Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Compendium of Opinions on the Costa Cruises Disaster

A pre-disaster view of the Costa Concordia
The Costa Concordia disaster raises so many questions about cruising, I thought it would be helpful to devote today's blog to a compendium of links. All of the following articles address the tragedy from a different angle, shedding light on both what may have gone wrong; and what would-be cruisers should keep in mind.

How Safe Is Cruising? I wrote this piece. It takes the reader through a brief history of cruise disasters and the regulations that were born from these tragedies, and includes interviews with experts on the overall safety of the cruise experience and what cruisers can do to enhance their safety on board ship.

What You Sign Away When You Buy a Cruise Ticket This article examines cruising's fine print, the contract of carriage every vacationer agrees to before stepping on board a ship. These contracts usually waive passenger's rights to sue where they please (kicking disputes to an arbitrator), as well as taking away other passenger rights (its a surprising list).

I've Booked a Cruise With Costa, Now What? From the site I helped found,, an examination of what will happen to those scheduled to sail on the Costa Concordia in coming months, plus what passengers can and can't get if they want to cancel their upcoming Costa Cruise.

Captain Said He Tripped and Ended Up in a Life Raft You'll get a grim chuckle out of this one: the captain's latest excuse as to why he abandoned the ship. Click from it to the New York Times' other expert, and ongoing, coverage of the salvage mission and investigation.

Cruise Disaster Could Take Toll On Industry USA Today has been focussing on how the disaster will affect the cruise business and other corollary industries (such as the hotel industry).

I'm sure there will be more coverage of this topic in the coming days, as more is learned about the causes of the wreck.


  1. While most travel agents might be more focused on their commissions than the safety of their clients, my concern is that by Costa management and the powerful coalition of Italian shipbuilders, unions, investors and politicians putting all the blame on human error, there will be a cover up in the investigation of why the safety systems, intended to maintain balance and avoid or postpone listing, didn't operate, which prevented the life boats from being deployed on both sides of the vessel. If this reflects a fundamental design flaw, then the implications for the industry are significant indeed.

  2. Hi Stuart, Yes, I've been concerned about that, as well. We'll be discussing that topic, along with others on my radio show tomorrow (Sunday Jan 22). You can hear it at from noon until 2pm. Best, Pauline