The Editor
The New York Times
Via email:

To the Editor:

Re: your article on the cruise ship virus ("Tales of Stowaway Virus and a Queasy Cruis", Nov. 22):

Not to minimize the woes of those affected by the virus on board the Holland America Amsterdam cruise ship, I'd like to say that the ships themselves are more of a virus on the planet than any bug afflicting the passengers' health. The ships, built in places like Italy, Greece and Korea, are composed of a great deal of wood ripped from the world's dwindling tropical forests. Massive teak decks (some ships have up to ten decks), mahogany furnishings and interiors and railings from rare African woods - these floating hotels are rainforest graveyards.

In addition to rules against dumping at sea, cruise companies need to evolve beyond their colonial past and adopt more environmentally sound construction standards that, among other things, avoid wood from the world's endangered forest.

Tim Keating, Director
Rainforest Relief
Brooklyn, NY