After Concordia: Is Chivalry Dead?

January 24, 2012 | By | 146 Comments

If you had been on Costa Concordia when the ship capsized, I asked my friend Moustafa, an Egyptian-born U.S. citizen and a devoted family man, which escape strategy would you prefer: all families together or women and children first?
He didn’t hesitate. “Definitely, women and children first. I would want to ensure that my children and my wife get to a safe place before me.” Moustafa is a traditional guy, so his answer didn’t surprise me. More startling was the response that we got on our Facebook page, where we asked the same question. Almost 90 percent of respondents said if at all possible families should stay together. Mom and Dad. Vanessa Devolin said it best: “Families for sure should go first and I believe that is men and women. Not just women raise a family.”
The seafaring tradition in which women and children were prioritized in the rare instance of an emergency evacuation got its start, reader Craig Baum explained, because “ships rarely had enough lifeboats for all passengers. Hence, those deemed stronger to survive in the water went last.”
The argument that women have fought successfully for equal rights — and should also have equal responsibilities — certainly weighs into the “family” vs. “women and children” debate. Women are no longer the fragile flowers (if they ever were) of olden times.
Then there’s the question of chivalry, which many readers seem to think is in decline, especially in light of the fact that chaos reportedly reigned onboard and the captain himself abandoned ship before hundreds of passengers had been rescued. However, in one of the most inspiring stories to come out of the Costa Concordia tragedy, it’s a woman who proves that, at least in some instances, chivalry is alive and well. I’m referring to 23-year-old Rose Metcalf from England’s Dorset. A dancer onboard, she gave up her own spot in a lifeboat, according to a report in the Telegraph newspaper, climbed to Deck 5 to flag down a passing helicopter, handled her assigned emergency roll call at her muster station and was part of the “human chain” that helped people to safety.
What would you have done if you were onboard Costa Concordia? Pushed your loved ones ahead of you? Or gathered together to await rescue? Even Moustafa — who spent 30 minutes reconsidering his original, instinctual response when pressed — noted that “until you are in that situation it’s really hard to know how you’d actually react. But I still think I would want my family to go first.”
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    146 Responses to “After Concordia: Is Chivalry Dead?”

    1. ACruiseGuy
      January 24th, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

      Shame that you have to ask about chivalry, isn’t it?

      I’d push my love ones ahead of me, absolutely without question.

    2. Ashley
      January 24th, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

      This is a really interesting piece. I tend to think I’d be offended if someone told me to go first just because I’m a woman, and I absolutely think families should stick together.

      In terms of the captain on Concordia, I don’t see his irresponsibility as a gender issue. I see it as a morality issue. If the captain were a woman, would she not still be expected to stay with the ship?

    3. Brian
      January 24th, 2012 @ 7:19 pm

      First, I don’t believe that anyone could have a pure “all humans having equal priority” view. Wouldn’t we ALL say that if lifeboat space were extremely limited, we would send all the kids first? And if there were slightly more room available, we would send one parent from each family with the kids? And the parent to stay behind would be the one more fit to possibly survive without immediate rescue. In the good ol’ days, that would probably have been the men. These days, it should probably be the one who has kept up better on their fitness. Personally, I would send my family and hang back until nearly ALL others had boarded the lifeboats, except maybe for the champion swimmers and runners who started pushing ME forward.

    4. catherine petersen
      January 24th, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

      Rather than being a ‘chivalrous act’ (which clearly has gender specific connotations) perhaps Rose Metcalfs excellent incident response behaviour could be more accurately described as a robust mixture of public spiritedness combined with a sense of duty? Whether or not these values are, or should be a ‘given’ in the event of a major incident is a very interesting question.

    5. Dylan
      January 24th, 2012 @ 11:33 pm

      I’d of course hope that my wife and child, in this situation, would be taken to safety before me. It’s a man’s duty to protect his family, even if it’s at the expense of his own life.

    6. Carol
      January 25th, 2012 @ 7:04 am

      If I were in that situation, I would want children,elderly, and disabled people to get to safety first. I am a female in good health. I am also a survivor and work in stressful situations on a daily basis. The key is to remain calm.

    7. Craig
      January 25th, 2012 @ 7:20 am

      SOLAS demands at least 25% more lifeboat seats than the ships max capacity (Passengers and Crew), only at peak holiday seasons would you get 100% all 3rd/4th berths and max crew numbers. Even losing one side (in Concordia’s case) should mean that 62% of max capacity was available from one side.

