After Concordia: Is Cruising Safe?

January 16, 2012 | By | 230 Comments

In light of the capsizing of Costa Concordia over the weekend – a disastrous event in which 12 people died, more than a dozen are still missing and its captain is under house arrest on manslaughter charges — it’s not an unfair question to ask: Is cruising safe?
It certainly wasn’t for passengers and crew onboard the ill-fated ship. On Friday night Concordia was sailing well off-course off Italy’s Tuscan coast when it hit a rock that tore a hole through the left side of its hull. In circumstances we’re not likely to understand for some time, the captain was unable to save the ship as it first lost power, was swamped by seawater, then began to list and capsized. Emergency evacuation efforts were haphazard at best, report those who were on the ship, and communication was next to nil. And the captain may have violated every rule in the book – officially and morally – when he allegedly hurried off the doomed vessel before passengers and crew were safely rescued.
Does any of this scare you? It sure does frighten me, a longtime cruiser and the editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic. It’s not so much the running aground that initially was of concern (after all, a week ago an MSC ship ran aground in the Bahamas; it was inconvenient but by no means a tragedy). Emergencies happen on cruise ships just as they do on airplanes and in hotels. What matters is that cruise ship officers, staff and crew are properly trained to react to those emergencies that occur.
Until this weekend, it never occurred to me that a cruise ship captain wasn’t up to the task. After all, over the past few years we’ve heard about some pretty scary emergencies happening onboard cruise ships that turned out okay. Have you forgotten about Princess Cruises’ Star Princess fire in 2006? The fire broke out at night as the ship sailed the Caribbean Sea, a long way from anywhere; a passenger’s flicked cigarette off a balcony set the vessel ablaze. In November 2010, Carnival Splendor, cruising off Mexico’s Pacific coast, underwent a bona-fide crisis when its engine room caught fire. The trained crew members put out the flames, and crew and staff directed passengers to safety. Though the ship lost navigational ability and electricity and drifted a few days at sea before being towed to San Diego, all aboard were safe.
So how could so much go wrong so fast with Costa Concordia?
Costa put out a statement this weekend saying that “while the investigation is ongoing, preliminary indications are that there may have been significant human error on the part of the ship’s master, Captain Francesco Schettino, which resulted in these grave consequences.” Well, sure. When a ship runs aground there’s definitely some kind of error involved. What’s more shocking is what happened afterward — or rather what didn’t. Passengers reportedly were left to fend for themselves. Hysteria and chaos reigned. Communication was minimal at best.
And when the captain allegedly announced he was abandoning ship, I can’t imagine that anyone took him literally. “In handling the emergency,” the statement adds, “the captain appears not to have followed standard Costa procedures.”
But this tragedy goes well beyond the captain. For Costa, this was a systemic failure that should rock the cruise line to its core. The buck stops where? Who’s really taking responsibility for this perfect storm of failures in an emergency that never, ever needed to happen?
At least for now, veteran cruise travelers weighing in on our forum and Facebook page are defiant. Writes Rick Lapage, “I booked yesterday.” Betty Miles tells us “it was a freak accident and to us cruising is safe.” Larry Stevens has a classic lemonade-from-lemons philosophy: “I am looking for Costa to offer cheap deals to get people back on. The chances of this happening again are nil.”
Is cruising safe? Will what happened on Costa undermine the entire cruise industry? I’ve covered cruising, and loved almost all of it, for 15 years. I’ve never felt unsafe before, even after some of the emergencies I’ve chronicled along the way, including the aforementioned events on Star Princess and Carnival Splendor that could have been tragedies – but weren’t. In fact, they earned my respect, double-fold, as a result of the way that all involved responded.
Let’s hope Larry Stevens is right. This is a wake-up call for Costa, most particularly, but also for any line that has slacked off on the nautical rulebook (not to mention those passengers – and we all know one – who brag about evading the muster drill). It’s a wake-up call as well for maritime certification organizations, who deem ships and staff procedures in order. And it’s our own alert, too. All cruisers shoulder some responsibility for cruising safely.
I’ll see you at the muster drill. I’ll be the person paying very, very close attention, even after 200-plus cruises, to the captain’s instructions.
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    230 Responses to “After Concordia: Is Cruising Safe?”

    1. David Rodgers
      January 16th, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

      Very well said, I couldn’t agree more.

    2. Lukehead
      January 16th, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

      Why had there been no muster drill? I thought they were required by law.

      When there is a muster drill, why are the passenger – and crew – participants so nonchalant? I have not cruised a lot but the last two drills were a little too laid back. On Celebrity Summit in March, a group of 8 partying girls did show up for the drill (held before all had even been able to get into their staterooms) already drunk, very loud and interruptive. Repeated requests to quiet them, by passengers and crew, just fueled their inconsiderate behavior but they were allowed to remain.
      The timely muster conducted on Carnival Legend last week was instructive – if you could hear over the constant talking by the passengers massed on the deck. We were standing in three rows against the wall. If you were in the back row and of average or less height, you could see nothing of the demonstration. Believe me – I was in the back row and am 5’2″. What bothered me most was the disrespective attitude of the passengers upset that their party time had been disturbed.

    3. Nonnie Dori
      January 16th, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

      A Cheap deal is little consolation for a cruise company who employes the type of captains that abandon ship and creates a atmosphere of hysteria upon his vessel. Besides did Mr. Stevens ever hear of the phrase bad things come in 3’s. I think Costa should go back the drawing board hen it comes to hiring competent employees.

    4. leigh shepherd
      January 16th, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

      Just got back from a Christmas cruise in the Carib. (Holland American) and was a little shocked that the muster drill was held w/o life jackets. I know they are concerned withthe safety of a bunch of landlubbers walking down the stairs with draping belts and unable to see their feet. But…Having been on many cruises and served in the USCG I know MY way around life jackets AND life boats. Practice what you need when you don’t need it.

    5. Phil
      January 16th, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

      Although this was a terrible and unfortunate event, how could this stop me from cruising??? Should I stop flying after a plane crash? Bad things happen, but life is for living!!!

    6. Kev Kelly
      January 16th, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

      I remember when we were cruising through the Panama Canal a few years back. My wife and I were on the Sun Viking from Acapulco to San Juan P. R. The Costa Riviera shadowed us throughout the entire cruise. At various ports we would talk to the Costa passengers and they would tell us how horrible the Costa Riviera cruise was. The ship was dirty and the food was awful. One of the Costa passengers even killed himself although I don’t know why? I always remembered these critiques and vowed to never cruise on Costa. Our Princess cruise on the other hand was great.

    7. DebbieD
      January 16th, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

      I have to agree with you that I feel safe cruising. That being said, and I have been on 5 cruises, there is a difference in safety when you cruise internationally. When you cruise off the US, Muster Call must be completed BEFORE you leave port, in other countries it may not happen until the next day. My friend just got back from a cruise around Italy and she said they did not have to put on life vest (or even get them) or go stand by your muster station. She said her muster call was more of a drill for the staff, she and the rest of the passengers just sat around drinking their drinks watching.

      Just like when your on an airplane and you don’t pay attention to the stewards showing you how to put on your seat belt and oxygen masks, we take it for granted nothing will happen.

    8. Dave
      January 16th, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

      There are reports that the Concordia had not had a muster drill, which added to the evacuation confusion. At least most (all?) ships departing from American ports have the muster drill early – usually before leaving the dock. The idiots who evade the drill can swim, while those of us who participate can safely evacuate.
      The odds you will need to evacuate are small, but being prepared is the best prevention.

    9. pennie wildish
      January 16th, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

      I have been cruising since the late 50\s and rule of thumb for me is English at the helm.
      From the start I was always aware,what ever the disarster is they all go to their own
      nationality first.
      Stay with Princess,Holland,Crystal etc.
      Things happen let this be a lession to everyone,go with your gut reaction and move fast.

    10. francisco festino
      January 16th, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

      Dear Carolyn Spencer Brown.Thank you very much for your comments on Cruising after Costa Concordia disaster.I have booked a cruise on the Costa Magica,leaving Buenos Aires on March 22nd,it`s a 24 day transatlantic cruise to Venice Italy.We have traveled extensively with Royal Caribbean,Celebrity,and Norwegian CL,but never on COSTA.Considering what happened would you consider wise to carry on with the Costa Cruise?What would you do?Best regards.Francisco Festino.

    11. Jenny Burrows
      January 16th, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

      I have a feeling things will change with Shipping Laws and Life Boat drills will become standard as per Airlines. Having sailed on three different Cruise lines all Drills have been different. Royal Caribbean was jackets on at your lifeboat on deck, Princess carrying life jackets to Muster station and Celebrity no life jackets to Muster station. All this should be standardised. Also crew should be dressed for the Drill in uniforms which depict they are crew, Drills should be more safety focused not a time to entertain as happened on the Celebrity when one crew person continually told jokes, also more attention to detail as our Muster station leader said one side of the ship and indicated the other side, not very professional.
      Big wake up call to standardise Drills World wide and all Cruise Lines present Drills the same.

    12. Dolores Ortiz
      January 16th, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

      In commenting what is said above I believe that must drills should be done as years ago. On the same date as boarding and using the lifejacket and being taken to your lifeboat so you know the number, location, etc. Most cruise ships currently just meet in a lounge and give a presentation of the safety measures.
      I am a frequent cruiser and have cruised with most of the companies, however, in the case of Costa, being a European company, their first language is not English. This could add to the problem in case of emergencies. I admit I have been a little concerned with this awful situation, but believe that from now on all cruise companies will tighten their safety procedures especially since they are government requirements.

    13. Tyrone
      January 16th, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

      This is a tragedy that happened, but it won’t stop me from cruising. I won’t stop driving, because thousands of car accidents happen daily. I won’t stop cruising either, because this is an isolated event that the odds of it ever happening again are very small.

    14. Cathy Grant
      January 16th, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

      I still consider cruising safe, although I am interested in how quite such a large hole was torn in the ship’s side. It went through whatever double hull the ship had.

      I have only cruised with Crystal-muster with life jackets on, names called out and taken down, passengers mostly serious about it, BEFORE we left dock, no matter where in the world we started from.

    15. Anne McGlynn
      January 16th, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

      My sister and I just finished cruising on the Staatendam. The captain seemed a bit flaky to us as he made his announcements each day. While we were going through the Panama Canal, an alarm sounded and we were advised that there was a fire in the crew’s quarters. We were advised to stay put and not do anything. We did and the fire was put out quickly. But we couldn’t help wondering if this was the best approach.

      But I was left with this question. We were with inches of our muster station, which was a deck above where our cabin was located. Should this have been a real emergency, should we have gone to get our life jackets or just gone straight to our life boats?

    16. Margo McDonough
      January 16th, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

      I am not afraid to fly after a plane crash but this disaster has made this once ardent cruiser leery about cruising. My 4 kids are the reason. There’s nothing I can do to save their lives on a plane goig down but lots I can potentially do on a sinking ship to see that they get off alive. Herein lies the problem, on these 3,000 and 4,000 passenger behemoths, there’s no way to quickly find your kids Read more at

    17. Edie C
      January 16th, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

      I was recently on celebrity silhouette. The muster drill was a joke. We were told to leave our life jackets in the room and just report to our station. We waited there in a hot, crowded area, for a long while and finaly the videos started playing the drill procedure. No one was paying attention and people started to drift away. The crew were just standing around chatting. I love cruising and will continue to cruise but I hope the cruise lines will use this disaster to make sure their staff is well equipped to handle emergencies.

    18. Susan
      January 16th, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

      We sailed on Costa Concordia over Thanksgiving 2012. It is true that ships leaving from US ports have a Muster drill prior to leaving port. On the Costa Concordia we had a drill on the second day at sea prior to leaving the port in Savona. The Costa Condordia takes on passengers and disembarks passengers at most all ports where US ports are usually round-trip will all passengers embarking at the same port.

      The drill held by the Costa Concordia crew members on our recent sailing was detailed and handled seriously.

    19. Doris West
      January 16th, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

      I was told that the Costa line is an arm of Carnival cruise line.. is this true?

      I am preparing for a short cruise with my daughter to see if she is possibly up to a cruise to Panama Canal next year due to an inner ear problem. We are booked with Carnival company for 4 nights in mid February.
      I have tried to convince her that cruising is safe, so this disaster could not have happened at a worst time for us.
      And I am now a bit nervous about it too.
      I cruised with them once before, in 2006, it was ok, but most of the crew did not speak very good english.
      Can someone tell me if the Costa line is part of Carnival company?

      Thank you,
      Doris West

    20. lynn
      January 16th, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

      Out of how many crusies does this happen one in a zillion doesnt scare me I am still going cruising. That captain will never cruise again so I am not worried and if it is my time my time. I love cruising more accidents on planes, trains, and regular boats and cars than there is on cruise ship come on folks dont let this one idiot captain scare you off.
      You know you never know how you would react in this situation no one does dont put the blame on anyone a freak of nature God bless the dead and thank God the living made it out. Move on with life and enjoy your next cruise. As far as Costa they are daized and confused to they have not dealt with this magnatitude either give them a break.

    21. Dave R
      January 16th, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

      I have encountered muster briefings like some of those mentioned above. To me, one in the show room is useless. I recall one where the Captain inspected every group at their station, found a child with an adult jacket, and told a crew member to get a childs jacket immediately, and it was done. I never could understand doing the muster drill after being at sea for nearly 24 hours. Perhaps in view of the Costa screw-up, cruise lines, crews and passengers will pay more attention, and do muster drills properly. I rather suspect that there will be considerable tightening up. We will be cruising on the Noordam in late February.

    22. Bob
      January 16th, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

      Life boat drill is required within 24 hours of sailing… not before sailing. As I understand it the Costa ship picked up new passengers at different ports, unlike the standard 7 night cruises we are used to, and only did drills every 15 days. I was on the QE2 sailing from Boston after 911 and the drill was the next afternoon as many passengers did not arive (bussed from NYC) until late evening.

    23. Marcy
      January 16th, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

      We cruise at least once a year and just booked another cruise on Holland America. We’ve encountered passengers from Costa and they always seem quite disgruntled. After trying several lines, we’ve settled on Holland America for our future cruising.
      It is hard to believe there was no muster drill, and that would have helped but it seems this captain is at the root of the entire unfortunate tragedy.
      I believe we never kn9w when it’s our turn to leave this earth, and if I give in to every fear I would stay in bed forever!

    24. Jill
      January 16th, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

      It is my experience that lifeboat drills have become way too lax in the past few years. I love RCCL, but we used to do full drills including get your lifevests. Then in recent cruises, we reported to muster area without the vests. I’m no dummy, I still checked my cabin for the location of the vest but it did concern me that ‘newbies’ on the ship probably won’t know where they are or how to use them. What really shocked me was when we cruised on Allure and Oasis we all went to ‘areas’ for a video. We had no idea where are actual lifeboat/muster area was. I can’t imagine a ‘newbie’ who never went thru a lifeboat drill, never shown the muster area, never instructed on use of the life vest (light activating the light)enduring a crisis. This is not knocking RCCL, I think they are great but the industry as a whole has to take safety a little more serious or chaos will arise.
      during a crisis.

      Our group sales on Sunday on Carnival Conquest. Since I am more an RCCL fan than a Carnival fan, I’m already a bit nervous about the safety factor. You can bet I will be watching closely during muster drill and ready to take action if need be.

    25. Wil Nickerson
      January 16th, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

      Cruising since I was 5 (now 65)and will not let this bother me.I have been on the smallest and largest ships and have never seen a problem. Once we had a man overboard at 2a.m abd Carnival conducted a full head count and took care of the problem in less than two hours, very professionally. Accidents happen in every form of transportation and usually it is human error so amke all the cruise lines aware that we (as passengers) will be looking at their staff and procedures with a critical eye.We are looking forward to our next cruise, February 25th. Meanwhile—-Bon Voyage!

    26. Ken Rossignol
      January 16th, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

      Danger does indeed lurk on every cruise. I have been writing fictional accounts for several years in my three books and as much mayhem as I have concocted was still overwhelmed by the real deal on the Concordia. The other readers are right, the muster drills have become a joke on Celebrity, a cruise line that seems to get everything else right. I have seen advise on Cruise Critic to beware of foreign lines in which English is seldom spoken and during an emergency, it can be a case of sink or swim. There has been too much emphasis on the officers socializing with the passengers and clearly the rocks this ship hit did not grow there overnight. As a novelist dreaming up the dangers that lurk on a cruise ship I have to say I never thought a captain could be so reckless.

    27. Sarah
      January 16th, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

      I sincerely hope all cruise lines amp up their muster drills and increase staff training after this. And make sure the captains of the ships are all better decision-makers than this particular captain.

      What scares me most is that “human error” could result in a tragedy like this, in this day and age! One would think that there would be systems of command in place to override such bad judgement. One article (newscast?) quoted a subordinate officer saying he didn’t correct the captain because it “wasn’t his place” to correct the captain. What?!? There must be SOMEONE on board who can serve to check-and-balance a “captain gone rogue” like this. A 4,000+ passenger ship should not be able to be taken down by the error of one human.

    28. Mike K
      January 16th, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

      Took a cruise in Nov to CocoCay Bahamas and Falmouth Jamaica. Muster drill was a joke – no life jackets – was mainly benefit for crew – not passengers. You are on your own and will not risk cruisking again.

    29. Bill Dyke
      January 16th, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

      My wife and I have sailed on many lines, but not Costa. Our experiemce has generally been a briefing immediately after sailing. The location of the briefing seems to vary by cruise line. On RCI/Celebrity/Azamara the briefings were held under the designated lifeboat, a good plan. On Princess ships the briefings were held in a lounge or library, far distant from out designated lifeboat.
      I would much prefer to stand outside under my lifeboat regardless of the weather.eacherl

    30. Tim W
      January 16th, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

      I cruised two summers ago on Princess to Alaska. The muster drill was handled professionally, all passengers had their life vests, were required to put them on correctly – checked by crew – and pay attention to the instruction. In my opinion cruising is one of the safest forms of vacation. The fact that one ship has a problem does not affect the others.

