A supposedly fun thing...  NOV 16 2011

One hundred and seventy-one people have vanished from cruise ships in the past decade. Here's the sad and depressing story of one of them, Rebecca Coriam.

I wander into one of the bars and get talking to a waiter. "What's it like working here?" I ask.

"It's all about the show," he replies. "When you're out among the guests, you're always on show. Even if you're a waiter, or a cleaner, or a deck hand."

"How long have you been on board?" I ask.

"Seven months. I'll be going home in 40 days - 44 to be exact." He laughs. "Seven months is long enough. Being away from your family is hard."

"Were you on board when Rebecca Coriam vanished?" I ask.

He narrows his eyes. "I don't know anything about it," he says. There's a long silence. "It didn't happen," he says. He looks at me. "You know that's the answer I have to give."

Between this and the illness oubreaks and the lawlessness and the soul-deadening, there's no chance in hell I'll ever take a cruise.

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