      The easiest way is to have all family cabins muster at the same station, then when they call to lifeboats the family muster station is serviced first by whichever lifeboat is available. Theoretcally any disabled/ailing passengers could also have a dedicated muster where extra crew members are assigned to ensure assistance, these two stations should be nearest the promenade deck.

      Then the remaining muster stations served in turn irrespective of gender/age..

      With the crew then last, using the inflatable rafts and chutes. If at a list then slides like this clip should be available..

    8. Bill
      January 25th, 2012 @ 7:24 am

      There is no doubt that my wife and two teenagers would come before me and I’m the kind of guy who would stay behind and help the elderly and other children. A sense of panic would also set in regardless of the situation and that is where all of the safety protocol goes out the window.
      Could would imagine if everyone on the Concordia followed the drill and huddled to the starboard side of the ship to their muster stations and the ship started to list on that side. That would be a bad scene.
      My condolences to all of the families who lost loved ones.

    9. John Heeser
      January 25th, 2012 @ 7:30 am

      I would want my children to survive over myself in my eyes their life means more to me tha416n my own

    10. Aly
      January 25th, 2012 @ 7:36 am

      If I were on the ship, I would have definitely let people with children whether they were a man or woman on the lifeboats first. This was a tramatic incident to begin with and children would need the support of their parents to help them make it through. I am a woman and have no problem letting fathers on before me as long as they weren’t part of captain’s crew…

    11. Julia Ryan
      January 25th, 2012 @ 7:46 am

      My husband and I have discussed this at length and we have finally agreed to disagree. I said I’m not going without him and he said he’s putting me in the boat.

    12. InHeavenOnEarth
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:11 am

      My husband and I are a young couple without children, and we have been on quite a few cruises together. I have been thinking about this situation a lot. Even if someone pushed me ahead because I’m a woman, if my husband couldn’t come with me, I would not get on. I would wait until I could get on a life boat with him. I know he would try to force me, knowing that he’s in great shape and an excellent swimmer, while I on the other hand, cannot swim at all, but I would not want to be without him. Of course, if we had children, I would obviously put their safety first and I would go with our children in the life boat even if he had to stay behind. He would have been one of the people staying behind to help others. I think it’s important for those physically able to stay behind and help those who are in need first. It’s not a gender issue – it’s just the humane thing to do.

    13. JP Nadeau
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:11 am

      “Women and children first” predates the TITANIC catastrophe, being an established policy that raised real concern because aside from the loss of life, it created a tragic number of orphans. The great loss of life was due, aside from the insufficiency of lifeboats, to the strict adherence to the then prevalent social class system which would not conceivably allow those in steerage to mix with, let alone huddle with First and Second class passengers. The wisdom of the age did discern the need for regulations re: number and capacity of lifeboats, and doubtlessly others, but there was a very vocal ‘suggestion’ that the call to abandon ship should direct to the lifeboats: “Families first, THEN women and children” so as to avoid so much real hardship to families from happening again. No doubt, the discussion was still going on, but was lost in the noise of WWI, and was strangely never taken up again. That is perhaps because it sounds less than chivalrous, and I suppose no politician wants to be the one to re-engage the argument.

    14. Barbara
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:18 am

      If it were me, I would be trying to help the disabled and seniors before myself (I am a senior). If the rule was the fittest survive best, it stands to reason that an elderly person with a walker or wheelchair certainly wouldnt survive the water. After that women and children. Women have been raising children alone for years, men tend to be more fit for survival. I would choose to be among the last aboard a life boat unless forced otherwise. It is not true that “most cruiseships” do not have enough lifeboats. Maritime law has changed that. The cruiselines if given time have enough boats to get passengers and crew to safety. I am a travel agent and passenger safety is the lifeblood of the cruise industry. Let’s don’t be scaring cruisers with misstatements that there are never enough lifeboats. This is still the safest means of travel even more so than airplanes and cars. I bet people with finally start taking those lifeboat drills more seriously, and I bet the cruiselines who have changed the drills where passengers do not actually go to the muster station and no longer take the life vests with them, will revert to the old method of full monty drills, as they should! Me? I’ll go down with the Captain (if he stays aboard) before I step on a lifeboat leaving seniors and kids behind.

    15. Marge G
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:41 am

      Family’s with small children first! It certainly shouldn’t be the Captain and all the officers abandoning ship and leaving the cabin and dining room staff to do what they can.