    31. Marilyn Tillman
      January 16th, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

      Our first cruise on Celebrity Galaxy in 2002 encountered a heavy squall. The ship swerved and then leaned over to the point that all the pool water was emptied out. Dishes crashed and people screamed to get hold of their children. The ship stayed leaning over, don’t know what degree, however when we went to our cabin to get our life jackets on deck 7 starboard, we could look directly down into the water. Getting the lifejackets was my idea as there was no announcement from the bridge. About 15 to 20 minutes later, the skies cleared and the ship straightened up. The only thing we heard from the bridge was much later when the Captain announced that we were all Sea Wolves. There was no mention of what or why this happened. It was very scary. The captain announced that the passengers could get free drinks for the next hour. I don’t drink thank heavens as there was a mad rush to the bars. We have noticed a very lax attitude of late regarding the lifeboat drills. On some of our cruises we were sent to dining room as our muster station. I remarked, was this so we could have our last supper? (Ha! Ha!) Last year we were told we didn’t even have to take our lifejackets to the drill. I think this will change. We have a cruise booked for May for our 59th Anniversary, but my husband has been ranting about how we don’t have any rights when we get on the ship. I hope we still go. I think after this disaster, drills for the passengers and crews will be taken a lot more seriously.

    32. Linda
      January 16th, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

      Every hotel, large office building, hospital, nursing home etc. has a fire exit plan posted in several prominent locations at starwells, backs of guest room doors etc. Why don’t cruise ships have the same emergency plans posted in like locations? Evacuation information could be playing on every big screen media prior to sailing. They have it on in the rooms but many folks never get to their rooms prior to sailing. Planes have evacuation info on card forms in the seat front pocket. I just think more needs to be done to remind folks of pathways and their life boat location besides Muster.

    33. Emily
      January 16th, 2012 @ 5:27 pm


    34. Jilly F
      January 16th, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

      Cruising is still very safe. If all those passengers were flying at 36,000 ft and an incident occured…… I’ll say no more…

      I am wondering if ships Captains have to keep their licence up to speed with frequent ‘refreshers’ the same as airline Pilots do?

    35. Eric S.
      January 16th, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

      Back in 2006, I worked onboard the “Pride of Aloha” in Hawaii. That was a US flagged ship and I can tell you, the training we got as crew was VERY strict!! As for the passengers, they where required to be at their muster stations with life jackets. They were then instructed how to put them on and everythng with the lifeboat and all procedures were explained. This all happened BEFORE we ever left the port! 4 years later I sailed on the same ship (now the “Norwegian Sky”) to the Bahamas. It had an international crew and drill was held very differently. We had to show up to our muster stations, with no life jackets and the crew wasn’t very interested in presenting the drill properly. I will still cruise, I now know I’ll be paying even more attention at drill.

    36. KenSanDiego
      January 16th, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

      I was aboard Carnival Legend in the Caribbean when the news broke. Our Captain made an announcement of sympathy and support, and offered a minute of silence.

      I thought about how I would react in a similar emergency, and although I hope the Captain and crew would manage the crisis professionally, I came to the conclusion that in crisis I had the responsibility to look after myself and hopefully help others along the way. Putting your fate in the hands of others is dangerous and in these circumstances, self-reliance is a survival trait.

      I am in no way advocating a disregard for well established procedures being professionally handled by the crew, but in their absence, the ability to analyze the situation and act accordingly is the best cruise insurance you can get.

    37. Cruise Passenger
      January 16th, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

      We have cruised many times on a major cruise company ships. My opinion of the pre-US departure muster drill: It’s a Mickey Mouse Club performance to satisfy some laws and ill conceived proceedures. If the cruise line thinks that 3,000 clients are going to calmly obey 1,000 employees and a captain whom they can’t understand and who can’t understand clients because most staff and non-English speaking passengers speak marginal English, the line is delusional. All they are doing is complying with some misguided insurance requirements that can be easily butted by a marginally competent lawyer. Our practice is to have an easily accessible ditty bag in the cabin (includes forehead lights for each of us), easy access to personal documents in sealed bags, including digital recorders, along with recommended medications and clothes and our life jackets. In an emergency, we judge if the robots know what they are doing. Then, decide on our own interests. And then, sue the line to oblivion.

    38. Ted Keil
      January 16th, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

      My wife and I have been cruising for many years. We are faithful to “Celebrity Cruises” and have never had a problem at all. The muster drills are very profesional. They even check the cabins to make sure you are not hiding. The crew members have always been excellent. This incident does not prevent us from cruising. I feel sorry for the Costa passengers.

    39. Steven C
      January 16th, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

      A tragedy? Yes. Criminal? Possibly. Will it stop me from cruising? No.

      But having taken a trans-Atlantic cruise last year, it does give me pause for thought. If something like that happens far from land, it seems like the potential loss of life could be huge. A ship is unlikely to hit a rock in the middle of the ocean – but they have been known to hit other things (icebergs for example).

      Hopefully the industry learns from this, and improves on safety and standardizes safety drills, staff communication, and the like.

    40. RogerK
      January 16th, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

      As someone who has done seven cruises, has gone to sea professionally, and has sailed many miles ocean racing, I get concerned with a number of things at life boat drills. On one ship I was on, the drill procedures for the boat we were allocated, were conducted by a Croupier and a Steward, both of who seemed to be trying out for a roll of comedian. This was a 1700 passenger ship.

      What arrangements are made for those passengers who are infirm, using walking frames or mobility scooters? Has their ever been an exercise to evacuate an entire ship of say 3000 passengers and 1000+ crew to see how long it takes? How do they get to the boat deck without using lifts which could very well be out of action.

      In the Costa Concordia incident, were the watertight doors activated? If not, why not? If so, how come the ship rolled over? Is there a stability issue with these huge ships? ( I note the stabilisers were out on Concordia. Why would they be out if the weather was calm? Surely they are not activated all the time to help with the stability?)

      I will continue to cruise, but not on big ships. I choose ships with max passengers of around 200. That way I know that there will be a seaman, or more likely a Deck Officer, for each life boat. It is easier to get 200 passengers and 100 crew into life boats than the huge numbers that are now setting sail.

      It is fine for Costa to blame the Captain, but surely Costa must take some responsibility in not ensuring correct procedures are carried out by the Captain and crew. I would hope there is a set of Standard Operating Procedures that Captains must follow, and all activities such as Fire Drill, Life Boat drills etc be logged. That was the way it used to be, so I hope standards have not dropped since I was at sea.

      It is very lucky the ship was able to get to shallow water. What would have happened if this event happened in rough weather, some distance from the shore? I hate to think.

    41. Bob S
      January 16th, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

      @Doris_West – Carnival Corporation operates many cruise lines, and is further divided into a Carnival Corporation (US) and Carnival Corporation (UK) – the latter controls Costa. Carnival Cruise line is part of the US controlled lines, as is Princess Cruises and others.

      I believe that what will happen in the near term is a greater emphasis on safety, making cruising even safer than it is today. Go for that Carnival Cruise !

    42. Diana LM
      January 16th, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

      May I have your permission, Carolyn, to smack the people beside me who don’t pay attention at muster?

    43. rosaly greenberger
      January 16th, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

      Anumber of years ago, we and friends sailed on a cruise to Alaska. I believe it was the Regent Star. During a meal, the ship hit a submerged iceberg and we had to immediately get our lifejackets and muster.The ship actually turned on our side but then straightened itself up. It was a very frightening experience but at least they kept making reassuring announcements about it.
      They were excamining the hull for any serious
      damage and then after an hour or so, they limped into the nearest port where we were evacuated. I don’t think anyone was killed and we were all very grateful . The piano in the lounge turned upside=down and ofcourse the kitchen was a shambles/ Very little about it appeared in NY newspapers although we read about it in the Alaskan news.
      Later we heard that the captain was blamed and
      that was all. I have sailed 38 cruises but yesterday’s tragedy surely puts fear in me.

    44. Frank
      January 16th, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

      I’ve only been on two cruises, both from U.S. ports. I agree with those who say that muster drills aren’t taken as seriously as they should be. However, if something that warrants evacuation happens, chances are that most passengers won’t be in their cabin. That compounds the problem of handling thousands of people in an emergency, where there’s a tendency to panic. That’s why it’s important for families to devise and discuss a plan in advance, as KenSanDiego says.

      It’s going to be interesting to see the timeline of events in the Costa Concordia accident. I don’t know how much time elapsed between the initial collision/hull breach and the point where the ship capsized. As the ship listed, it would have been increasingly difficult to launch lifeboats from either side.

      I don’t know a lot about ship operations, but even if the rocks that the Costa Concordia struck were not on the charts as the captain allegedly claims (which I find hard to believe), wouldn’t they have been apparent on remote sensing equipment (SONAR below water, RADAR above)?

    45. Robin-San Francisco
      January 16th, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

      My husband and I have cruised 6 times (4 w/Princess and 2 w/Norwegian) and have our 7th cruise planned for Sept. ’12 (again w/Princess). It’s been our experience w/both Princess and Norwegian that the muster drill was held prior to leaving port. In all cases we were instructed to bring our life vests w/us to the drill, but to not put them on until instructed to do so (so that everyone could watch the person instructing us on how to properly put it on). I know that w/Princess, all muster crew wear special colored hats that designate the muster station # and they have always acted in the most professional manner when instructing us. They also had a list of everyone who was to be present at each muster station and they did not proceed w/the drill until everyone on that list was accounted for. I agree that there are always going to be people who act like this drill is a total pain in the rear, but in light of what just happened on the Concordia, it would behoove everyone to gladly attend their drills and pay very close attention to what is being said. Come on folks, it’s being done for reason, not just to tick you off and take you away from your partying time. Bottom line is, better to be prepared than to end up fighting for your life because you weren’t paying attention for a mere 10-15 mins. I’m definitely not worried about cruising after what just happened, but I must admit that the people who refuse to pay attention at these drills scare me a lot!

    46. Christopher Budd
      January 16th, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

      I have to admit, I’ve never been on a cruise: the idea of being cooped up with thousands of people like that sounds pretty close to hell to me to begin with.

      But I have to say while it may be damning an entire industry based on one bad event, everything I’m hearing about this further disinclines me from ever setting foot on a ship like this.

      From the “every man/woman for themselves” nature of the evacuation, the captain abandoning ship, the crew not helping passengers and now, most amazingly, the real possibility that this whole this happened so that the ship’s head waiter could wave to his family, it seems a gross understatement to call this a systematic failure. It seems rather designed and optimized for failure. I really have to wonder what role corruption plays in this because it’s sure sounding like it’s in there somewhere.

      The key thing is: how can I tell that this ship owned by Carnival is a bad one and one owned by Princess, say, is a good one? I can’t. Carnival and Princess are both big names so clearly the name isn’t enough to go on. All I can conclude is that they’re all risky and it’s only a matter of time before something like this happens again.

    47. Peggy Ward
      January 16th, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

      Is it not so that CARNIVAL owns Costa and that Costa was involved in another accident in Egypt in 2010 and, as stated in the article “Carnival November 2010, Carnival Splendor, cruising off Mexico’s Pacific coast, underwent a bona-fide crisis when its engine room caught fire.” An underlying theme seems to be CARNIVAL.

    48. RhondaOregon
      January 16th, 2012 @ 6:46 pm

      Excellent editorial. Like you, I am deeply saddened to learn of the disgraceful behavior of the captain. Surely the lack of direction from the command staff added to the chaos and danger for everyone on board.
      I want to believe that the captain of the Concordia is the exception, rather than the rule. And I am hoping that this incident will cause the entire industry to reexamine the men and women in whom we passengers entrust our safety.

    49. diana
      January 16th, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

      I wouldn’t hesitate to go on another cruise –in most ships. I WOULD refuse to go on Costa. Here’s my question: If the cruise ship is preprogrammed to go only certain routes, as Costa says it was, and the captain deliberately ignored the alarms, why on earth did the company allow him to continue? If you are driving a truck, the company puts a GPS on the truck. If you decide to take a joy ride to visit a buddy when you’re supposed to driving up I95, you better believe the company knows asap and you are fired. How could Carnival or Costa NOT know the captain was just joyriding the multi-million dollar ship with 4000+ people on it? Do all cruise lines do this? “Hey cap, here’s the keys to our boat, just make sure you stay on the navigation preprogrammed for you or an alarm will ring!” And then TRUST him? And what if the cruise ship is hijacked? How would the company know?

      So my first question is: Is this standard procedure for all cruise lines, to not notice if their own ships are going off course?

      If it is, it better be changed, asap. And if not, then this captain is in serious trouble. However, I believe this captain has done this repeatedly over many trips. Why he did this I have no idea, although I’m suspicious. He claims it was because he ‘wanted to see the shore line.” But it was 9:30 at night. Hmmmm.

      Anyway, Royal Caribbean has always been extremely professional; I can’t imagining this happening there. Choose your cruise lines carefully.

    50. Ray Reilly
      January 16th, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

      My wife and I have been on 15+ cruises; with RCCL and Celebrity. On ALL our cruises the Life Boat drill was held before we even left the harbor. It was never taken as a joke by the cruise lines and we were ALL required to wear our life jackets! Beside the passenger drill, on most of our cruises the crew had at least 1 drill for crew only!

    51. Jack Fried
      January 16th, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

      Evacuating 4000 passengers (and about 2000 crew)is a tremendous logistics problem. I suspect that the crew did a terrific job on the Concordia, especially when you consider all the elderly and infirmed that are on a normal cruise.

      Looks like a real void in leadership on this one.

    52. mary wilson
      January 16th, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

      MSC POESIA ran aground in Grand Bahama early January.

    53. Monty
      January 16th, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

      You can not put a price on human life ! This was an unnecessary tragedy, and the Concordia Capt. was surely at fault. What a shame …

    54. Greg Henderson
      January 16th, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

      Just got back from celebrity Eclipse for 7 day cruise. The life boat drill was an absolute joke. Everyone in theater. Video. No one knew where to go. Back to Holland for me.Goodbye celebrity.

    55. Mike P
      January 16th, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

      I understand the need for muster drills and always attend them, but what concerns me most about this incident is how severely the ship listed and capsized. I wish there was more analysis, explanation and concern for that situation. Muster drills become almost inconsequential when the ship lists to the point that the lifeboats on one side of the ship can’t be lowered and the lifeboats on the other side of the ship can only be lowered under a capsizing ship. With ever taller ships being made, what protections are being incorporated to protect capsizing. I honestly never thought modern ships could capsize as fast as this one did.

    56. Anonymous
      January 16th, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

      We were on a few Royal Carribean cruise, and almost all of them had safety drills before departure. However, we were on the Monarch of the Seas that left Port Canaveral on January 6 and there was no safety drills at all.

    57. Laura
      January 16th, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

      Firstly, prayers for the passengers, and crew, who lost their lives and their families. Secondly, my condolences for all of the passengers who had to get through that very scary situation, and their families, due to the acts of one man (whether deliberate or due to incompetence).
      I have cruised Costa, Celebrity and Oceania embarking from US and Europe. Only Costa did not do the muster drill before sailing. In comparing the three cruise lines Celebrity and Oceania were much more thorough; however this could have been crew specific.
      It seems though that whether there was a muster drill or not the circumstances here would not have been avoided.
      What good is going to a muster station if it’s under water? Or getting to a cabin that’s sideways? Or having an emergency occur when everyone is in one place like the dining room or theater, is no one there in charge of an emergency if it occurs in that spot? Where were those people? Are there any designated “section commanders” among the crew? How many crew members are qualified to drive those life boats? A waiter sitting on the shoulders of an engineer to steer the lifeboat? (You’ve got to be kidding me) We noticed lots of megaphones on the ships we were on, was anyone using them to communicate? Or just standing around waiting for the capt to tell them what to do? YIKES!
      It appears the crew was not getting any orders from the officers and they apparently weren’t trained to assess an emergency situation and take common sense action on their own. It would be interesting to know what the standard operating procedures were if the officers were fatally injured or in some other way incapacitated.
      It concerns me that the emergency procedures appear to be dependent on one individual and there is no back-up plan or form of command or control at the lower levels.
      This situation raises many questions in my mind regarding the command/emergency structures on all cruise lines.
      It would be great if someone did a story about that, I’d like to know the answers to some of my questions before I cruised again.

    58. Sheldon Ratner
      January 16th, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

      Debbie D evidently you are wrong about the requirement to conduct the muster drills before departure. I cruised on the Celebrity Solstice which departed Dec 11, 2011 and our drill did not occur until the next morning. Also, it was without live jackets.

    59. Karen
      January 16th, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

      No one has mentioned this: I really would like the Captain of my ship to be steering the boat and not spending every evening in formal dress uniform sitting with a different table every night. After all he shouldn’t have to be the PR director too.

      In October of last year, my husband and I sailed Star Clippers’ Star Flyer a real sailing ship. We hit a very bad storm between Giglio and St Tropez and about two am the boat was rocking and rolling. Luckily for us, we had a good Captain on Board, Captain Peter … who got us through that night and the next day. The next morning, upon struggling into the Tropical Inside Bar we found no officers or anyone of authority telling us, the passengers, where or what we should do. As passengers, we were beginning to feel from the situation we were in that the crew was not properly trained in an emergency. We could see that they, too, were suffering from sea sickness and in the same situation as we were. I think the biggest problem that night was the management not telling us, the passengers, and some crew that we were going into a bad storm that night. I suppose they think they will alarm people and cause panic. But, we could have avoided seasickness by taking Dramamine that had been offered free of charge after that incident. This heavy sea weather went on all night and all the next day until we were close to St. Tropez our next stop which we missed because of the weather conditions.

      Also, some people fell out of bed because the stewards apparently were not notified to put up rails. One elderly lady broke her arm. This also could have been avoided if the Captain had told us what was really going on before going to bed.

      Two days later arriving in Cannes we took on passengers. The Captain learned his lesson and this time he notified passengers of bad weather that evening and Dramamine was passed out at the nurses station to those who requested it.

      Unfortunately they were still letting people sit in the outside Tropical Bar where one man’s leg was injured when a large wooden bench rolled into him. Again no one with authority to tell people what to do. Again, for the second morning, we are on our own.

      Regarding life boat drills. This is also a European company and we didn’t receive our muster drill until the morning after we had arrived. It was a full drill on the top deck with life jackets telling you where to go to your muster station. The person giving the drill gave the lessons in English, French and German. It was very well carried out. On the second week after Cannes, the drill was held the next day on the tropical bar deck with the rocking and rolling going on in the same fashion. They couldn’t show us our muster stations as the top deck was covered with water from the wave action going onto the top deck. But the next day everyone was told where their muster station was. Perhaps Europeans rules are a little laxed and they should be changed.

