A “caution race” currently is underway in the cruise line public relations practice.

It started with the political unrest in Egypt a couple of years back when cruise lines in media statements canceled port calls at potentially unstable destinations “as a precaution.”

Over the past year, however, the caution race has escalated, with cruise lines canceling calls or taking ships out of service in “an abundance of caution.”

Most recently I read a cruise line statement regarding an itinerary-change decision taken “in an overabundance of caution.”

Can we continue to ramp up the caution quotient this way?

I can only imagine the next level of escalation — a “superabundance of caution,” perhaps? A “megabundance?” A “gigabundance of caution?”

It seems to me that one is either cautious or not, that one exercises caution or one doesn’t.

Caution isn’t a commodity that can be stockpiled in the event of an “overabundance,” as if you’ve got extra caution in storage if you need it.

According to Webster’s caution is a warning or a behavior, like acting warily. It’s not something that you can fill a box with and keep in reserve to deploy in times of crisis.

This caution race is a good example of bad public relations communications. It’s the abuse of a buzzword taken to its silliest extension. It shows a distinct lack of attention to the meaning of the words being used.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to check the index on caution futures. The way things are going, it just might pay to be ahead of the market, pending the next inevitable run on caution.

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