    16. Gene Black
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:43 am

      It’s a matter of breeding. I expect people in my generation(WW2 war babies) to automatically put women, children, disabled first. It is also our generation that sewed the seeds for the “entitlement” generations that would put themselves first. Sorry.

    17. Adriana
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:48 am

      I would stay back with my husband so we can all leave together. We are a family of 7.

    18. Jason
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:50 am

      It’s OK to have a muster drill to explain the rules, and those lines that do it inside should then walk you out to your survival craft, and have you put your life vest on there. BUT during an emergency, if the bridge doesn’t tell the crew to do something, their will be no stairway guides or crew directing you…they will just keep serving diner telling you everything is OK until everyone is standing in water…the key is not who boards the survival craft first, everyone needs to be rescued, but do it immediately…today’s boats are not to big to sink. In this case it appears the captain may have caused the damage to the ship, but the bigger issue is not abandoning ship sooner, an order that comes directly from the bridge – they had plenty of time to do it by the rules in an orderly fashion.

    19. Patty Edgett
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:51 am

      From the pictures and accounts I have seen and read, I believe that in this evacuation time was of the essence as no one was sure if the ship would completely capsize. Also, not all lifeboates were able to be deployed due to the severe listing of the ship. I think it makes sense to just get people into the boats as quickly as possible, no matter men, women, children, families, etc. Of course, the crew’s and officers’ job was to remain on board and take charge of the evacuation. The lifeboats were filling up, shuttling people to shore, and returning for more people. So, I think the most efficient use of them would have been to fill them up with whomever was standing there, ready to go, then return for more. Crew should have assured people to remain calm and that that boats would be back for them. I don’t think it makes sense in such an emergency situation to try to sort out men, women, children, etc. Just go…

    20. roberto rosado
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:53 am


    21. talliana
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:56 am

      Just saw an interview with a young couple (no kids)in Florida who said they were among the first to get in one of the lifeboats. I think they should have allowed the kids and families first before them. If we were in a similar situation my husband and I would have let the families go first. But in reality in today’s world it is all about me, me, me so some people never think about others.

    22. mark
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:06 am

      I would want to go with my family on the grounds that neither my wife nor kids are strong swimmers, and in the event of crawling down a rope and falling into the water, I would want to be with them, maximising their chance of survival.

    23. lipgloss gal
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:08 am

      I agree small children and the elderly/ handicapped should go first. But saying “families” should all go together is a little ridiculous. Because I was unable to have children I should be punished and expected to stay on board?

    24. Dawg
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:09 am

      I’d really like to believe that I would send my wife & daughters first and stay behind to help others.

      God bless all those lost & their familes

    25. Gary
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:14 am

      Damm straight. Woman and kids go first.

    26. David Ricker
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:16 am

      How could somebody even think about throwing their children on a boat with strangers. Keep families together.

    27. Tracey
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:16 am

      Being an able 47 year old woman, it would be most important to me to keep my family together including my husband. Not that he would not volunteer to load last because he is a gentleman, but in a situation of chaos, I would want to be together.

    28. Emily
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:39 am

      Definitely children first, or at least don’t trample them! In the case of Concordia, there were not enough usable lifeboats because of the severe list, and the last few hundred evacuees had to climb down a rope ladder or be rescued by helicopter. My small children could not have done that. And it would be good to have at least one parent with a child. I may be able to swim better than some men, so I am not sure about women first.

      It is a shame that big, fit men were trampling children to get on the lifeboats.

      Of course, if Captain Coward had sounded the alarm earlier, everyone could have made it onto a life boat and gotten off the ship before the severe listing happened. He wasted at least 40 minutes and confusing, incorrect instructions were given. That was the real problem. If captains do their job, then who goes first should not even be an issue because there are more than enough life boats and rafts for everyone on board.

      This also should remind people that swimming is a basic life skill that everyone should learn. I cannot imagine going on a ship and not being able to swim. In our family, learning to swim is not optional.

    29. michelle mccartney
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:41 am

      It would only make sense to evacuate children and 1 parent first. On an airplane, they tell adults to fix their oxygen maks first, then assist the child.

    30. brian
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:45 am

      It appears to me that practically everyone would send their wife/kids in front. I think the question is if they would also send OTHER wives and kids first too…

    31. Kate Hacking
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:46 am

      In this day and age….I am not a coward and I would help all those I could before jumping ship myself. I have been in situations where it was called upon me to help with the rescue of others. Children yes I believe they should always go first and most women too. but the elderly and physically and mentally disabled alone with the children. We as women are protectors by nature. If we are able… please let us help.