      Also, we spent the day in Giglio and our Captain docked way out from shore as he told us that there were reefs and rocks further in. I remember we had to tender in for awhile.

    60. Jeffrey C
      January 16th, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

      I feel safe cruising, but I’ll be sure to take an extra minute to find my lifestation before the ship sails. Given the apparent seriousness of the captain’s behavior, I suspect cruising will be safer in the foreseeable future as lines crack down on any deviation from course without a valid reason (hurricanes would be a good reason).

    61. Ed Keele
      January 16th, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

      Mr. Festino: The Costa Majica is terrible! bad food; lousy crew other than porter staff; smelly toilets; and rude clientele. A word to the wise: cancel now & get your refund. Book Holland America as a best bet or even better Chrystal.

    62. Hong
      January 16th, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

      Having been on a Costa Cruise before, I know that their safety drill is during noon of the second day. There is no chance for the passengers on the Concordia to know what to do because this happened on the first night and only less than 3 hours into the cruise.

    63. Mary Kelly
      January 16th, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

      I loved my Princess Cruise….however I feel the Drill should be held next to your specified life boat (not in the Theatre, Lounge, etc).
      Also, I feel life jackets would be better located in proximity to the life boats….therefore preventing the panic of returning to your cabin to retrieve your life jacket.
      Also, one wonders if, in an emergency when there is no power, whether you are able to use your cabin card to unlock your cabin door?
      I would also hope that all crew members on all cruise ships would be able to speak English as well as their native language.

    64. Randall Jaques Maritime Safety Expert
      January 16th, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

      As a former ships security officer and now safety expert I can tell you this. When you leave your homes and board a ship you are at their mercy. It can be the best way to take a holiday for most people. For others it can become a disaster. I pray for the day the power of controling our fate is taken away from the owners of the cruise companies.If you have any questions or just want to vent please contact me. Calm Seas, Randall

    65. Stephanie
      January 16th, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

      I agree that standardized safety drilled, replete with booting drunken and rowdy guests off the boat if they don’t behave during muster- as one pilot told me re: Alec Baldwin’s recent troubles, if a passenger doesnt follow safety commands when things are under control, what will happen in a crisis? But something not being addressed here is: how sufficient are muster dills to begin with? With the costa, the ship listed and people couldnt get to half of the lifeboats. I’d love to see some Capt Sully-like experts make recommendation to the industry and create something like the FAA’s pilots check list.

    66. P Leek
      January 16th, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

      Kev Kelly spoke of Costa Riviera. We sailed on Costa Riviera, in Europe on her last voyage as she was in the process of sinking when we set sail, hallways and lower decks were already wet we found out. We were required to turn over passports upon boarding and when we docked in Naples the next afternoon we were fortunate the British Consul boarded and demanded all English speakers be let off with their passports( As Americans we took advantage of that ). The next morning the ship had to be evacuated as it was taking on water too fast. Also told by Costa Captain that everything was fine and not to worry.

    67. Mary
      January 16th, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

      Went on the Disney Wonder….an evacuation drill was held within 30 minutes and we were in full lifejacket and everyone was silent and listened. Have been on Celebrity Solstace and Celebrity Century – a drill was held shortly after departure but without lifejackets in a large room….most of the people paid NO attention but the crew kept trying to get the attention of the gabbers but they laughed and kept on takling…many left the demo early and many never even showed up at all… they were paged….no idea if they ever showed

    68. Venkatesh Padmanabhan
      January 16th, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

      The problem is with cruise ships listing and listing at greater than 10 degrees. It essentially renders all lifeboats on one side of the ship useless. So you’ve just had your escape routes cut in half.

      And now if they don’t make the call to launch the boats quickly, there is the danger that boats on both sides will be useless.

      Fully enclosed free fall lifeboats are the best since they can be launched really fast and from the aft section of the ship and are self righting and so can be launched at any angle. These are required on heavier cargo ships since their weight puts them in danger of sinking really fast. That does however mean that cruise ship cut down on cabins and decks to accommodate these. But will the profit-maximizing cruise industry put safety in front of everything else? How many Costa Concordia type tragedies will it take before they wake up?

    69. Barb
      January 16th, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

      We have been on 35 cruises, are in our 70’s, and in good shape. We’ve always taken muster seriously. We check out the ship’s deck plans shortly after boarding if the ship is new to us. We know the way to our muster station from anywhere on board. I hope this Costa ship’s disaster helps people realize how important it is to be independent and self-sufficient. Running, screaming, and asking passengers or crew what to do is a waste of time and energy. Plan ahead to prepare yourself for emergencies. If they never happen, that’s wonderful. If an emergency does happen, you’ve done your best to be ready. Personally, from the first scraping sound and ship’s listing, we would have gone to the cabin, taken passports and valuables from the safe, put on warm coats and life jackets, taken a flashlight, and gone to muster. If you have prepared, all that could be done in less than 15 minutes even with pushing though crowds of screaming people and using stairs.

    70. penny
      January 16th, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

      I hope this is a wake up call for all those who do not take the Muster Drills seriously. I hope it is also a wake up for the industry as a whole. Thank God over 4000 souls got off safe, no thanks to the Captain who cowardly got off before his passengers.
      Will I sail again? HECK YEAH, got a 7 night on RCCL booked next month.

    71. Harper
      January 17th, 2012 @ 1:12 am

      I have only traveled on two cruises, one on Celebrity and one on Carnival. Therefore, I have yet to form a conclusive opinion on cruising. But, I must admit this tragedy has really affected that conclusion with regard to safety. I see two major inadequacies with this Costa situation: crew training and ship design. I am also concerned that the industry has been lulled into believing cruising is nearly 100% safe, just like the arrogant attitude of impregnability of the Titanic’s designers and owner. Since Costa is just one jewel in Carnival’s crown of cruise lines, I must ask how pervasive is this attitude?
      Just before this tragedy, we have just booked a Carnival Valor cruise for next December. I was dismayed to find that Valor has an Italian officer crew and the ship was built in the same Italian ship yard as the Concordia and has a similar class design. So I must ask how much cross culture in training and design exists between Costa and Carnival USA under a Carnival International umbrella?
      Training that allowed a captain’s reckless bravado to exist and design that allowed a ship with supposed water safe compartments to list to 80 degrees?

    72. Susann
      January 17th, 2012 @ 1:41 am

      Nothing will make me stop cruising. I don’t stop flying or driving, even though I know that accidents can and do happen. I have done many cruises, all with Holland America. I like the smaller ships, I want to feel as if I’m on a boat, and not a small city.

      Maybe it is just my experience, but I have never sailed without a lifeboat drill almost immediately after embarkation. It’s complete with life jackets, and if they weren’t fastened right, the crew would correct it. It’s always been organized and orderly. If you have to stand there in the hot sun until they make sure everyone is accounted for, the drill will be completed.

      My impression has always been that the crew know what they are doing, and would in case of an emergency. So it’s Holland for me and I’ll cruise until I can’t any more!

    73. Bonnie Richter
      January 17th, 2012 @ 2:18 am

      My daughter and I took our first cruise 20 years ago on Costa Riviera. It was so awful (bad food, non-English-speaking staff, etc.), my daughter said she would never cruise again. The following year I had took a Princess cruise, alone, and the experience was as different as night and day. So the next year, my daughter went along on Princess, and she loved it, too. To those who have never sailed on Costa, DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY!!! We have tried other lines, too, but I still prefer Princess. This disaster is very sad, but will not deter me from cruising ~ although hereafter I will probably be afraid to get into an elevator… How would you ever get out if an accident like this happened?

    74. Philipp' af Malmö
      January 17th, 2012 @ 7:07 am

      Have been on quite a number of cruises, it makes me think about awareness of where life vests are (there was a shortage on the Costa) and what I should always carry with me walking around a ship. Copy of passport, i.d. card, credit card. Thees people left having NO identity documents or credit cards. What a disaster! And maybe a waterproof pack for the few items to salvage – computer, phone, etc.

    75. Harper
      January 17th, 2012 @ 8:54 am

      correction: Costa Concordia and Carnival Valor were both built by the same corporate shipbuilder Fincantieri – Cantieri Navali Italiani S.p.A., but not in the same shipyard. This builder also built the Carnival Splendor, which lost power in the Pacific and had to be towed back to port. Ships built by Fincantieri can be found listed on:
      (Wikipedia under the search “Fincantieri”)
      I will be especially interested in finding out why the Concordia lost power for a time and why their design did not keep the Concordia upright.

    76. francisco festino
      January 17th, 2012 @ 9:46 am

      Mr.Ed Keele.Thank you very much for your kind advice.Wish I could cancel and get a refund,but apparently that`s impossible now.I know Holland America or Crystal are much better than Costa,but they are premium cruise lines and what really appealed to me with Costa was the low price(2x 1 promotion fare)We hope for the best!!!!Francisco.

    77. Steve
      January 17th, 2012 @ 10:11 am

      As a veteran cruiser, I agree with lax attitude from passangers about life boat drills. I think cruise industry has to take serious look at procedures. As these ships get bigger and bigger, can they truly evacuate them if necessary? Do cruise lines practice a full blown evacuation with 3000 people on board in some type of training exercise? Should they?? I think with thousands on board it makes it very difficult. Still will cruise forever, just like anything else…have a plan, just in case the worst happens. Also, have a waterproof baggie in your safe with passports, credit card and cash to grab and go.

    78. Crystal
      January 17th, 2012 @ 10:40 am

      First I want to say how very sorry I am for the family and friends of the people who died and are missing.

      With that being said no I will not stop cruising, just like I don’t stop riding trains, buses, planes, ferries, or cars. Accidents by their definition happen unexpectedly and you owe it to yourself to be prepared. My families motto has always been it’s better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it so we sailed with flashlights that float, all our documents together in a airtight bag and we made sure we paid attention during muster. In an emergency I’d rather depend on myself then others.

    79. Bill K
      January 17th, 2012 @ 10:52 am

      I have been on about 62 cruises in my lifetime and in the last 10 years have pretty much been sailing on RCCL and Celebrity exclusively. I make it a point to physically go to my muster station even though the drill at least in the past few years has been conducted in a public room without life jackets. I agree with one of the comments that any “newbee” should at the very least know how to put on the L-jacket as although simple can be confusing. I will say that RCCL and Celebrity do a good professional job during the drill. My heart goes out to the passengers of the Costa Concordia. I will continue to make my cruise vacation my first choice.

    80. Elsa Fourie
      January 17th, 2012 @ 11:32 am

      Me and my husband have just returned fro a cruise to Dubai on MSC Lirica. This was tremendous!! The same afternoon – first on the agenda was the life boat drill.Fully equipped. We are planning on a cruise in the Caribbean and surely accidents happen – but this will not put me off from cruising.Its not a bad ship , it as a lack of incompetence by the captain and the staff !! If you are scared to drive because you worried you are going to be in an accident – then DON’T DRIVE !! We have been on 7 cruises, Simphony,Princess,Crown oddysey,Marco Polo, Melody and a few with MSC and they are all highly reccommended !! Focus on the positive and forget the negative. This is a wake up call !!

    81. Descal13
      January 17th, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

      I think that perhaps some laws have changed regarding Muster Drills – to the detriment of passenger’s safety. I have noticed in recent years that on several different cruise lines that we are not required to bring our life jackets, that no one may be checking in each passenger at the muster station, and on our last cruise, that one staff member who was supposed to be directing people from our deck was chatting on his cell phone and sent about 10 of us off in the wrong direction to our station. I hope that the process becomes standardized no matter where you cruise on earth, that before the ship leaves port a full muster drill is completed with every passenger. I know they often have the drills in a theater or dining area, but with a 3,000+ passenger ship that is the safest way to manage and safely evacuate large numbers of passengers. For those who complain about muster drill, take a cute picture of your family in their life jackets, meet a few fellow passengers, and enjoy the rest of your cruise with the confidence that you are well prepared in the event of an emergency.

    82. Joe
      January 17th, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

      Not to make light of the tragedy but “if it’s your time to go then that’s it.” That house blew up yesterday and could have killed many, so where to you go then?

      Cars crash, so do planes and trains derail, so what do you do? Insulate yourself from all that can harm you? You can’t you pray and hope that your trip will be uneventful. This is the not the first time that a disaster has occured on the high seas or anywhere else. How it was handled by the cruise line is the crime here as well as how it occured. I doubt you’ll see another like this for a long time to come, as all will be extra, extra careful from now on.

      Comdolances to all the families of those who have died in this tragedy.

    83. Rick
      January 17th, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

      Carolyn said it! We’ve only cruised a tenth of her experience, starting with The SS Oceanic to Nassau in the 70s. I recall wearing a genuine Mae West to the muster deck. In recent years we’ve seen muster drills move from donning life jackets on the main deck of the HAL Eurodam to lounging in the plush Celebrity theater (no need to bring life jackets). As a “Qualified” Submariner, it has always struck me how potentially dangerous it really is for the passengers aboard a ship, unless the crew is properly trained and drilled for emergencies. Our lives are truly in their hands.

    84. After sinking, is cruising safe? « Information Tumbler
      January 17th, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

      […] sure does frighten me, a longtime cruiser,” wrote Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of, about how quickly things went wrong on the Concordia. “This was a systemic failure that […]

    85. Sandra Pickett
      January 17th, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

      This event is a terrible tragedy that shouldn’t have happened but I really don’t think we need to think all cruising is dangerous.As unfortunate as this is many things will be learned from this event.I have been on ships at the muster station and the crew is being very serious in their instruction and fellow passengers are fooling around and being noisy and not taking it serious which this situation may help to change that.Whenever you travel on whatever mode of travel there is safety rules you should be paying attention to. I bet for awhile at least, people will be a little more cautious.Keep your wits about you and pay attention to what you should then go and have a good time.

    86. Colorado B
      January 17th, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

      I took my first cruise on the Sun Princess in 1976 in Alaska and have pictures of the pre-departure muster drills with the life jackets on. A couple of years later we sailed on the Royal Viking out of Stockholm and again we had muster drills (more family pictures).
      My family and I cruise on Disney and we have never left port without first completing the Muster Drill at our assigned location, with our assigned crew members, and life jackets on. Disney suspends all ship board services and they do a roll call cabin by cabin. No, it is not fun being squished up against the wall in the hot sun. I also commend Disney’s ship captains for their expertise. Having watched them maneauver through narrow channels in the Carribean and Alaska earns my respect for their professionalism. Yes, I will sail Disney again without hesitation.

    87. Howard Baca
      January 17th, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

      My family has always taken the safety briefing seriously. Even though we have cruised several times, we always listen intently to the instructions and get the location of our muster station and the crew member assigned to it. Our son is autistic so we do the inside alternate drill, but we still go to where our station would be later. We also inventory and inspect our vests and fit the child one on our son to make sure it fits properly. We also make note of the instructions on the back of the door and locate our primary and alternate evacuation routes. We also make a meeting point in case we are separated during an emergency. I also practice this on aircraft by locating the exits and counting the number of rows to get there.

      I do this because of my experience in the US Navy and also I am a safety officer at work.

    88. A.Aleksich
      January 17th, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

      What type of crisis management is provided to the Captain and his/her Officer branch on board their ship? It is nice to know where the life jackets and muster stations are located but if there is no leadership and strong communication/loud it becomes every person for themselves. What type of certification process is necessary to be on the bridge? Is there a random drug testing program in place for all persons in a leadership position? Is there constant monitoring of the staff on the bridge? Leadership can avert disastrous situations or at the very least minimize loss of life/injury. I will not stop cruising but I am now more interested in qualifications and certification than the Captains dinner. The cruising industry has an opportunity to show their safety knowledge and experience, by providing information of their safety protocol and the credentials of the Captains staff.

    89. Elisabeth
      January 17th, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

      I’m with the other commenter who said that she was more afraid now because she travels with kids – finding them in an emergency could be impossible, and this makes me far less trusting that crew will assist them if need be. I travel with a young child frequently (he is four) and I am a little nervous about Camp Carnival this time around. Will we use it – yes we will – my kid loves it and I do count on that service to be able to relax a bit myself. Will I be more atuned to WHERE I am in relation to Camp Carnival on this trip (we leave for our next cruise Feb 4)- absolutely. Will I be planning to head there at the first sign of any trouble to get my child – YES YES YES. Does anyone know if Costa has childcare and, if so, how that evacuation was handled? I always feel like the crew in Camp Carnival are very dedicated to the children and their safety – but have had to pull my child from another cruiseline’s program when I found the childcare crew was yelling at my child and threatening him that if he didn’t stop crying his mommy wouldn’t come back for him. I would not trust those crewmembers with my child’s dinner, no less his life.

      Thank you for saying you feel frightened. I mentioned this nervous apprehension elsewhere and was told I was being silly. Sure I know cruising is safe – I know that nothing is likely to happen. Things like this do remind us frequent cruisers that the ship is a SHIP and can be subject to all the rules of gravity, physics … gigantic rocks through the hull were never on my list of vacation fears before – or the captain and crew being as out of control as the scared passengers …

      All that being said – God bless all of those still missing – including the couple from White Bear Lake, MN – practically my neighbors – a five minute drive away. Makes me so sad to think this was their dream vacation, and now they are very likely gone forever.

    90. JDinHouston
      January 17th, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

      While the focus continues to be on the Captain for appropriate reasons for his behavior, I am also shocked at how easily the ship listed and submerged to it’s current state. There is so much bragging in the cruise industry about the safety of these new, huge ships. I am reminded of a line from a famous ship movie – She’s made of iron, I assure you, Sir, she can, and she will [sink].
      Clearly, a hundred years later, there isn’t much technology improvement in protecting a large ocean liner from a gash in the side. Only the experience of the captain and crew can protect us. Sad to see such an abysmal failure of the Costa crew – but I have sailed on 48 ships, and I will cruise again, especially on cruise lines that have proven the competence of their crew for the safety of their passengers.

