is right. Size is everything. And on a planet beset by rising sea levels, he who floats, wins. The reanimated corpse of Engelbert Humperdinck is performing tonight. Get onboard or die trying, bitch. Venice is just the hors d’oeuvres.
Header Image Source: Getty Images