    32. Vickie Hren
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:49 am

      To the 90% people who responded “absolutely families should stay together” should realize that can mean your whole family will not survive based on how many families are on board. Also you are saying the adults in your family are more important than the children of other families. I would want to stay behind until all children are off the ship, including my own. How could anyone live with themselves knowing they lived at the expense of someone elses’ childrens death. Keep in mind ships like Disney’s, Carnival and Royal Caribbean have alot of kids in families cruising on them. If the children are very young one parent should go with them.

    33. Mike Caymon
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:49 am

      As a frequent cruiser with my wife and daughter, we discussed this immediately after Concordia. My family protests, but they, and any other women and children, would leave that ship before me.

      Of course there are circumstances that dictate otherwise. There are too many possibilities to list. If it made sense for me to join them, of course I would for their comfort and for the sake of an orderly evacuation.

      But if it’s tight or there is any question of availability of lifeboats and rafts, I’m swimming. Western notions of equality have no impact here. Women and children, and the disabled or infirm, get priority.

    34. Mark
      January 25th, 2012 @ 9:50 am

      There’s a difference between “Should MY wife and kids go first” (which I think most men would agree to) and “Should ALL women and children go first” (which gets a lot fuzzier). From the safety of dry land, I think that I’d want all the kids off safely first (with one parent each).

      I find it harder to decide what is the right priority when it comes to the elderly. If it’s mostly a question of spending a miserable night, or having to tread water a bit with a high chance of survival for an able-bodied person, then I would try to give the seniors priority. But if those left behind were facing almost certain death, honestly, I don’t know. My kids need me. How do I balance that versus someone who has already lived a full life? Hopefully, I’ll never need to make that decision.

    35. Karen
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:01 am

      At a time when we had small children, my husband would have insisted that the children and I go first. Now that the kids are grown and we travel alone, we would stay together. Women and children, those unable to help themselves should go first. I’ll wait by his side helping everyone else until we could safely make our escape. Most likely, he’d have been driving one of the boats!

    36. Brenda
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:11 am

      Families should stay together!! I would not be able to leave my husband. It would be crucial to stay calm and all work together. But that is easy to say standing on dry ground. Lord Bless the famlies of the lost.

    37. Richard Roberg
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:21 am

      I’m 77 and slightly disabled. I strongly believe in families first. Seniors have had “their day in the sun”!!

    38. Emma
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:25 am

      This was a tragic “accident” at the hands of virtually one man who (in my opinion) thought he could make up his own rules and obviously is of low moral character. No person can effectively say for sure what he or she would do in a dire situation, but what he or she would hope to do. Naturally, we would all aspire to be our very best and put the needs of the children, their parents, and the elderly before able-bodied persons. Only when fully tested, however, do we ever know. Personally, I cannot swim, but I would like to think I’d stick my arms and legs through a couple of life vests (providing no one else needed the extra!), and help whomever I could!

    39. Loretta
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:29 am

      Yes, It’s this an interesting question? For me it would be Children and a female parent first, then a male parent. Not just women. I am a senior woman and would still give my place on a raft to any woman or man with a child at their side. This is not a question of what if. Anyone who travels on a ship needs to make up their minds about this before they ever step foot on board. Just like the emergency exits on planes are for real. Not something to be ignored. Children are the future of the world and are to be protected at all times. Are these family together people realizing their whole family may disapear with this attitude? Are they really so self absorbed to think their family could not survive without them? No, one parent and children. If shilvery is dead in your family then let the husband go with the children and you stay behind.

    40. Debby
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:45 am

      In a true emergency, lifeboats should be filled quickly, without regard to gender or age. Just get the people in and get them lowered and away from the danger.

    41. 29north
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:48 am

      Families first, then seniors, Having said that, in the case of a unexpected event, much like the handling of the Concordia, I do believe panic would set in no matter what, I do believe I would, if I could get my wife on a boat, and then return and try to do what I could to keep order and panic to a minimum. Nothing in the case of the Concordia would have helped very much, it was truly a strange disaster.

    42. Susan
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:49 am

      I believe one parent and children should go first. Let the husbands/wives decide which one of them should get in the lifeboat with their kids. What happens if you wait and can’t get into a lifeboat all together? The entire family should go down with the ship? ….and to the person who said they wouldn’t put their children in a lifeboat with a bunch of strangers…believe me, if that was my only option to ensure their safety, you better know that I’d put them in that lifeboat! Better than having them drown with me!!