    91. Jean Rudy
      January 17th, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

      We have cruised more than a dozen times, 3 this year. The last cruise, on Disney, was the first time they have had the muster in the theater without a roll call. Perhaps this was initiated because of the size of the new ship.
      I always check the station info on our door, but also feel that the jackets should be located near the lifeboat, not in your room. The suggestion about a waterproof bag with documents , head lights medications etc . are appreciated. I too wonder about the ability to access my room should the power go out.
      Will continue to cruise but adding new reasons to the list, prefer small ship cruising.

    92. Darcy
      January 17th, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

      My husband and I are taking our first cruise in about 9 days. We booked in December with NCL. Even before this tragedy with COSTA, my first priority was knowing how to evacuate the vessel and stay safe. I am sure that muster drills will be top priority to all cruise line employees and passengers alike in the coming weeks, even months. The memory of these events will fade.

      I have to say that I agree with many of the posts that suggest taking personal responsibility for making sure you know the proper evacuation procedure. Personally, if I am not satisfied with the muster drill, or I don’t feel that I understand the plan, I will be bugging somebody until I do!

    93. Barbara Bates
      January 17th, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

      Quoting from above:

      “Will the profit-maximizing cruise industry put safety in front of everything else?”

      To me greed by the cruise line is the reason for this disaster.

      For the past few years, I have cruised at least once a year. But when boarding these bloated, ever-increasing-in-size, gigantic ships, I have worried about evacuation in an emergency.

      The logistic problems with embarking/disembarking huge numbers of passengers became more evident to me when we stood in the cold Glasgow rain for 90 minutes after midnight while the crew tried to board only 900 passengers after returning from the Military Tattoo. The ship couldn’t board 900 passengers quickly, how could they disembark more than 3000 in an emergency.

      Since there was much tendering on this UK cruise with two tender docks in use on board the ship, the wait to tender to/from port were HOURS long.

      Remembering excellent voyages on Royal Viking Line and their dedication to safety with precision muster that required total silence, roll call and search for missing passengers. Those Norwegian officers were in control of the ship and our safety. Cruise lines need to return to that degree of safety and professionalism. If there had been an emergency on RVL, Crystal, HAL or any of the well-run cruise lines it would have been handled much differently than this current tragedy.

      Perhaps the “grand-class ships” or more accurately “grandiose money-makers” can’t have the passengers muster on deck at their station/life boat because not that many passengers will fit on deck. The crew probably couldn’t herd more than 3000 people in the right direction before the end of the voyage. So a genius safety expert advised the cruise lines to send the passengers to lounges and theaters to watch the safety video.

      Cruising on giant ship is not a luxury experience. Cattle car mentality has taken over, money rules and safety is an after thought.

      My last cruise in August 2011 aboard the Grand Princess will be my last on such an enormous ship. As I looked down from my balcony while at sea I wondered if I would survive a jump should an emergency occur. I knew very well that evacuation from that ship would have been very difficult. Perhaps the passengers on promenade had a chance of being evacuated but there were just too many people on that sold-out voyage to feel very confident in a safe evacuation.

      Always more cruising for me but only on smaller well-run ships with excellent reputations.

    94. Mary Gold
      January 17th, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

      I certainly will pay more attention to safety concerns from now on. I have been on a few cruises with Royal C. This next one booked is with Carnival.I will admit that i really did’t know that a cruise ship could tip over so quickly. Has my attention.

    95. Alohatutu
      January 18th, 2012 @ 1:22 am

      I have cruised over 30 cruises with Princess, and I am always impressed with the way they conduct their emergency talks. The crew makes sure that everyone is listening, and they are very serious during the talk! And it is always done before, or just after leaving port. The Costa Concordia was obviously run in a very lax way, which of course is the Captain’s responsibility. If the Captain had the crew well trained there would surely have been a better ending to this unfortunate story.

    96. ClarkHodder
      January 18th, 2012 @ 2:51 am

      Schettino is no Scully. I think the big scandal that will emerge from the Costa wreck is how such an incompetent Captain had been able to keep his job for so many years. You don’t get this bad overnight, there must have been previous complaints about him for years. The ship had two previous accidents (Palermo and Egypt). The ship was unlucky only to have such a disgrace for an officer. Listening to the Coast Guard pleading with him to to return to his ship is heart breaking. We have been on 9 cruises, 3 on Costa (1 on the Concordia). After this I will cruise, but not on Costa ever again. There are plenty of other choices.

    97. Alex
      January 18th, 2012 @ 4:22 am

      This will most certainly not put me off cruising – such a tragedy can only improve the safety rules and drills for this industry. My husband and I have been on 7 cruises and have already booked our 8th. We’ve been with Ocean Village, Island Cruises, Thomson and Royal Caribbean – on all sizes of ships from the smaller ones to the very largest \RCs Allure\. Our favourite is Royal Caribbean with all the staff (from the cabin crew to the officers) being friendly, helpful and professional at all times. The muster drills on all have always been very professional, with your names being checked on lists and staff checking cabins for anyone in them – and the drills happened on the day of setting sail once all passengers were aboard. The embarkation and debarkation of all the ships we have been on as been quick and efficient – the quickest being on the largest (Allure).
      My advice would be if you want extra peace of mind always read the details on the door or your cabin re where your muster station is (this is usually printed on your SeaPass Card also), locate where your lifejackets are kept and even try putting one on, never miss a drill, take responsibility (e.g do not put cigarettes off the side of the ship, use the ashtray provided – can be obtained from cabin staff if not got one), common sense – if in doubt don’t be afraid to ask a member of staff. As if you would if you stayed in a hotel. I love cruising and look forward to many more to come.

    98. maree dixon
      January 18th, 2012 @ 5:03 am

      We cruised on Carnival Magic September 2011. Evacuation drill was conducted (without jackets) but what worried me at the time was this. In an emergency, there is no assurance that the correct passengers have indeed reported to their assigned muster station/lifeboat area short of conducting roll call. I can imagine that there would be people who would have difficulty remembering the exact location of their assigned station and how to get there considering the complexities of the deck plans. Perhaps one idea worth considering would be to have a colour patch on lifejackets that matches a colour patch on a lifeboat.

    99. Robert Rustige
      January 18th, 2012 @ 6:21 am

      Every one who believes that a mass evacuation of so many eldery/non trained passengers who have no idea where they are and what to do can be done in a controlled way without chaos live in LaLa Land.

      It is miracle that so many people got off alive.
      The only reason for this was the perfect weather, the short distance to the shore and that the vessel didn’t sink in deep water.
      The next time a similar accident happens the number of dead will be much higher.

      Offcourse, like after every disaster every one is an expert and knows excactly who to blame and what should have been done.
      It is clear that a part of the crew didn’t perform their duties and the management o/b the vessel has a lot to answer.

      You should ask yourself the following:

      You really expect that for the little money a cruise costs nowadays you can have it all?

      You really think that the outcome would have been much different anywhere else under the same conditions and with cheap labor working under poor conditions to rely on?

      You really think that cruiseliners with up to 9000 crew/passengers any major crisis resulting in imenent sinking of the vessel will be a controled situation?

      Wake up. And direct your comments to the regulatory bodies of this industry.
      It commenly known that building these hugh cruise vessels is madness, maybe not with the public, but the shipping industry knows better.

      It was not a matter of if but when it was going to happen….this time we were \lucky\.

    100. pbillg
      January 18th, 2012 @ 6:52 am

      After a couple days reflection:
      1) How come almost 2/3 of the responders to your daily poll have no concern?
      2) What is there to stop the Captain or Helmsman from doing something stupid?
      3) Why has it been a year now since wearing life vests was suspended for the boat drill? There is a lot of difference between watching someone don a vest and doing it yourself.

    101. MarcoDan
      January 18th, 2012 @ 9:59 am

      The spin is this is a problem due to only one person, the Captain. Where were all the other officers when this happened and when he abandoned ship–with him in the same lifeboat? They should have stepped up and taken control.

      Beyond that, I read reports of passengers reaching shore only to see most of the crew already safe and sound on land. Better training of all crew is needed before lifeboat drills can be conducted correctly.

      I must have been on the same cruise as Jenny B who said\…also more attention to detail as our Muster station leader said one side of the ship and indicated the other side, not very professional.\ When someone questioned the lady who made the statement, she giggled along with her coworkers. I didn’t think it was funny and was glad I knew the difference between port and starboard.

      it may be asking too much of minimum wage crew to stay on board and help passengers to safety in an emergency, however, there are many, many officers on board who could be responsible.

      I still plan to cruise and expect the cruise lines to tighetn up their drills and hopefully their training of crew. How they develop a process to identify and hire only officers with backbone and integrity is another matter.

    102. Andea Berke
      January 18th, 2012 @ 10:00 am

      We were on the Celebrity Century when it ran aground and damaged its rudder in October 2010.

      I never realized how fortunate we were until this disater occured last week-end.
      As I’ve watched all the terrible details emerge
      some similarities beame obvious to me-some which have been mentined in the above posts.

      The cruise ships I’ve been on are all about the hospitality industry, not the safety at sea concern. When we were trying to get assistance, every hand on the payroll was utilized to assist & calm us down. I ended up talking to a dancer. We were always told to return to our cabins as well. On the Century I think it was to keep the ship balanced.

      We were able to spend an additional day on board and on shore if we wished,while they decided how to disembark safely. Celelbrity made us whole moneywise, but it wa a harrowing
      expwerience trying to get hotels and transportation home without assistance, other than access to the internet and phone service.
      We did cruise again last winter, but I concur
      with comments that we did not need life jackets on the Equinox and the drill reembled stand-up comedy.

    103. Roberto
      January 18th, 2012 @ 10:42 am

      I think the difference are the US maritime laws and Italian(or even European in general) maritime laws!!. While in the US penaltys are Italy they seem to be very(extremely) relaxed. In the US, a captain would face life in prison, while in Italy the captain of the Concordia just got house arrest(and I think I read that the maximum jail time is just 12 years!!!). That’s why the majority of cruise incidents seem to happen around the mediterranean. I’ve read the story of a survivor of Concordia from Miami, and he said that from now on, he will only stick to cruises leaving from American ports…and honestly I think I will do the same. I will never cruise in the Mediterranean..I don’t have anything against the Italians, but I think those Italian captains seem to sail those ships the same way they drive their cars in a very reckless way!!!!…for some reason, they seem to behave and stick to plan around caribbean and/or american waters..but in the mediterranean, they sail those ships as if they were riding a damn ferrari!!!

    104. JEC
      January 18th, 2012 @ 10:44 am

      We have sailed on Holland America to Alaska and Transatlantic and had 180 degree experience from Costa. Drills were with life jackets at muster stations. Names were checked and life jackets checked to make sure they were sized correctly. On first night out in Alaska we has an Alarm with an immediate report from the bridge of multiple alarms for a fire in the engine room. Turned out to be a false alarm but officers errored on the side of communication.

    105. Jule
      January 18th, 2012 @ 11:15 am

      @ Barbara Bates
      I am in full agreement with you. I’ve never had a desire to sail on a ship with 4000 people much less 8000!
      I’ll continue to cruise, but will look at the size of the ship, the passenger/space ratio, the crew to passenger ratio, the number of people on board. I’ll find out as much as I can about the ships safety record. I think we, as passengers, have to use our own instincts and realize that in an emergency, no one is going to hold our hands. We need to sharpen our survival plans for any worse case scenario and statements that begin with “I’m sure…” in the context of defending or promoting any particular cruise line should be taken for what they’re worth; wishful thinking.

    106. Paulo Poppino
      January 18th, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

      My wife & I cruised on Costa 10 years ago, and never sailed on it again. All annoucements were in 7 languages and the European passengers and the Italians in particuler were rude and unfriendly. We have cruised 35 times and leave this month for 36th but stick with RCL, Celebrity and Carnival.

    107. Franke Sinker
      January 18th, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

      My wife and I like Celebrity Cruise Lines. A year ago we sailed on the Millenium from Puerto Rico to the southern Carribean. We noticed then that the Celebrity muster drill at the life boats is nonexistent. The crew did everything in the auditorium. One person in the small group we were in commented at that time that they were glad we were in the Carribean because we would probably die if we hit an iceberg. We all laughed but it struck a nerve with me.
      This morning at 10:30 am Mountain time Jan. 18, 2012 I called Celebrity (800-647-2251) just to ask about the muster drills. I told the customer service rep about my concerns. We were planning to take the April 16 Transatlantic cruise on the Equinox.

      She put me on hold while she consulted with a supervisor. When she came back she floored me when she said that Celebrity has an impeccable safety record and that they give outstanding instructions in the auditorium. They will CONTINUE to meet in the auditorium because they have had NO PROBLEM with anyone understanding their instructions.
      I told her about our experience on the Millenium. She repeated that Celebrity WILL NOT CHANGE their method of instruction because their safety record is proven.
      I told her it will not be proven until an accident takes place. She said the ships are operated safely and there will be no accidents.
      I love cruising Celebrity because they get just about everything right, but this morning I decided to no longer cruise Celebrity until they begin to provide bona fide muster drills .

    108. Descal13
      January 18th, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

      My husband and I cruised on the Ruby Princess, one of the new, larger capacity ships in 2009. The Muster Drill was carried out right after leaving port in Barcelona and was thoroughly conducted, although we did not have to put on our life vests. They made certain every person was participating and checked each of us in. Every time I have cruised with Norwegian, they not only have the muster drills for the passengers, but they always carry out a crew drill while in port. They announce that all shipboard services will be suspended while they carry out the crew drill, and I have heard people complain about that! “The coffee shop is closed!” Schettino is a bad example of a Captain. And it seems as though Costa, although it is part of the Carnival family, has a less than thorough track record for safety. I am certain there will be new regulations from every cruise line regarding adhering to proper shipping lanes, new regulations about muster drills and crew preparedness drills being carried out, and probably most importantly, new regulations regarding how rapidly passengers and crew will be notified to go to Muster Stations and evacuate in the event of a tragedy. Because the ship was listing so bad, by the time people decided to evacuate on their own since no one bothered to assist them in evacuation or even issue an order, the lifeboats on the port side could not be deployed because they were under water, and those on the starboard side had to be dispatched fast because the ship was no longer 90 degrees to the water. It is a heartbreaking sight to see the empty lifeboats stuck on the only side they could have been dispatched from. More heartbreaking to see the panicked passengers in the infrared images forming a human chain to help each other get off the ship. Schettino was more concerned about his dessert order than the safety of passengers and crew. I think the crew was poorly trained and unprepared, and they probably did the best they could. I will be less concerned with my safety on a cruise following this tragic incident because it will cause positive change within the industry. But I will sure continue to be aware of my own safety and that of my family while I am on board a ship, or in a theater, or on a plane, or in a car. There is, however, one new thing I will put on my packing list – a waterproof flashlight for my purse.

      My adult son expressed concern because he knows my husband and I love cruising. I told him this: Know that your father and I will always stay together, and we will keep our head anywhere we travel and try to make the best decisions to insure our safety. But we will continue to travel the world and experience all it’s wonders. If, God forbid, something ever did happen to us while we traveled, know that when we left this world we were together on a journey that made us happy. That’s the best I can give him.

    109. dave
      January 18th, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

      I cruised last week and it was only my 2nd cruise but I did have concerns based on what I witnessed and what might happen in actual emergency.
      First off I thought drill was more lax than my previous cruise that was two years prior…could be mistaken, but I thought either we were briefed in lounge and/or were required to bring life jackets to deck.
      Next…”in the event of a real emergency”….Really?!?…has anybody ever actually thought this thru? You’re out there having dinner and you’re told there is an emergency…first you have to battle crowds going the other way to get to your cabin for life vest and then get to your muster station…the whole thing smells of pandamonium and havoc. In case of Costa…half the muster stations would have been under water…what exactly then?
      I’m fairly self-reliant but I have found in my limited cruising that most of people I have ever asked anything of to be generally clueless when asked anything remotely outside of their job or area of expertise. These are the people who are supposed to usher me to safety?
      Attitudes start from the top and given the Captain of this ship it can be easily seen why mayhem ensued given the lax standards.
      Given that these ships can basically drive themselves…it would be hoped that any deviation from standard route where automatic controls are over-ridden that an internal investigation is launched. all stems from the top. In most if not all cases…you would answers made sense and were done in interest of safety. You went off-course to wave to the Mayor?!? At very least a reprimand should be on file and any similar actions in future may end in termination. My father was in the airline industry…never once did he fly by the house and honk the horn…

    110. netcruizer99
      January 18th, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

      I totally agree with you. The thing that bothers me most is not that an accident occurred, accidents will occur even with the best of plans, but the aftermath of it. The crew in total panic, the captain off the ship with no warning. No communciations. This is what Carnival and Costa need to address, how is it that with all of their procedures and training, everyone just fled and left the passengers to fend or themselves? The muster drill situation was a result of the Maritime Commission loosening the regulations, two years ago they no longer required cruise ships to have the drills at the lifeboats with the life jackets on. That is no good as far as I’m concerned but tht’s not the problem. The abandonment of accepted standards and long entrenched values, that’s what needs to be figured out.

    111. Ed
      January 18th, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

      Some great posts here. i hope the cruise lines sit up and take note:

      1. No ship should leave embrkation port without a full and thorough muster drill after all passengers have boarded.
      2. Make sure everyone is on deck at their muster stations.
      2. stop doing muster drills in theaters with and without life vests
      3. make sure muster captains check that all their passengers are putting on life-vests correctly
      4. most importantly, do not serve alcohol until the muster is over.

    112. Kennicott
      January 18th, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

      Wonder if the Concordia’s disaster well wake someone up with respect to safety on the high seas? Maybe they wait until we lose 4 thousand or more.

      We prefer expedition type cruising on relatively small liners. The largest ship we have been on was 109,000 gross tons. Our average voyage is on ships 25K to 50K tons. Having sailed around the world almost twice now and cruised for 22 years we have witnessed quite a bit of change, not all for the good. I spent a professional life time in transportation and am proud to say I never compromised safety for anything. We dislike the huge slab sided condominium looking ships the industry has galvanized itself with today. Primarily because of the lack of open deck space and subsequent safety. I have always been concerned over the safety aspect of voyages on these larger vessels but when witnessing life boat drills on them I’m really concerned. The absence of adequate open deck space allows for extremely compacted conditions during drills. Promenade decks seldom wrap around the ship anymore so all the vessels passenger complement is forced to cram onto this limited space, you are so packed in one can hardly bend over and tie a shoe.

