After wall-to-wall coverage of last Friday’s horrific Costa Concordia cruise ship accident off the Italian coast, cruise operators will be braced for a difficult year. Has this disaster put you off cruises?
Carnival Corporation, which owns Costa Cruises, expects to lose around US$95 million as a result of the tragic accident.
Other companies will worry that the striking image of a ship lying on its side will shake consumers’ faith in the safety of cruises, resulting in fewer bookings.
Until now, the cruise industry has fared pretty well in recent years. While other package holiday companies, like Thomas Cook, have struggled during the economic downturn, cruise operators have seen a year-on-year increase in passenger numbers. Last year, around 1.7 million people in the UK alone took a cruise, up from about 1.3 million in 2007.
Safety concerns on cruise ships
You may get a refund and even extra credit if you’re already booked on a future Costa Cruise. But if you’ve booked with any other company and now have second thoughts, it’s very unlikely you’ll get a refund if you cancel.
With bitter irony, the 100th anniversary of Titanic sinking is just a couple of months away, reminding us that last week wasn’t a one-off. But do we really have serious cause for concern?
It’s fair to say that this tragedy has been such a big news story because it’s an unusual event – major cruise ship accidents are thankfully a rarity. However, the tragedy does raise questions about the safety of modern cruise ships and how well trained their staff are.
There are reports that the Costa Concordia’s safety drill wasn’t held on the evening that the ship left Rome’s Civitavecchia port. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call for cruise company staff and passengers alike to treat safety checks and procedures seriously, in order to ensure there are no casualties in future tragedies.
Are you less likely to take a cruise?
Personally, I think this accident will only deter a small number of people in the short-term, and probably only those who haven’t been on a cruise before. Most people don’t stop taking flights after seeing reports of a plane crash, so I’m assuming this incident won’t put most people off cruising in the long-term, especially if they are seasoned sea-borne holidaymakers.
I’d certainly go on a cruise tomorrow without hesitation. And with operators like Costa Cruises probably desperate to encourage people back onto their ships, there could well be many cruises going for a song in the coming weeks.
So has the Costa Concordia tragedy affected your keenness on cruise holidays? Or perhaps it has just put you off large ships in favour of smaller ones?
Carrying 3,800 passengers plus crew, the Concordia was one of Costa’s largest ships. And the more people there are aboard a ship, the more potential for difficulties when trying to evacuate these crowds in an emergency. The era of the ever larger liner may now be over.
Has the Costa Concordia disaster put you off taking a cruise?
I’ve never been interested in taking a cruise anyway (39%, 95 Votes)
No – it hasn’t put me off cruises (36%, 88 Votes)
Yes – I’m less keen on cruises now (25%, 60 Votes)
Total Voters: 244