    43. Dave
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:50 am

      It’s easy to second-guess what you would do, until you are actually in that circumstance.

      I asked my wife her opinion and she said, jokingly, “whoever is the strongest swimmer should stay behind.”

      But her serious answer was that she wasn’t about to leave our son alone on a lifeboat. The family should go first.

      We were in a similar situation when I worked in Saudi Arabia. When the first Gulf war broke out my wife resisted taking our son and leaving–but I finally talked her into leaving on the last flight out. I stayed behind to work.

      Today, however, she says in that instance she wished she HAD stayed behind. She and our son had major psychological problems watching TV reports about the war and worrying about my safety there.

    44. Sherrie
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:54 am

      Times are differen, but children should go first (along with a parent). But lets face it, age does make a difference. I am in my late 40s, I would have no problem with younger people(20’s, 30’s) getting on before me. In fact they should. After the kids are taken care of it shouldn’t matter who goes next as long as people aren’t fighting. The key thing is getting off as many people as possible as fast as possible. I would hate to see them take 15 minutes to carefully load a few disabled people when they could have loaded the entire boat in the same amount of time. Im not uncarring, just realistic. We are talking about saving lives. Of course I aa talking about a time sensitive evaquiation. When time permints, by all means elderly and disabled go first! My heart goes out to those who lost family and friends, may God ease your suffering.

    45. Bill Stankiewicz
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:57 am

      As has been stated, we don’t know how we would react until faced with the bedlam on board a sinking ship, but I would like to believe I would react by getting the YOUNG families off first. I am a senior with many crusies under my belt as well as in the Navy. I have lived a long life, and would want to give younger people, no matter their gender, the first chance at survival.

    46. Carlene Stephens
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:58 am

      My husband and I are 73 and love to travel. In spite of the fact that I’d be teriified to drown, I’d want the younger people especially young families and children to go first. We’ve had a long life, and to save us at the expense of others would be wrong.
      I checked Celebrity’s security policy as our next crusie is with them, and they say they have enough lifeboats for everyone with extra’s aboard their ships. I assume the extras are rafts.
      Like most of us we don’t know how brave we would be until we’re faced with the situation.

    47. GaLiberal
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:03 am

      There is no need for this outdated and overly romantized view. All ships carry sufficient lifeboat capacity for everyone and families should be together. Separating people creates unnecessary concern and worry. The fact that this ship rolled over rendering some lifeboats unsable shows a need for better lifeboat launch systems.

    48. Liam
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:04 am

      Definitely children first with one parent. Society must realize that with equality on cannot and should not have special rights or else it is not equality so women can’t have it both ways. I was raised to open a door for a lady as a sign of respect but when I was told by a woman that she was capable of opening a door I realized that she did not want the special treatment. Fair enough, no special treatment, and no you do not get to go first.

    49. Charles Krueger
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:04 am

      I believe in chivalry but the answer, for me , is more complex. If I am alone, women, children elderly first. If traveling with wife and twin eight year olds, the safety of the kids comes first and frankly, that may mean I will have to stay with them in case my physical presence may be necessary ( wife and I each holding one in the boat or water etc.) this is not a matter of courage or cowardice but a matter of priority and practicality.

    50. Sara Schaefer
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:08 am

      In an emergency like this, I think anyone who needs help should go first – obviously this includes children, and the woman OR man who is assisting the child or children, as well as low-mobility or disabled folks regardless of age or gender. Those who are fit enough to help with the evacuation of others, and then board a lifeboat without assistance (or survive in the ocean with a lifejacket until rescued if need be) should be last. This strategy should allow for the smoothest evacuation with the least loss of life. However, since there are no rules or laws concerning this, it is up to the individual to do the right thing according to their own conscience.

    51. Doug
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:09 am

      All the moralistic comments are fine but in a dire situation the triage order is not necessarily “women and children first” but it is in priority of physical ability….or lack thereof. Therefore, disabled and wounded first followed by children (less strong?)…sure I’d want to stay and help (guy mentality) and allow “caregivers” to go ahead of me.

    52. Ron Laliberte
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:15 am

      For me at least its hard to say. Theres a lot of variables to consider, any or all that could change my decision. At the very least, in the case of Concordia, Id definitely make sure my wife and kids were safe in a boat, and any one nearby that would have an issue such as disabled, before Id consider getting off the ship. If things were somewhat orderly, lets face it no matter what happens, theres going to be people that feel entitled or wont listen and push and shove, then id keep my family together and keep a close eye on what was happening.