      Due to these overcrowding conditions, drill procedures implemented on some ships establish muster stations within the interior of the ship, using the larger lounges, etc. This is even worse. Presumably, in an abandon ship event, a “crew person will escort groups to their awaiting life boats”. So imagine, during an accident, all the passengers, plus a goodly portion of the ships crew compliment, all jammed onto the open deck areas. Then the ship begins to list to one side or the other. Transverse corridors on these ships are few a far apart, they run with the beam of the vessel, somewhere between 120 and 220 feet in length. Just envision, all those people, aged, very young, crippled, etc. attempting to move to the high side which is already jammed with bodies, and trying to do that through already jammed passage ways. Then throw in a worse nightmare, fire. In scenarios like that, to say one booked passage on a death trap is an understatement.

      They are marine engineering floating disasters waiting to happen here folks, all in the name of creating sea going land type resorts with the almighty dollar, or euro, trumping reason and logic. Where is governmental safety regulation for the high seas travel today? Well, it is very rare, in the wealthy western laissez faire capitalistic societies, anyway. Just listen to blowhard politicians looking for higher office here in the U.S. condemning what little oversight and rules we have now for public protection. Scary.

    113. Signe Blanton
      January 18th, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

      I have only been on 2 cruises one was with Costa they had a very good drill. we had to wear our life vest and go to our station they told us what boat to go to. The other was with Norwegian they did not require us to go to our lifeboat and we did not take our life vest. I will still cruise but you can be sure I will locate the life boat I need to go to. and how to get there even in the dark.

    114. keannab
      January 18th, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

      So many die in cars planes and trains so id say its safe!

    115. Jimmy Young
      January 18th, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

      When Costa Concordia power was out, entire ship went dark. As an electrical engineer, this poor design of all cruise ships concern me very much.

      Why are there no independent battery powered emergency light for walkways & exits guiding passengers to safety?

      Why are staterooms electronic locks stopped and trapped people inside? How could passengers return to their locked cabins in darkness to retrieve life jacket, medicine, passport & cash?

      What is the reason for cruise ship require withholding your passports upon boarding? Why?

    116. Margaret
      January 18th, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

      I am concerned that if there is one captain with the lack or moral ethics like this captain, there are more. We are planning a cruise in February and will keep a flashlight and copy of passports with us at all times. If anyone has any other ideas for us to be more proactive, please let us know.

    117. Everyperson
      January 18th, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

      I’m sure, that because of this recent tragedy, all cruise lines will now be enforcing very strict muster drills : on deck, with life vests on and at your appointed muster stations. They may even have more than one drill during a cruise and probably at night. Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy like this to enforce or even upgrade current regulations.

      My condolences to those who were injured and to the families that lost loved ones.

    118. James
      January 18th, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

      This is a thoughtful and and written summary if a tragic event. Like Ms Spencer-Brown, I have been cruising for many years. I go to the muster drills and I pay attention, but after so many times one gets jaded on hearing the instructions. Not so anymore. Though I could recite the procedures by heart, I will be listening very closely to what is said and demonstrated, and even if I don’t need the lifevest for the drill, I’ll test it in my stateroom to make sure the size is right and that nothing is in disrepair – I once had one without a buckle-clasp.

      On NCL, muster drills are held at least 30 minutes prior to departure. Passenger attendance is required, and passengers must indicate to a crew member for their muster station at the drill that they are present. I think it would be a good idea to hold a drill which is unannounced to the passengers at some point during the cruise – crew and staff would know. (Some of the schools I taught at did this and everyone benefitted from the experience. Everyone knew what to do and where to go.) Naturally, it would be most unwelcome at 3 am, but when it’s a question of life-or-death, I’ll take the unannounced drill.

      On my last cruise, most of the passengers continued their private conversations as the drill was being performed and instrauctions being given. A group of people were sitting at a table discussing this-and-that, and it was clear they were not listening or paying attention. From that table I heard a woman say, “What was that?” after the emergency alarm had sounded. Let’s hope the Costa Concordia tragedy makes people wake up and pay attention.

      The crew are there to asssit during any emergency, but it is always a good idea to know what you as a passenger should do. The NCL crew are trained well and I’ve seen them puyt through their paces on more than one occasion. I feel confident they can help, but, believe me, I’m going to my share to keep me and my partner alive and safe. So I listen and find out how to get to our muster station from any point on the ship, or at least to the nearest lifevests and lifeboat, and I will do so even more diligently on our next cruises.

    119. Susan Ross
      January 18th, 2012 @ 11:12 pm

      My husband and I went on Celebrity Millenium last Feb. We has a great time. However the emergency lecture was given in the theatre by video, no lifejackets. I told my husband that if there was an emergency we would be in big trouble and wondered why we weren’t being shown where our lifeboat was.

      Someone said the lifejackets should be stored with the lifeboats. That is an excellent idea. I don’t know what good they do in your cabin since you’re only in there at night.

    120. Walt
      January 19th, 2012 @ 5:55 am

      I really do not want to seem insensitive, and feel for the victims of this tragedy and their families. But of course Cruising is safe.

      Do the math. Divide the number of deaths caused by cruising (heart attacks from old age don’t count… overeating, maybe) by the total number of cruisers over the last year, five years, ten years or so. You will find that cruising is probably much safer than the equivalent stats show for flying… which is FAR safer than driving. Should we decide to stop driving out of sensitivity to the 1.2 MILLION or more people killed in auto accidents each year? (according to the WHO’s 2004 estimate.) That’s ONE out of every 6,000 people alive killed EACH YEAR in auto accidents!

      When people see an 80 car pileup on the highway resulting in 30 deaths why is it we don’t suddenly see folks saying “Oh, I would never get out on a highway again… at those speeds the cars are death traps.” Why is cruising, or flying, treated any differently? Is it because we all can’t naturally fly and many people can’t swim?

      Yes, if the Captain and Crew (of a ship or airplane) are not properly trained and/or do not perform in a professional manner… it’s at least a bit more dangerous for everyone who sails with them. But the same is true for a bus driver. And along that vein, we’re all at greater risk when a drunk driver is next to us. Thus, it’s a good idea not to drive a lot after midnight on new year’s eve when there are a lot of drunks on the road.

      But until someone shows us that there are a bunch of irresponsible and untrained captains and crews of ships (or airplanes) we should all get over our superstitions and get back out there and go places and have fun. It’s not that safe to stay home in your house either… what with the risk of carbon monoxide, radon, mold, lead, asbestos, second hand smoke, and good old fashioned fire.

      Maybe we should all crawl under a rock. Probably still more dangerous than cruising.

    121. Tripp
      January 19th, 2012 @ 8:47 am

      We have sailed several times on Holland America and will sail again with them in May. On every cruise we were required to report to our muster station with life jackets. All passenger names were read out loud and everyone had to be accounted for during the practice session….that’s why I’ll stick with HA…..but I will also pay closer attention during these drills!

    122. VICKI BRUNO
      January 19th, 2012 @ 8:53 am

      I have lost count of all the cruises I have been on and never once did I feel unsafe. When I attend Muster Drills Carnival has always handled them better than any other line and they take them serious. Once they stopped a drill completely till one group quieted down. There are plane crashed, train wrecks and car accidents way more than there is Cruise Ship accidents. I think it is our own responsibility as well as the CL to look in our cabin for the life vests and to go see where our muster station is and the quickest way to get there. I love cruising and I will continue to cruise. I have one booked on Celebrity in February and one on Carnival in May and looking now to see which one we want to cruise on in September. I say “Bon Voyage”!!!

    123. Allen Zielnik
      January 19th, 2012 @ 8:54 am

      I was on the Celebrity Eclipse in November and sailed on the Carnival Elation this past New Year’s eve and SOLA protocols were well followed and I am confident in the major lines sailing out of US ports.

      To me, the more damaging question apart from the obvious Costa management lapse is where was the oversight from parent Carnival, the world’s largest cruise line my a substantial margin. That’s were the buck ultimately stops.

    124. Va
      January 19th, 2012 @ 9:02 am

      I have only cruised seven times, all on Carnival, so I am basically a newbie compared to a lot of you. I would like to say something in defense of having the drills in the dining rooms or lounges. I have attended drills wearing my life jacket where we were crowded on the deck next to our life boats and I have gone to drills in the dining room sans life jackets. I actually learned more in the dining room where I could see and hear the crew member clearly. The subtle humor kept our attention also.

    125. Ted
      January 19th, 2012 @ 9:10 am

      I am truly shocked that apparently there was no redundancy or oversight in the decision making process related to navigation. I hope that this does not mean that the cruise lines allow Captains to simply go off course \for fun\. Why was there not a GPS system being monitored by someone not on the ship that caused alerts to be sounded and answered. So many apparent stupid things happened or did not happen that my confidence in the industry’s serious concern for safety and/or profits, has been lessened.

    126. SandyB
      January 19th, 2012 @ 9:43 am

      Every ship I have been on (in the US) has had a mandatory muster drill almost immediately after departing. That being said, on the last one I was looking at the lifeboats with the their rusted divots and wondered when the last time was that someone actually tested the mechanisms and lifeboats to see if they still worked properly. Does anyone know if this is done and when? Knowing how to line up for a boat doesn’t really help if the boats don’t work.

    127. William
      January 19th, 2012 @ 10:05 am

      What about double hull construction, and also the automatic doors that close off in an emergency?

    128. Roselle Commins
      January 19th, 2012 @ 10:06 am

      We cruised on Celebrity Equinox Dec.12,2011, and were surprised that drill was the next day, inside, with video and no lifejackets. We counted ourselves fortunate to have previously been on cruises where drill took place on deck, near lifeboats, with lifejackets, roll call, and all of the appropriate demonstrations. The indoor drill did not make us feel “good”, and the fact that Celebrity took these shortcuts surprised us.
      Hoping that this tragedy will cause all lines that have modified their procedures as above, to reconsider these “shortcuts”

    129. Erica bag
      January 19th, 2012 @ 10:10 am

      I think the thing that shocked me the most was the lack of a drill. On both carnival and holland America the drill was almost immediately after we were underway. HAL did not have us wear life jackets which I actually approve of as they are pretty self explanatory and shown in the drill
      Without wearing life jackets we had more room to see what was being said
      As for not going. It’s not worth it to avoid going
      All the noise and endless pounding on doors definitely motivates you

      The big thing with a stil is WHERE TO GO and bring lifejacket.
      If you get nothing from the drill but this there will be much less confusion

      One comment a person had mentioned is that cruise ship that disembark at the USA do have more stringent regulations
      I have to wonder if this is true
      Onboard both cruise lines I have traveled I felt I would know what to do if an emergency arises

      YES all drills should be on deck

    130. hector
      January 19th, 2012 @ 10:25 am

      This tragedy has highlighted major causes of concern regarding safety that really need addressing by a form of public enquiry. One initial question for me is ‘Has the role of ships officers and crew become blurred?’ It appears to me that ships officers today lack leadership skills and training. I perhaps wrongly, compare them to naval officers, responsible for not only sailing the ship but also managing it’s crew and passengers. They should have an air of authority. In an emergency I expect them to take charge. This does not appear to be in their role these days. My experience has been a singular lack of interaction with passengers. This appears to have rubbed off on any form of manager on the ship. Avoid passenger contact is the order of the day. That way any moans & groans will go away. The Captain of of Concordia perhaps has been reduced to little more than the driver of the ship, bored to tears, hence the excitement of taking the ship off course. If there is little leadership shown by the Captain and his officers, what chance is there of the other managers on board filling that gap? Are the cruise ships regarded by their owners & crew as little more than a floating hotel, to be run at as low cost as possible, with lip service paid to leadership, the role of it’s Captain & officers undervalued & undermined, it’s staff underpaid and under trained?

    131. Dennis J. Cox
      January 19th, 2012 @ 10:33 am

      The incident involving Concordia should not deter anyone from cruising. It should, however, make it clear to all who cruise that the safety drill is more than just an inconvenience and interruption in their vacation.

      Back in 1995, my wife and I sailed on Royal Caribbean VIKING SERANADE from Los Angeles to Baja. Of the 13 safety drills we have participated in this one stands out in my mind because of the intensity with which it was conducted. It was a no-nonsense affair from start to end. Nothing that would disrupt the message was tolerated and I firmly believe we would still be tied to the pier if the passengers had not given their undivided attention to the message being given. There were those seasoned cruisers among the passengers that seem to take the safety drill in the same manner as passengers on airliners tske the emergency briefing before a flight. To his credit, the Master of VIKING SERENADE stopped the briefing on several occasions when passengers failed to take it seriously.

      The Master of Concordia apparently deviated from standard procedure and lost his ship as a consequence. That cannot, and should not, be condoned or minimized in any way. However, these were the actions of one individual. Should the cruise industry as a whole suffer for the act of an irresponsible individual? I think not.

    132. Julia
      January 19th, 2012 @ 10:46 am

      We cruised with Royal Carribean last May and we did not have our life jackets on during muster. No-one said anything and we basically just stood in front of the lifeboat. We didn’t hear the announcement of the muster as the intercom didn’t work in our cabin. We just happened to be on the right deck and were directed to our muster station by a crew member. I hope that these drills are changed so that all cruise companies do the same drill.

    133. byroni
      January 19th, 2012 @ 10:46 am

      There is one very good way to empower the passengers to watch what the Captain is doing with our ship! What every ship needs is what the Norwegian Jade provides. No Captain Schettino would have dared the fatal Giglio side trip if the Concordia had had the Jade’s navigation room, charts and instruments for passengers to observe his steering! I’ll explain. We’ve sailed with Norwegian several times, – twice on the Norwegian Jade. The Jade had a small room accessible to passengers and adjacent to the Captain’s bridge furnished with nautical charts and several active navigational instruments duplicating those used by the Captain and his crew. There was a glass wall so that we could watch the bridge in action. Through the glass we could actually see the crew steering the ship and actually see, in real time, the instrument screens they used and the ships position,speed and path tracked on them. As a commercial fisherman much aware of the hazards of weather and navigation, I much enjoyed this facility. On our second Jade trip, we chose our cabin to be near this facility, which I visited several times a day. I remember one night in particular when we were met with a gale approaching and sailing through the Strait of Messina between Italy and Siciliy. We could actually see on the instruments how the ships in the area were manuevering to go through in turn and see just how close we were and how fast we were going during this potentially hazardous passage (which we eventually attempted successfully just after dawn). I don’t know what I would have done had I seen the Jade’s Captain closing rapidly onto a lee shore, but I doubt Captain Schettino would have dared what he dared had his navigational choices, and their unexplained deviation from the course marked on charts, been immediately available to his passengers. Why doesn’t every ship have such a facility? Why shouldn’t the pasengers have a window onto the Captain’s navigational choices at all times? There were only 20 or 30 of us who were regulars in that navigation room, but I am sure we would have begun to buzz to one another if we veered off the charted course and headed off to the shore of a rocky island.

    134. Mary Carman
      January 19th, 2012 @ 10:51 am

      Whether Costa, Carnival or another cruise line! The captain and crew have a clear responsibility to understand, communicate and enforce the ship’s rules. Disregard for muster drills have the potential to create chaos in an emergency – perhaps contributing to the Costa tragedy.

      On a recent HAL cruise, while well managed for the most part, we were dismayed by the absence of common sense by our fellow passengers as they insisted on congregating in stairwells and blocking elevators and pushing to disembark at non-tender ports. The ship made mild announcements but not one officer ever stepped in to restrain what could have been a very ugly situation. When discussed later we were advised that ships crew were concerned that passengers may not be ‘happy’ ifs heir behavior was ‘managed’.

      I can only imagine the scene should there have been an evacuation!

    135. HR
      January 19th, 2012 @ 11:02 am

      I would still cruise, but never ever on Costa again. I was on the Costa Atlantica 2 years ago because I got such a great deal, Ship was beautiful and food great, but let me tell you, the staff was terrible. Service was the worst I have ever experienced and I have been on 8 other cruises. It didn’t surprise me when I heard that it was Costa at all.
      I am in the process of looking at a cruise now but on RCL, the best in my opinion.

    136. Marilyn
      January 19th, 2012 @ 11:03 am

      We have taken over 50 cruises including the Century that broke down in the Med. It has not discouraged us from continuing to cruise. We have just returned from a 32 to day Asia to Oz on Princess. It is the best value holiday out there. We have never had the desire to cruise on Costa and probably never will. My heart goes out to those who have lost friends and family in this senseless and avoidable tragedy.

    137. Tom
      January 19th, 2012 @ 11:29 am

      With NO ships having American registry NO cruiser has any recourse for any loss including life.
      You can NOT sue them, if there doctors make mistakes and lamb or kill you.. Just live with it, NO family compensation, NO nothing.

      With the Costa and ALL the lines if you loose your personal belongings or life via their mistake, tuff.

      I love cruising and will continue, not Costa, but with reservations..

    138. Barbara
      January 19th, 2012 @ 11:37 am

      From what I have read, a drill had been held for all passengers except those who boarded at the most recent port. And most people did eventually decide to get their life jackets and report to their muster stations. even though they had been told there was no problem and to go on with normal activities. The problems stem from the captain and ship’s officers who failed in so many ways to act responsibly and left the waiters, shop keepers, entertainers to handle the evacuation. So be as prepared as you can but understand that you will still be at the mercy of the staff.

    139. Bob
      January 19th, 2012 @ 11:50 am

      Don’t just blame Carnival. They happen to just be the largest cruise line (50% of the market)with about a hundred ships. Louse Cruise Lines Sea Diamond sank on April 2007 in the Agean, and Norwegian pled guilty to manslaughter charges after the boiler explosian in May 2003 on the legidary SS Norway at the port of Miami

    140. M Robertson
      January 19th, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

      Having cruised both from USA and Europe with Royal Carribean, we noted they have have different drills. In USA it appears to be taken much more seriously with everyone standing at attention and wearing life-jackets from Palma, Majorca it was all a joke, no life-jackets required and staff clowning about! We felt really uncomfortable about the lack of professionalism amongst the staff during the drill, they seem to think they were there to entertain the passengers during the drill. We left none the wiser, couldn`t hear the announcements over the audio system for the crew clowning about with each other.

    141. Laura
      January 19th, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

      I agree with Dave and Jimmy Young there seem to be more systemic issues here irrelevant to muster drills and lifeboat stations.
      I wonder how many of those that were lost were waiting in their staterooms with life jackets on because they were told to do so.
      I probably won’t stop cruising but in a similar situation I’m not going to blindly follow directions either.
      This situation has shown me that it’s every man for himself and trusting your own instincts is superior to depending on an emergency plan that apparently doesn’t exist.
      Unfortunately my attitude is not in the best interests of good order and that’s something that the cruise industry needs to now consider.
      As far as emergency procedures and competent command and control within Costa (Carnival) Cruise Line, and potentially the cruise industry itself: THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES.

    142. Greg Gross
      January 19th, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

      I would heartily agree that cruise travel overall is very safe and wouldn’t hesitate to cruise in the future. But when people say, as Larry Stevens does, that the chances of a recurrence of the Costa Concordia disaster “are nil,” they forget that this disaster was caused by the most unstoppable force in the universe:

      Human stupidity.

      Humankind, for all its genius, has yet to devise a device capable of overriding its own stupidity. It has destroyed relationships, destroyed lives, destroyed whole nations. You can’t legislate it away, regulate it away or medicate it away. We’ve tried all of that. Drive on any American freeway longer than five minutes and you’ll know. When it comes to conquering stupidity, nothing works.

      So long as a ship captain has the power to ignore company policy and his own good sense for the sake of an ill-advised impulse — and the ability to intimidate his junior officers into acquiescence — NO ONE can guarantee that something like this will never happen again.

    143. Mark F
      January 19th, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

      I agree with allot that has been said, especially Ted in regards to ships being able to go off course for the fun of it. I had planned to book a cruise for end of february, after getting back from Southern Caribbean last month. I emailed Carnival, and until I have a satisfactory response in regards to ships Captains just going where ever they feel like at the moment, I will stay on shore.

    144. Jimmy Young
      January 19th, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

      Please don’t be stupid and STOP compare cruise with plane, train & car. One is life essential transportation, which we cannot live without. Cruise is entertainment and goes in loops and went nowhere, while half on board are drunks. Captains & officers I saw dressed in full uniform entertain guests in dining hall half drunk, showed off the bridge, are clowns.

    145. John
      January 19th, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

      WOW! So many great comments. No way I could get through all of them, and I wonder if anyone does. My question is: Who is the consumer advocate organization for cruising? Doesn’t/shouldn’t Cruise Critic have a role. When the cruise ships host our meetings, shouldn’t we deliver a list of improvements we think should be made?

      I have been on several cruises, and I don’t think the Celebrity “musters” in a lounge are effective at all. I laughed when I saw elderly and infirm mixed in with us, who would be trampled in an actual emergency (of course, not by me).

      As far as the “muster” stations, shouldn’t there be extra life vests there? As they all tend to look alike, shouldn’t they be color-coded somehow? Shouldn’t emergency lighting be installed in the floor, as it is in airplanes directing you to the emergency exits? I often get confused as to which direction I am headed on a ship at the best of times. What would it be like in an emergency?

      I would like to hear how we could be more effective in providing suggestions to the cruise industry!

    146. Cruiser from Maryland
      January 19th, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

      My cruises have mostly been on Royal Caribbean where the drills were mandatory, orderly and held as soon as the ship left port. Last year, we sailed Carnival for the first time. My husband and I both agreed that it was the most disorderly drill we’ve been through and if there should be an emergency, 50% or more of the cruisers from our group would have no clue what to do. People were drinking, dancing around, or talking. . . not caring or paying attention to what was being said. The other issue was the Carnival drill was held in the pool area – no where near a lifeboat. In the event of a full-blown emergency, the majority from our group would have no idea where to go or what to do.

    147. Mark Taylor
      January 19th, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

      Lots of people are comparing cruise line with cruise line saying don’t travel with this one or that one. I have sailed on just 2 cruises both Carnival and both excellent – the last was this summer on the Carnival Magic (around Italy as it happens).

      Some people have said cancel your upcoming Carnival cruise because “they own Costa and therefore you should worried”, whilst replying “I always travel on Pricess cruises” or whatever the favourite cruise line is.

      Well you’re in for a surprise (as was I earlier this week) Carnival are owned by The Carnival Corporation. But the Carnival Corporation also owns the following brands…

      AIDA Cruises, Germany
      Carnival Cruise Lines, United States
      Costa Cruises, Italy
      Cunard Line, United Kingdom
      Holland America Line, United States
      Ibero Cruises, Spain
      P&O Cruises, United Kingdom
      P&O Cruises Australia, Australia
      Princess Cruises, United States
      Seabourn Cruise Line, United States

      I was surprised about Cunard and P&O but come on – you’re trying to tell me that all these cruise lines are all the same by virtue of their link through their parent company.

      No obviously not – I think that there was a rogue captain on the Costa Concordia whose true colours were shown when he abandoned his passengers and crew.

      Regardless I will carry on cruising.

      My sincere condolencies to all affected … it’s all so, so sad and just needn’t have happened.

    148. A.EVOY
      January 19th, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

      We have cruised for years and have had excellent,professional care and guidance from all the cruise lines including Costa. And once we did have an emergency and the horns blew and the captain spoke orders so fast on the intercom that all staff just flew into high gear to correct our ship that was suddenly on about a 45 degree angle! That is what they are highly trained to do. Why on the Concordia the next officer(s) in command didn’t take over I don’t know but Costa needs to be more selective about who is captain. I would travel with them again. You could get hurt anywhere,anytime in this world. This man will surely pay for what he has done.
      Yes you may see some officers dining etc but there are others who are in command at that time. So when you go to your next fire drill onboard and learn where your muster station is. maybe you won’t be rude and laughing and not paying attention when the staff is teaching us how to survive an evacuation at sea.

    149. Patrick Michael
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

      I have been on many cruises. The drills were always taken very seriously. To lighten the situation, I would always pronounce to all his is where we wave good-bye to the captain and crew. Little did I know!

    150. Holly A.
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

      I am saddened by this incident, and angered by the lack of professionalism of Costa – i.e. Carnival (yes, #20, Costa is owned and governed by Carnival – buyer beware) By immediately and conveniently placing all of the blame on the Captain, Costa is essentially trying to wash their hands of any kind of responsibility or liability. This is inexcuseable. The bottom line is that they are the ones who hired the man, and they are ultimately are responsible to protect and care for their passengers in all ways, and ensure they are hiring and training the most exceptional of employees. They should definitely have protocols in place to prevent captains from “going rogue”!

      Plenty! It’s been established here that no two cruise lines or ships are run the same in terms of safety and emergency preparedness. Therefore, I would like to recommend that those who Choose to Cruise HAVE A SAFETY PLAN OF YOUR OWN. The saying “If you are prepared, you shall not fear” is a great motto to live by.

      Here are some of our suggestions to Cruising Confidently:

      1. The Emergency Bag:
      Bring a small backpack for each person filled with emergency supplies. Here’s what we have: first aid kit, flashlight, pocket-sized rain ponchos, pocket-sized solar blankets, protein bars, snack crackers, water, emergency contact numbers, cell phone (and charger), backup camera (and extra batteries),ID, some cash, a week’s worth of essential medications + tums, tylenol & cough drops, and a roll of toilet paper (all used at one point or another). We place this bag next to our lifejackets in our closet so it’s easy to “grab & run” with.

      2. Walkie-Talkies.
      I can’t underscore how cool these are! We started using them when we went to Disneyland when the kids were young, and now we take them every time we travel. Fairly inexpensive (decent pair will run you about $100), they’re priceless for keeping track of family members or friends onboard, meeting up easily for a snack or game, checking in if you’re running late, etc. Cell phones are unreliable and very expensive if they do happen to get a signal. (Keep your cell phones in bag #1.) Obviously, Walkie Talkies would also be invaluable in an emergency situation. (TIP: Be sure to recharge the batteries each day)

      3. Use the Buddy System:
      Require all family members to keep to the “buddy system” onboard (stay in twos or more). Always tell someone where you plan to be, and check in if your plans change. Each group keeps a walkie talkie with them (see #3).

      4. Have A Rendevouz Point:
      At the beginning of your cruise, have family & friends choose a meeting place. Identify where you will go if there is an emergency, and be sure to have an alternate plan if that location is not accessible.

      5. Know Your Space:
      Walk off how many paces it is along the hall from your room to the nearest exit and staircase. (this is a basic hotel safety practice) in case the power is out or there is smoke. Pay particular attention to alternate routes to exiting the ship or reaching another deck. Know where the stairs are throughout the ship (and get in the habit of using them – it’s a great health practice for cruising!)

      I’m sure other experienced cruisers/travelers could add even more to this list. Be empowered!

    151. Mark B
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

      Your comments really cover it all. Carnival Corporation’s handling of the Princess and Carnival fires prevented the loss of any lives and/or major injury.

      Short of the Titanic and maybe one other cruise ship prior to the Concordia, these tragic incidents have been VERY FEW and VERY FAR BETWEEN.

      Based on an interview with a passenger from the Concordia, I would only add one thing to your letter. The cruise lines have to figure a way to better educate passengers about alternatives when getting to a muster station is not possible and communication systems are inoperable.

    152. Rusty
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

      I have been on over 40 cruises and will continue to cruise as I am sure that if it is my time to go, I will go. We were just at the Reno air Races during that accident. My husband was in the audience but I asked him to come home early so that we could go out to eat and shop, that stopped him from being killed or injured. Again it was not his time. We have also just come back from two trips with Princess and had no problems with the air to Canada or to Brazil. I do note that we like the smaller ships like the Pacific and Ocean Princess rather than the larger Sun Princess or the larger ships with 4000 or more passengers. I think the service is better and I think in an emergency, more can be done with a smaller group.

    153. Paul Zalon
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

      How can you write a piecce like this and not report that Carnival is the owner and as such hs the final responsibility for what happened? They selct the officers and set procedures. This Captain ran olff course before for his petty salutes. He should have been reported by others on the deck but wasn’t. It seems that Carnival is lacking criteria to help insure safety at sea, no matter on which of the many lines they own

    154. ray heath
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

      On this ship that ran aground, and the list of passengers mentioned there was no mention of the 121 or so Australians, who i have heard assisted many to get out, they remained charm throughout the ordeal, well done OZZIES, pass this onto your edditor Im asking as an Engineer, why cant they cable the ship to that massive rock formation to give then time and to stop slipping as they say.

    155. Laurence Gore
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

      Not even the Titanic turned over and she was gashed below the waterline as well. What would have happened had the captain not taken the ship further into shallow water and continued on. Horrendous to think of. What was wrong with the hull of this ship that she turned over so quickly. Those of you cruising…remember she has several sisters.

    156. Jo-Ann
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

      We presently have two cruises booked for 2012 and have questions about best procedure in the event of an emergency.
      1. Can you still get into your cabin to retrieve your life jackets when the power is out?
      2. Is it safer to go up if an emergency evacuation is not put into place by the crew.
      3. What is safest when the ship lists sideways?

    157. Denise English
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

      Just returned from a Holland America Line cruise out of Tampa. The crew took the drill seriously and were in uniform. There was an officer overseeing what was happening with the drill. There was no calling of names although the life boat person had a list. We were not required to bring our lifejackets, but a demonstration was given. There were some rude passengers that wanted to talk but for the most part they were shussed into silence by the other passengers.

    158. Alan Kierkut
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

      I think the comments above have covered most of the points I would make. One was, the cruise company should be required to know minute by minute where the ship is and if it is off course even slightly, the ship should be contacted by the company by someone qualified and in authority to tell the Captain to get it right or else be subject to instant dsimissal.
      Next all musters must be with lifejackets carried to muster point and then put on with proper supervision. These musters should be carried out before the ship sails and ship departure times should tale not of this. Finally, I suggest cruisers not patronise lines which take on passengers at every port.

    159. Alan Kierkut
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

      “tale not” should read “take note”

    160. karen
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

      I was on the Windsong in Tahiti when at 02:00am we were awoken with those lovely 7 blasts, no power and dead in the water, 2 hrs from any land. Luckily, I had my flashlight, which I never travel without, especially after being thru an “abandon ship”. we sat in our muster station, than in the life boats hanging off the side, while they tried to contain the engine fire. no panic, no problems, excellent and well trained crew. Finally the captain made the call to abandon ship, a ferry from the nearby island had been called and was almost there to pick us all up. I remember the captain of the ferry asking an officer who was left on board, and he said “the caption, 1st mate and an engineer”. they stayed on and waited for the french coast guard to arrive. do I still cruise, not only do I, but work for a cruise only agency. I make sure I know where my lifeboat is on every ship. the only thing I might change, is not taking those main deck cabins, but I feel if they were not told to go back to their cabins, there would not be anyone missing right now. I might also start carrying my cell phone, flashlight and camera on me always instead of leaving them in the cabin. Bottom line, I hope I would have enough sense to tell if the ship is in trouble and take action immediately.

    161. Nic.
      January 19th, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

      Do these cruise-ships have sonar-equipment?

    162. Larry Grant
      January 19th, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

      I have had to convince a scared friend who has never cruised to go ahead and make plans to take her aging parents on a cruise. Mario Lopez on Live With Kelly told a national audience that he had never cruised and now wasn’t sure if he wanted to. This accident may harm the industry.

      Fifteen million cruised last year and such accidents are most rare. Going on my 12th cruise next month and feel at ease. I’ve only cruised with U.S. based companies and we’ve never left a pier without a safety drill unlike, reportedly, the Concordia. Been tempted to book with Costa because of lower fares but concerned being on ships where English is not the first language.

    163. heidi reyburn
      January 19th, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

      We have scheduled a cruise for this yr. and fully intend to cruise for the next few yrs. until health issues overtake us. Fortunately for us, every cruise we’ve taken since ’08 has been enjoyable & most of all safe! There are Captains that take their job to heart for the safety of the everyone – crew included & are not ‘full of themselves’. I would hope that this does not make the sailing world drop cruising, however, if you are that panic-ed you better stay at home & enjoy the usual scenery. But remember – don’t drive, don’t fly, ….and don’t go anywhere. There is a possibility you might get into an accident somewhere. PS: If you do intend to take a cruise look up a travel associate w/ knowledge of each of the better cruises ….there are some that I would skip over unfortunately.

    164. Jeff
      January 19th, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

      Hard to add more than has already been said but here are two things:
      1. After the Andrea Doria-Stockholm collision (the first radar assisted collision) the rules were changed to require deck officers to become radar qualified. One can hope that the lifeboat drills on non-US sailings will become more stringent and timely.
      2. Although it seems Costa is throwing the Captain under the bus-and perhaps rightly so-the cruise line itself bears responsibility also. They set the guidlines and corporate policy for the captains of their ships.

      Having said that, we sailed on an MSC cruise and it was as organized as a “chinese fire drill”.

    165. Barry Buckser
      January 19th, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

      I disagree with what was written. Almost every incident that you mentioned happened aboard ships owned by the Carnival Corporation. Yes they were different lines but the same ownership. It is the ownership that decides how their ships are run, some always err on the side of safety, some the other way. Two many things are going wrong with Carnival owned ships, to simply blame the Captain. It is the corporate culture. Ships that are maintained properly do not catch on fire, ships with well thought out procedures do not deviate from their course and hit rocks so they can show off. Yes, the Captain was at direct fault, but where was the first officer and the rest of the officers when he diverted from the proper course to tell him he was not allowed to do that and report him to the company and the proper authorities. When thing like this happen in most companies it is almost always a culture problem. I was on the Carnival Magic when it crossed the ocean with a broken drive, Carnival did not think of safety first, only profit first.
      You can not compare a Cruise line to a Airplane. As many planes take off every minute as cruise ships leave port every month. f you work in percentages and use incidents vs number of cruises the number would astonish everyone.

      Cruising should be totally safe given the modern world we live in, but how many of us have shared a drink or two with the Captain while on a cruise, or listened to stories from the crew about how drunk they were the night before at the crew party. A pilot takes a drink within 24 hours of a flight and he is history. A aircraft takes off with a mechanical problem and they will be fined and maybe grounded. After two very major incidents and a large number of small one in less than two years who has grounded Carnival. It is time that some Government agency took a closer look at the very loose way that cruise lines are run.

    166. Sylvia
      January 19th, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

      What has happened is very sad. My heart and prayers go out to those that were on that ship and their families/friends.
      I’ve cruised with Dosta a couple of times and it was pretty good My favourite cruiseline is Princess. Never had problems yet with them.
      I still like cruising. To me it’s safer than being on a super busy highway where goes are going nuts at high speeds, whizzing in and out of lanes.
      I’m trying to plan my next cruise right now.

    167. Deb McIntyre
      January 19th, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

      My husband and I were on the Carnival Magic last June in the Med. Our Captain also went off course to go past and get close to an island that had an active volcano. It was nice at the time but now when I think about it, it really was scary!
      I’ve been on over 10 cruises and always see the Captain and officiers in the bars drinking. How can that be allowed? They are on duty and are responsible for so many people!

    168. Patrick Heffernan
      January 19th, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

      One man’s opinion, but I see you went into life boat drills, even though the ship (A) hadn’t had one and (B) the lifeboats were never deployed. I don’t think any lives would have been saved one way or another with a life boat drill.

    169. Jean
      January 19th, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

      What was timeline in all this? Have not seen or heard re this. Did ship go sideways in minutes, hours or?

    170. Elizabeth Lincoln
      January 19th, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

      There is no doubt human error is either partially or totally to blame for this tragedy. As passengers we can also accept a small bit of the blame. I recall a cruise to Alaska 3 years ago on a Holland America cruise ship where the captain had to make an unpopular but correct decision. Because our ship left Vancouver late we didn’t make it to the narrows before the tide went out and we spent the night waiting for the water to rise in the narrows. Our schedule was running late so we couldn’t sail to Tracy Arm. You should have heard the passengers complaining at the missed sight. Most of the coast looks the same anyway but to hear the passengers running off at the mouth you would have thought they would rather the captain risk the ship to run the narrows. I’m sure the poor guy took a hit on the cruise ratings because he made the prudent decision. I don’t know how much pressure they take from corporate office on the ratings, but there is any it is wrongly placed.

    171. Elizabeth Katalinich
      January 19th, 2012 @ 6:40 pm

      We took the Costa Pacifica, a sister ship to the concordia. I learned some very important things on this cruise. Their clients are European and speak other than English. So trying to get instructions was always at the bottom of the translations. We had 6 ecursions booked and only 2 happened. Again on English speakers for guides. The crew didn’t seem too upset that they had to cancel 4 excursions and no other options were given.
      Thyis cruise line picks up and lets off at every port we visited. I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and cost. The crew did ot seem to be instructive in many situations. we have had a wonderful cruise on RCL where the crew took the customers needs into consideration and really made the cruise fun. As far as the muster drill we found that the English speaking lines seeme to be very serious and made sure that people got the information. We had to wear our life jackets on all. It was seriously done. So #1 make sure that it is English speaking. #2 Price should not be the criteria for the cruise.#3
      always look for a crew that is serious and not just going thru the motions.#4 check out what others say about the cruise line. Word of mouth is usually the best. I wil cruise agai but never on Costa because of our experience.
      I think that this disaster will bring new muster rules into effect and definitely as sort of filter for captains. You want him to be able to handle allpart of his ship including as sense of responsibility.

    172. Ray Verhelst
      January 19th, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

      While I believe that there is an inherent risk with any travel, I choose to assume that challenge as part of the overall experience. That does not mean that you don’t research and investigate prior to traveling. Whether it’s the actual destination or the vehicle you will be traveling on, smart travelers do their homework.

      I fly more than 100,000 miles annually, but I choose the airlines I use based on the quality of service and published performance records. On our recent cruise experience I did my due diligence on the ship, its crew and the individual ports. RCCL passed my tests.

      With regard to the Costa accident, we obviously extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those lost and/or missing. My questions are more focused on the construction of the ship and its ability to compartmentalize damage and even when wracked from impact, that they are able to seal and contain sections of the ship. There are a number of identical ships in the Costa fleet that need to be really checked and publically verified that they are sea worthy.

      I also question the policies and procedures from the approved navigation routes and whether the captain has been given authority to easily disregard these routes and policies?

      Being quite honest, I have always been concerned that ships choose their flagging based on the ability to avoid the safety and work rules that the US and other leading nations implement on behalf of the consumer. As a regular traveler to Italy, I find some of the safety practices in industry and trade services to be quite the contrary to those within the US. Areas where risk to products and personnel are often much more flexible.

      As an international marketing specialist, I can tell you that this will create a real challenge for the cruise industry, especially for those who choose to avoid promoting improved safety practices and/or communication standards. The simplest method to overcome the negative image will be to reduce the price and increase the current ad campaigns. The smart way will be to educate the travel community on your improved safety policies, your enhanced crew training and the public re-evaluation of the integrity of the ship’s structures and the procedures of isolation if any damage occurs.

      The independent industry associations will need to implement both a trade and a consumer educational campaign to highlight the safety record and the any new initiatives launched by cruise lines in the wake of this tragedy. They should actually take the lead in creating a new review policy that subjects the lines and ships to tests of the safety practices and crew education. Like cabin qualities, this should be a published report for consumers to measure selection by.

    173. Cindy Taublib
      January 19th, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

      So…..if your muster station in under water and people are panicking and screaming…do you go to the theater as directed during the pathetic drill on Norwegian’s Gem last year? Are there life jackets for the passengers whose rooms are under water because the ship has listed to the side? What’s a potential passenger to do during a real emergency?

    174. elaine
      January 19th, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

      One post threw the thread stated that costa/carnival on it’s international port’s has thrown caution to the wind , there embarking & disembarking from there ships sound something like a local train system. Seriously with terror threats around the world the only way to harness that behavior is to be more dilagent . Drills should be done as passenger’s board, and drinking prior to boarding should be frowned on,lose your place if you can’t type in your personel “i am passenger# such & such” you can’t cruise, that covers head count and personel responsibility. Drunkness can’t be tolerated in a atmosphere when group coperation is critical to safety.I can see where a crew would become blazee about the seriousness of drills if they are being disrespected and not taken seriously

    175. D.Amadatsu
      January 19th, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

      My husband and I took the Costa Magica on a re-positioning cruise sailing from Genoa to the Carribean and dis-embarking in Fort Lauderdale.
      It was mostly Europeans and by the time we had our presentation on mustering and evacuation of the ship in 5 different languages we were mesmirized by the heat of the day and the lenghy presentation that after we finally heard the English version we would have drowned.English speaking was definitley the minority language. Disembarking was also a nightmare with all the different languages and cinfusion and we barely made it to our flight. At one point they hqad even xcancelled our flight because they thought we were a no-show but someone from the ship did manage to get them to hold it for us. However the cruise and trip in spite of all that was wonderful and we were lucky to hve a competent captain.

    176. Rohan Belton
      January 19th, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

      We’ve been on three cruises from our home port of Brisbane (Australia) in the last 2 years. Twice on P&O’s Pacific Dawn (formerly Regent Princess) and once on Sun Princess. Each time, a complete muster with life jackets is carried out about an hour prior to departure. The muster stations are in places like the theatre, casino, atrium and bars. They give clear instructions on how to strap on the jackets and using the lights and whistles etc. The staff appear to take this quite seriously. Both ships are effectively UK registered (London and Bermuda), each time with a British captain. I’m unsure if the muster prior to departure is an Australian maritime regulation, an international regulation or the cruise lines policy but I thought it was well handled. I was certainly surprised that there hadn’t been a muster with the Concordia incident.

      I had also read that Schettino may have caused further problems by steering Concordia into shallow waters resulting in the watertight compartments not operating as they are designed for …… when the ship is floating, not resting on the bottom! Who knows. We’re sailing on Rhapsody Of The Seas from Singapore to Sydney in March, this isolated incident certainly hasn’t deterred us from our love of cruising.

      Gold Coast, Australia

    177. Patrick G
      January 19th, 2012 @ 11:37 pm

      I’m going on a 12-night European cruise this fall. While this is unfortunate, I hope the few positives out of the Costa Concordia event will be a refocusing of crew members and passengers alike on safety.
      The relaxing of rules requiring passengers to muster, in my opinion has made long-time cruisers somewhat nervous. Panic tends to follow when passengers and crew are uncertain what to do. That seems to be the case in the Concordia disaster.
      Cruise lines like to brag about how big their ships are. When is big too big? How easy is it to evacuate 4,000 persons from a ship at sea, where conditions are less than optimal? Oasis of the Seas sails with 2,000 more persons than Concordia. How hard would that be to evacuate?
      Not sure why passengers are not required to muster on deck anymore. Seems like one of those things done in the name of \individual freedom\. I suspect…I hope the days of that nonsense are over.

    178. Steven B
      January 20th, 2012 @ 12:11 am

      The Costa Concordia, the Star Princess and the Carnival Splendor all have one thing in common…they all sail under the Carnival Corporate Umbrella. Make’s one go “Hmmmm?”

    179. Ed
      January 20th, 2012 @ 12:30 am

      Our family were on the Norwegian DAWN when it was hit by a rogue wave a few years ago. The captain and crew could NOT have done any better.
      Since that cruise, we have been on about 10 more cruises (all Norwegian) and never felt any fear. The captain announced on a regular basis what was going on.

    180. Jay
      January 20th, 2012 @ 2:51 am

      Beyond the issues regarding human error, I believe the authorities and the cruise lines need to make sure that the ships themselves are as bulletproof and unsinkable as possible. In the Concordia’s case, is it acceptable that the ship listed too much to enable safe lifeboat launch, because of the length and breadth of the hull breach? What if a ship like this hits rocks but is nowhere near an inhabited island? Hundreds, maybe even thousands, could die. Just like the Titanic disaster led to significant changes in cruise ships, maybe this less-fatal disaster will serve as a wakeup call.

    181. dhill
      January 20th, 2012 @ 11:05 am

      You relly should get your facts straight. The very first statement of your article is incorrect. The ship did not capsize. A capsizeing is when the ship goes all the way over. The ship is laying on its side. Thats one of the problems I have is that people dont really know what there talking about and they make a bad situation sound worse. It makes it sound a lot worse when you keep saying the ship capsized. And the dangers of getting on a ship and heading out to sea have always been there. This terrible event doesnt make it any more dangeres to cruise.We all take a calculated risk when we step on board. And people shouldnt rely 100% on other people for there saftey. Just like counting the rows of seat to the nearest exit when you get on a plane.

    182. Lucretia
      January 20th, 2012 @ 11:25 am

      Over the last few years my husband and I have taken 2 cruises per year, alternating among Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Princess. We’ve been surprised to find muster drills handled so differently, even within the same cruise line. All seem to have relaxed their standards within the last 4 to 5 years. The muster on last February’s Celebrity Equinox was a bit of a joke, but the one on RC’s Allure of the Seas 2 months ago was downright disturbing to us. We were exposed to a video, which we couldn’t see or hear effectively. During that time we learned that the reason we hadn’t been able to locate life jackets in our stateroom is that there weren’t any. We were told that in the event of an emergency, trained crew members would distribute flotation devices to us. We’d have plenty of time and everything would go in an orderly fashion. Right . . . My husband and I shuddered at the thought of the panic and disorganization that could ensue but promptly put the thoughts out of our minds and went on to have a wonderful week. Still, at the end of the cruise I thought again about how uncomfortable the new procedures made me feel. I hope Royal Caribbean, along with all cruise lines, will review their practices and live up to their credo that passenger safety is their first concern.

    183. Joe Reynolds
      January 20th, 2012 @ 11:27 am

      All captains should be required to read and study all sinking incidents and also any accidents and how they happened. There should be a book available with incidents like

    184. Cindy
      January 20th, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

      We have sailed several cruise lines and on most the passengers were respectful of the staff during muster drill. When our son was little, I always asked the cabin steward for an appropriately sized life vest when he or she came in for the meet & greet. I made sure we had it by the muster drill. On RCI you are no longer required to wear the vest to the drill, but I still check to see that the vests are in the cabin and that they are complete AND I always check for alternate ways of getting to the drill location. Never depend upon an elevator to get you to the site. You may think I am overly cautious, but after working as an EMT and Red Cross Disaster Volunteer I practice safety first. I have seen people do some stupid things while on vacation, especially if they’ve been drinking. But I think some leave their brains at home or have spa head. My family hates me, but I have been known to walk up to fellow passengers to advise them of their dangerous ways including a couple holding an infant on an outside railing. I do not speak Italian, so I will not Cruise Costa.

    185. John Pitha
      January 20th, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

      No amount of technology can completely disaster proof any means of transport. It’s just not possible. What can be done is the parent company can be much more vigilant about who is steering a few thousand lives amongst the rocks.
      This is clearly the result of human error. I dont know how many passengers cruised worldwide last year but the death rate per thousand must be very small. That said, this is a personell problem and not one of technology. I do agree that lifeboats should be of a design that can be launched at a much more severe angle than currently required. I enjoyed my cruise on HAL this fall and found the crew spoke perfect english and was VERY attentive to making sure the Muster drills went as required. I do remember thinking that in a real disaster, the movements of passengers would be choked at stairwells and vowed to get a cabin as close to an exit door as possible next time.

    186. valerie
      January 20th, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

      I guestioned Carnival back in October 2011 about the decision-making process that their Captain make while out to sea. I was told we sorry you have had a bad cruise and thank you for applauding the staff. This question was never answered. This after spending two days of hell on a ship leaving out of jacksonville Florida only going to the Bahamas and back. We missed two ports and left early from the one we made only to get stuck between two storms and since we got back early we couldn’t get back into port either in jacksonville because we couldn’t get under the Dames Point Bridge. No one could answer my question and now I see why. It’s their attitude the way they do business. The Carnival company itself should bare the total blame for a poor decision made by the Captain whom they protect.

    187. Pat
      January 20th, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

      We have been on 27 cruises and and we find Carnival Cruises the most conscientious in their safety drills. We were on Emerald Princess in Nov. 2011 and we met in a lounge and it was like a social event. Everyone would not stop talking and it was utterly rude and ignorant and the ship staff should have taken control of the situation. We were on Carnival Valour in Jan.2012 and we were told to report on the deck by the life boats carrying our lifejackets but instructed to put them on and have them checked when we arrived at our muster station near the lifeboats. Hurrah for Carnival Cruise Lines they are still using the right technics and I am getting ready to book another one with them. They also have the best security system for leaving and returning to the ship while visiting islands. Drinking should not be allowed until the safety drill is over and everyone should be required to report to their muster station as all cabins were checked to see if some had decided to disobey the orders on the Carnival Valor. Maybe people travelling on cruise ships will learn their lesson after this tragedy and listen to instructions on how to save their lives in case of an emergency.

    188. ren
      January 20th, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

      Drill for passengers is regulated by SOLAS, not by USA laws, and it has to be dome within 24 hours of departure. That was introduced when passengers embark late due to flights delays etc…In USA ship sail by late afternoon, so drills are made before departure. Instructions are posted behind the cabin doors how to find your Muster station and what to do when emergency signal is sounded. Costa accident is down to human error, and late reaction. They had 2 hrs to abandon the ship calmly, befeo it listed, after that was impossible.

    189. Shanna Moore
      January 20th, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

      My husband and I are booked on Carnival’s Magic out of Galveston, TX in March and I must admit, at first I was wishing we hadn’t already paid for the cruise in full, so we could cancel. On second thought though, this will be our 3rd cruise together, we are really looking forward to this cruise. This was a horrific accident caused by human error imo, and the chances of it being repeated are slim to none. This incident has awakened new awareness, I believe, in what can happen when stupidity and carelessness are involved.

    190. Claudia Guler
      January 20th, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

      I have gone on 16 Royal Caribbean Cruises and I have never felt threatened or unsafe. A cruise is what you make it. I have never seen any rowdy crowds or fighting.

      The staff were very professional and courteous.
      I would not give cruising a second thought. I select Royal Caribbean for their reputation.
      I planning on my next cruise for 2013 at this time. I would go more often if I could afford it.

    191. Karen
      January 20th, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

      We were on the ill-fated Celebrity Century cruise in 0ct 2010 where the cruise was cancelled one day out and two thousand passengers were put ashore at Nice. There was some kind of problem with the rudder. Celebrity handled that situation so poorly that we had to think about what would have happened if the situation had been a dangerous one. There seemed to be no contingency plans to manage anything out of the ordinary. (The muster drill was also a joke–no life vests, poor directions, etc.) We were essentially abandoned on the shore with only an offer of a ride to the Airport as assistance. I’m still amazed at the depth of the incompetence. We will never cruise with Celebrity again. I hope this tragedy will inspire cruise management to make safety a priority. CoWe are sailing on the Emerald Princess next month but may not have booked this trip based on our experience on the Century along with the Costa tragedy.

    192. J Heald
      January 21st, 2012 @ 12:33 am

      Yes, cruising is safe, but I would not choose Costa after hearing about the poor response of the captain and the crew during the recent sinking of the Concordia.

    193. PDX Road Warrior
      January 21st, 2012 @ 1:16 am

      Is anybody paying attention? Whether they had a muster station drill or not, how often do the cruise lines actually hold a real life drill that involves lowering the life boats? Since the ships never have a “down” day, when is there time to actually give the crew and volunteer passengers a chance to actually see if the disaster plans actually work? When that happens, let me know and I will but another ticket.

    194. Ruby Montgomery
      January 21st, 2012 @ 2:09 am

      I have cruised on Carnival, Costa, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Princess. I would never EVER take another Costa cruise. I cruised with the in the Caribbean and they were the most unorganized crew I have ever seen. There was no muster until the second day and most of the crew had no idea what they were doing or what stations to go to. they also just stood around and talked to each other during it.. I booked a cruise to Alaska the day after the concordia accident on the Star Princess which has it’s own disaster in 2006. I think it is the safest mode of travel. when you compare the accidents on flights, train, or cars there is little question.
      I am not saying I am an expert on cruising by any means but Costa was well below any standards and even before this accident I knew they were not safe.

    195. A.R.T.
      January 21st, 2012 @ 10:39 am

      I had a similar experience as Ruby except mine was on the Concordia in Oct 2011. My husband and sat in shock as we watched this beautiful ship listing in the water. But for the grace of God…

      Unforunately I am not surprised by the Captain’s actions or those of his crew. As a management consultant, I am a student of group dynamics. I could tell after being on the cruise ship for just a few hours that this was not a well oiled staff. Not only were they rude and unhelpful in normal circumstances but in a crisis situation, I can only imagine their lack of teamwork.

      I am most saddened by the thought of all the passengers, especially the children. I am regular cruiser and I have never seen so many strollers and babies as I did on the Concordia.

      I will cruise again…but it will be awhile and most definitely on an American cruise line no matter how cheap Costa is.

    196. gmeinke
      January 21st, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

      We have sailed more then 20 times on 6 different cruise lines (yes, Costa is one of them). We sailed on the Costa Pacifica and we covered the same route the first night as the Concordia (from Civitavecchia to Savonna) and endured a very rocky, but safe night. We don’t think the food on Costa is as good as many but everything was fine. We’d book another Costa cruise without a second thought. We have 2 cruises booked and look forward to a wonderful time on both!

    197. jnik
      January 22nd, 2012 @ 5:11 am

      I would not cruise on any ship in the Carnival lineup, certainly including Costa. They have a history of badly handling accidents.
      Like the fire off Florida where they had the passengers doing calistenics on deck, smiling and waving at helicopters while fireboats were chasing the ship and spraying it.

    198. Silvia
      January 22nd, 2012 @ 7:42 am

      There is lots of questions I have, which have not been addressed anywhere: How was the captain able to make a decision such as veer off the approved path and he not be on the bridge…and worst still, him be cavorting with a \young chick\? Where did she come from anyway? Was she accompanying him on this voyage? or was she a \regular\ passenger? Was he sober at this time? or was he thinking \other things\? (Now let me google \mail brides from Russia\ site) Silvia

    199. Tom
      January 22nd, 2012 @ 11:49 am

      Despite having a muster drill 45 minutes prior to our Christmas 2011 sailing, I spoke to a lady five days into our Holland America cruise who asked me what the number on her key card represented! When I replied that it was her lifeboat station, she was shocked no one had informed her. (She could have inquired at the front desk.) So even though we went throught the drill as regulations require, some people obviously don’t pay attention. Also, this information was pointed out when passengers check-in & receive their key card. I am not in any way absolving the Concordia’s captain for gross negligence. And I do believe lifeboat drills should occur before sailing. Maybe in the future more passengers will seek out their lifeboat stations before the drill, especially if the drill isn’t scheduled prior to sailing. After this disaster, however, that may change.
      As to the young lady with the captain, the news has reported that she was a hostess aboard Concordia.

    200. Girasole
      January 22nd, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

      How do we know cruising is safe?

      1. Can 4000 people be evacuated off a boat in 30 minutes? Say in the middle of the Atlantic? Not within swimming distance of a coast.

      2. Are there enough trained staff (not waiters and housecleaners) to handle an emergency with 4000 people? If an emergency happens at a mega-resort, you would usually have the backup of the local police, fire and medical community. People were told conflicting messages from the staff go to your room, go to deck 4,
      o, now go to deck 5. It appears that the staff was panicked too.

      3. I think saying that the muster drill did not happen and pointing to that is naive. When we were trying to disembark at a port for a day of sun, the stairway was jammed with people and we were multiple floors above the exit. A fellow passenger joked to me his is what an emergency evacuation will look like and not like the muster drill. I think he is right.

      4. What do you do when your assigned lifeboat is not usable because the ship is tilting? And half the passengers are in the same situation?

      5. Not to mention the unreported fights, thefts, rapes, overboards etc.

      I realize that there are dangers getting out of bed every day but they tend not to be of this magnitude of nightmare and lack of control. I just wonder if a ship with 4000 people and another 2000 staff can actually be safe.

      Is there a forum that would tell one what would be the best course of action for a passenger in this kind of disaster? Can a cruise line show a ship actually being evacuated in 30 minutes with 4000 people aboard? No simulation. Show it actually being done.

      I wish you all the best and hope your good luck continues.

    201. Bobbi
      January 22nd, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

      Re Muster Drills: It is bad enough that drills are not taken seriously by passengers. Worse is that even some cruise lines are lax. The last two cruises we’ve taken had us mustering in the dining room back in a corner. No staff member could tell us where our lifeboat was located! I will admit that the drill took place prior to departure which is very good!

    202. justin
      January 22nd, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

      The sinking was not an accident, an idiot of a captain put everyone at risk by intentially sailing too close to know reefs, at night with outvisability.

      The crew was intentionally told to lie about situation.

      My heart go out to all passengers and crew

    203. Ken Rossignol
      January 22nd, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

      There are actually a wide range of dangers inherent to cruising, many of them from those who stalk civilization with terror. On our 2011 trip from Southhampton to Miami on the Celebrity Eclipse I was impressed to see divers inspecting the hull of the Eclipse before we left a port in Spain after a day at the dock. A photo of these divers can be viewed on my website. In 2010, divers were also inspecting the hull of the Celebrity Equinox when we were at the Canary Islands. The muster drills should include actual experience at donning a life jacket. The ability of a terrorist to inflict trauma upon hundreds or thousands of ship passengers ought to give those in charge plenty of food for thought. The safety record of the cruise industry is the envy of the transporation business. The ability of terror groups to inflict pain knows no equal. We must all hope that the real dangers to cruising remain in my novels. Vigilance on the part of the cruise companies and civilian authorities can make that happen.
      The announcement by Carnival’s CEO of a new review of safety procedures is too little too late. For Carnival to not realize that Capt. Chicken was running their $450 million ship is absurd. How many more chickens of the sea are at the helm of cruise ships?

    204. Victoria
      January 23rd, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

      We started cruising in the late 80’s. At that time, a good friend gave us some advice. She said her family would go to the library and look up the actual ship’s safety record. Now days, It’s much easier to type in what your looking for on a search line at your computer. Many web sites track these public records about various ship’s safety records. Be an informed cruiser. It doesn’t matter if its your first time or your 50th. Safety is most important. Cruise with care.

    205. ms. muffett
      January 23rd, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

      First off I have never been on one of those behemoth or would I ever, even though I have had lots of invitations. I am a maritime professional of over 30 years experience and a licensed US coast guard captain. that being said, the reality is there is no such thing as an unsinkable ship, and water tight bulkheads will not prevent a ship or boat from sinking. Those entrusted with our lives on these mammoths are being paid 450/mo
      are little if any educated and sign contracts to work 70 hours a week source: newsweek article today and I have to agree it was not a guestion of if but when something would like this happen. also of note most of the unfortunate dead were wearing life jackets and at their muster stations, I also have been to the training centre in Dania beach florida where large ship captains go to get certified.
      it is physically impossible in my view to move over 4k people in less than the time a ship can sink. the math is not in your favour. I also was keenly aware when carnival ectasy was on fire off the miami coast, the passengers were lied to and if not for the us coast guard would still be aflame in my view. as the water was streaming downward untouching the flame and the aft deck was ablaze.I saw if from a friends condo on the beach. I also remember when one of the ships lost their toilet facilities, people were trapped on it for days with people pooping in the halls and closets and the passengers were kept hostage in this filth in freeport.
      Did I tell you the other day, that one of these
      boats hit the reef here in freeport?
      would I consider a smaller boat yes, expedition type, freighter, windstar, yes. I dont want to be lied to, and I dont want to entrust my life to someone who is underpaid, overworked exhausted and unskilled. williambruce at wordpress wrote about carnivals past instances of coordinated efforts regarding strategic bankruptcy. I have to agree with others here who have voiced the same opinion.

    206. Kathleen Ernst
      January 23rd, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

      Princess Cruise Lines have efficient life boat drills, but within the last few years no longer muster at the lifeboats. Last sailing we mustered in the wedding chapel!
      It makes no sense to me to have to descend lower in the ship during a potential evacuation. My family will attend the drill, but head to the lifeboat area if an alarm sounds.

    207. Jimmy Young
      January 23rd, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

      There must be severe and criminal penalty for crew & officers & persons in charge to lie about dangerous situations. Remember the 9/11 Twin Tower collapse with many fatality caused by false announcements of all clear. Those intentionally trying to calm people of lie of no dangers must be criminally held reliable of life loss as result.

    208. Ken
      January 23rd, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

      I have confidence in the ship and crew up to a point. I still take responsibility for our safety. I carry smoke hoods and flashlights on every cruise. I’ve stopped by the lifeboats and rafts and studied how they work. I believe I could lower one (raft easier than a boat), it wouldn’t be pretty but in an emergency with no crew we could make it happen. I count on the crew to do better than this incident but know it ultimaly falls on us to be ready.

    209. Pam aka Suite Mama
      January 24th, 2012 @ 8:16 am

      With over a dozen cruises taken, I have been to all life boat drills. Recently, on Princess Cruises,we met in a lounge for the drill. It was the most thorough instruction I ever received, including crew scattered around the room showing us how to jump off the ship into water. It was spooky at the time thinking that this was a possibility. However,I remember commenting to my husband that I felt safe and that Princess seemed to be extremely concerned about our safely. God willing I will cruise again, and never take anything for granted.

    210. Ann
      January 24th, 2012 @ 11:15 am

      There is alot of comments about muster drills. My husband & I cruise also (mostly on RCCL) we do both US cruises and international and BOTH require doing the muster drill. Those people who say they don’t internationally haven’t been on a cruise. I feel VERY safe cruising. If it’s your time to go then it’s your time to go. You can’t stop living because of this. Do you stop driving because of car accidents?????

    211. Beth
      January 24th, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

      I booked a Mediterranean cruise in September 2011 on the Ruby Princess. I was asked several times how I picked the ship since many cruise lines dock at the same ports. People now remember that I said that I always tried to get a ship with either British, Scandanavian, or American officers. Never would I choose Italian or Greek officers because if the ship got into trouble they would be more ikely to abandon ship leaving passengers to fend for themselves. Say what you want about my feelings but they were developed after reading about other cruise ship accidents.

    212. nina
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:27 am

      I was one of passengers on Costa Concordia on 13th january.My family 2adl+1chd managed somehow to escape and to survive the terrible incident.
      We did not followed the given instruction: Go back to your cabin or Launch.Just be Calm! -was good instruction. But how to be calm in the situation of uncertanity.
      We have been stuborn and waited for the signal for starting evacuation in front of the lifeboats on deck 4.
      The most of the instruction that night were given on italian language.
      Muster drill was held on 7th January 15-20 minutes before leaving port in Savona at 17:00h

    213. Simon
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:52 am

      What you must realise is that the cruise lines are expanding, but the number of crew is fairly static and numbers of fully trained crew are growing slower than the demand for them. There is a lack of training, and whilst a majority of cruise vessels have a contingent of good crew, there are gaps – this is endemic of the maritime industry.

    214. franz
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:29 am

      we just came back from a costa cruise and I dont think that this cruise line is bad,its just like some one before said we just think nothing will happen and so dont pay attention to the drill.since people are involved its the same from passengers and staff.
      I think the staff should know(everyone not just the high grad ones)how a boat is shipped to the water(the girls on the deck didnt know…)
      I asked them what their job was(they were 25yrs old)-my job is too calm the people-I said dont you think you will panic too?
      So the more the crew is prepaired the more the evacuation can go on without panic.

    215. joe
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

      The thing is,if you were to be a fly on wall and see for yourself how much alcohol is drunk in the ships wardrooms and crew bars plus cabin parties,that would be an eye opener.It would be a good idea to look at banning all ships company from drinking 24/7. This would greatly improve the ships safety.

    216. How common are cruise ship ‘salutes?’ | Health Tourism Today
      January 26th, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

      […] After Concordia: Is Cruising Safe? […]

    217. Linda
      January 27th, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

      We were scheduled to cruise on the Costa Romantica. Our travel Agent called two weeks
      before sailing and said we could not sail as the Costa Romantica had been booked by a Corporation. It ruined our two weeks of vacation and never a word from Costa. I would never ever sail on Costa – they have absolutely no regard for their passengers. My only advise is to STAY AWAY FROM COSTA CRUISE LINES.

    218. Dan
      January 28th, 2012 @ 2:16 am

      I have only been on one cruise-the Carnival Splendor. Not the ill-fated fire cruise, but one prior to that. On our cruise, the captain managed to back the ship into the dock in Puerto Vallarta, damaging both the dock and the ship.

      Will I cruise again? Sure, but with all the other cruise lines out there, I will spend my money with another line…

    219. Able Heroklia
      January 29th, 2012 @ 3:59 am

      My young family is just thinking of going on cruises but I didn’t realise there were so many disasters. Star Princess? Now Costa Concordia? I read the wiki artilces and to me it looks like the entire cruise shipping industry is filled with incompetent nincompoop engineers and captains. What a disgrace. I am an engineer and run my own projects for multinationals. Everywhere I read on wiki there are clear signs of shoddy and sub standard engine and procedure designs. This whole industry is a catasclysm waiting to happen. No thanks.

    220. Robert
      January 29th, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

      Let us be frank, the hulls are not designed to actually take much of an impact, certainly not rock. The first line of defense is to of course, not hit anything.

      It is odd that it sunk as that gash, while bad, should have been containable by water tight doors. What’s even stranger, the boat “flipped” the other way, when one would think the gash side would flood first.

      Either the water took a root directly to the other side of the ship and multiple seals failed, or as some have hinted in news stories, that the crew “may” have overcompensated and began pumping water to counter the flooding, and actually caused it to flip the wrong direction.

      That will remain to be seen, thankfully all choices are frozen in time aboard the pumps and system on the Concordia, so we’ll know sooner or later.

      The one thing to take away from this is that any ship, that lists (sp??) that badly, basically ends up like the titanic.

      I think perhaps along with your vests in cabin, the ship should have rubber inflatables for each room, yes it’s not perfect, but far better than just a life vests.

      I’ve seen emergency rafts the size of sleep bags that blow up to hold four people.

      A good back up to a situation where the lifeboats become unusable.

    221. Robert
      January 29th, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

      Also we can say what we will about the crew (and i do agree) but like all things, the buck stops with the company and the chairs….ahem….comment Carnival?

      I do love the spin that came out right after the sinking, many sources called it “the italian tour operator”…only much later did some media start admitting it was Carnvial and eventually the corp did too.

      Someone hired that moron, and someone probably saved money too!

    222. Bob360
      January 29th, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

      Many comments about Muster drills, but not the central issue in this particular incident … misinformation, lack of crew training, poor emergency procedures, horrible judgement … the list goes on and on.

      Four quick points … think:

      1. Low paid, overworked and under-trained crew (some hung over because of partying)
      2. Muster drills are important but crew training is most important (muster drills do not deal with many potental atsea issue, the crew most have enough common sense to deal with problems that occur).
      3. Not enough able body sailors onboard … hotel staff should not be expected to be sailors directing passengers to safety.
      4. Personal safety plan to deal with sudden danger (in the end, you are responsible for your own safety).

      Think about it … when was the last time you had safety training in a hotel (think fire, earthquake, 911). You need to think more about that when you fly too (the airlines version of a muster drill is about as useful as the ships). NET: Plan for your own escape plan and safety drill.

    223. Karen
      January 30th, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

      Bob360 – Thank you for your comments.
      We are booked on a Costa Cruise in May to the Norweigen Fjords. My first thought aftr this sad event was to cancel, then i thought no, this year will probably be the safest yet. Crews and passengers alike will be more aware. Then i began reading some of these posts and began worrying again. But then i thought;
      Italian the first language – When in Italy have you ever checked that the hotel staff all spoke English and have you ever been concerned this would be a problem if a fire broke out?

      Muster procedures – How many of you always check the fire drill, usually posted on the door, when staying in a hotel?

      Life boats – do you always check where the nearest emergency exits are when staying in a large hotel?

      Life Jackets – If you sleep in your birthday suit do you go to bed at night with a cover up ready beside you in case of an incident.

      Passports & personal belongings – Do you lock these away in a safe or do you put them in a ‘grab bag’ overnight?

      Escape plan – do you discuss this with your family on arival at your hotel?

      I know a ship is not the same as a hotel but with ever larger hotels if a fire broke out these simple thoughts at the beginning of your holiday could save your life.

      We all want to relax on holiday but perhaps we should think of safety before we go and the first hours shouldn’t be a drink at the bar!!

      So, yes we are still going to sail with Costa but we will take some of the responsibility of making sure we know the evacuation procedures before we sail and ask questions if we are not sure. Many Americans as well as Europeans sail with Costa and you can always ask a fellow passenger.

      Yes i do still have some concerns but i also know from experience that most people only write about their experiences on a holiday when it is bad and very rarely praise when things are good. When was the last time you wrote and thanked a holiday company for fabulous service!!!!

    224. M Roman
      February 6th, 2012 @ 10:58 am

      This incident was certainly a tragedy…however I will still be cruising…things happen in life whether we are at home or away…I won’t allow this to stop me from enjoying life…whether it is cruising or flying…however I stay prepared to fend for myself if need be and I stick to cruise companies I have sailed with and experienced their abilities as professionals at what they do…Cunard, RCL,and Norwegian…but we have a part to play…the instructions given to us at pre-cruise are a must and due
      our undivided attention, but always be aware of things going on around us and be ready for whatever may come…

    225. Gregg
      February 11th, 2012 @ 2:26 am

      Ive only been on 2 lines. P&O and Holland America, both lines were very thorough when it came to safety ..My concern is that these massive liners that are being built in record time are lacking in stability. This is the CEO of Carnival with his “out of this world ideas”. I cannot believe all these cruise lines being swallowed up by Carnival”the walmart of cruise lines” They have a monopoly and that to me is not good. I think the cruise lines have expanded to much and now the cracks are appearing. This was eerily like the Diamond of Louis Cruise lines, apparently this captain didnt get the memo??And apparently neither did the crew.
      Safety is of the utmost importance. Again crew leaving before passengers, the greek liner that sank of south Africa, apparently nobody got that memo either. We as passengers have to pay attention and not blame the crew. Signs are posted in the cabins on how to put your life vest on. I would get the plan of the ship before I go on any cruise and ask questions to whom you are booking with, get your answers before you go.

    226. Jeanene
      February 15th, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

      Just sailed on Carnival Destiny 2/6, you could hear a pin drop during the announcements!
      Personally I am glad that they don’t require you to wear that life vest to the drill anymore. I feel they are a hazard. I would surely fall on my face and take people out in the process. A few cruises we were required to take them and put them on when we reached our station, that was ok.

    227. Jackie M
      February 15th, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

      We just returned from cruise number 6. People were definitely paying attention to the lifeboat drill which was held within a couple of hours of setting sail. Coral Princess staff was very professional. Yes, we carried the vests and learned how to put them on properly. Keep on cruising!

    228. Franz Friesacher
      February 25th, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

      Life vests on or not is not the issue here, its the total design of the ships, evacuation should be a matter of shortest possible times. Just imagin a major fire on board !A savety course incl. certificat should be compulsary before boarding a ship and cruise lines need to demand a much saver product (thicker hull walls,outriggers and much more…

    229. Mitchell
      August 28th, 2012 @ 8:42 am

      I`m glad Costa Concordia doesn`t provide cruises to nowhere NYC. I take like two or three a year and it would not be too great to take part at such an event during a cruise.

    230. Charlotte
      January 14th, 2013 @ 5:13 am

      I know I’m about a year late commenting on this but was curious to see reactions to this disaster a year later. Have to admit after watching a new National Geographic documentary on the Concordia I got a little bit nervous about my Royal Caribbean cruise next month but that didn’t last long :) I am one in a family of seven, my youngest brother is now 15 but during our first cruise was probably about 8. My family has done 5 cruises with Costa in Europe and in the Middle East. We actually did two on Concordia aswell, one with Schettino as the captain (we weren’t totally impressed with his behaviour then and I recall that there was more than one crew member who felt the same). Anyway that aside, Costa has always been absolutely magnificent with us. We’ve always done lifeboat drills straight away. The crew were extremely professional and the majority of the passengers behaved themselves too! It was very clear and detailed about what we must do and the language barrier was never a problem. We were always impressed with the drills, with the capability of the crew and with the cruises in general. Apart from Schettino the captains have also always appeared to be extremely professional, trustworthy and capable. We have booked another cruise with Costa for the end of the year in the Caribbean and very much look forward to cruising with them again. My thoughts are with the survivors and the families of the victims on this terrible anniversary.

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