    53. Ron Laliberte
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:22 am

      Also if I thought for second that the lifeboat crew couldnt handle the boat or I thought they were in more danger I wouldnt hesitate to bring it to the crews attention or get my family off the lifeboat.examples would be if the ship was still moving while they were trying to lower the lifeboat, if the boat was being lowered on someone or something, if the crew cant find the keys, etc.

    54. Amy
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:23 am

      I would rather die staying behind with my husband than live with myself knowing he didn’t make it and i did. We don’t have children so that’s not a question. I do think that children and handicapped should be helped first though.

    55. Mj
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:27 am

      Very hard decision to make. I believe most people really wouldn’t know until they are in that situation, however, I know that my husband would be placing me on that lifeboat before himself. I wouldn’t go without him, but then my son is 21 and no longer a child. We talked about it as a family, and my 21 year old agreed with his dad, they would make sure all children had a chance and if that meant them staying back they would. There are also single dads out there travelling with their kids, perhaps with grandparents along. I have a few friends in that situation. Very hard call to make and I hope that in the future we will never have to even think about making that choice. Cruising is the safest form of travelling. I’m off to Bermuda in May on RCI and am not worried at all. This was all the arrogant captains doing! Taking a multi-million dollar ship to show off and endangering all the passengers is unacceptable, and his continuous lying is an insult to the people that HE killed and to their families, and all those poor people that were terrorized on that ship! Shame on him, he is a coward! After this tragedy, cruising will only get safer, as they learn from all the mistakes made and improve on them. It is very unfortunate and sad that one man’s stupidity caused the senseless death of so many!

    56. the-artman
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:28 am

      I have a friend who survived such a situation where she and the children were put first and saved but her husband didn’t make it. She overwhelmingly states, “whole families together”. Having to go on with small children and no husband was exceedingly difficult.

    57. Ed
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:28 am

      Given the cowardly captain and officers nowadays you might not have a choice. They might flee the ship and not even lower the life rafts.

      What criteria does the cruise line use to choose their captain and staff?

    58. B Garely
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:34 am

      The only thing I have to say is that your grammar in asking the question is incorrect.

    59. CurtS
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:39 am

      Having evacuated buildings as a firefighter, I can say that when people are panicked, gender becomes blind. While I think most adults have an inner sense of wanting to make sure children are safe–whether it is their own or someone else’s–they are not quite so chivalrous about other adults. After watching a demonstration of adult chivalry during Black Friday in which people broke down doors and trampled other shoppers just to get a pair of Air Jordans, I’m convinced that those adults would probably have no problem trampling another adult to get to a lifeboat if a ship is taking on frigid water, no matter what the gender.

    60. Kered Retej
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:43 am

      The problem is that this rewards the selfish. I am a man and I would support children and women first and send my kids off with their mom, but not if it means the spot I vacated would go to a man who went with his family. Why should I martyr myself to save a stranger I don’t know who \cut the line\?

      If I knew that the crew was overseeing the evacuation and had the ability and resolve to strictly enforce \children and women first\ I’d be prepared to split up from my family, but in that kind of chaos where the captain abandoned before many of the passengers (presumably including women and children) I’d probably get on the lifeboat as soon as I could. Maybe that makes me selfish too.

    61. Tera
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:49 am

      Its a very romantic idea to say I’d stay with my husband but the reality is, not all emergencies happen this close to shore and you need to guarantee that one of you is with the kids. I think it is careless to say you’d stay behind with your other spouse just to keep the family together – get your kids to safety first. There is no reason to think that the other spouse would NOT get to safety as well since there are enough lifeboats for everyone – but at least get the kids off with a parent (usually the mom but not always) and trust that the other one will follow soon.

    62. Susan Rolfe
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:51 am

      Certainly women WITH children (and men, as well)should be moved forward. Children cannot fend for themselves. In this day and age, however, women are generally thought to be as capable as men in most respects (physical strength being, perhaps, an exception). I am 71 and I feel fully as able to handle an evacuation as any of my male counterparts. Further, though my husband would try to insist that I go before him, I am his partner and would work side-by-side with him to seek a safe harbor.

    63. Joanne Emmons
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:55 am

      To me, not only should families stay together but those with young children back home should get priority as well. Obviously that’s difficult to access, but children don’t need to be orphaned, and I’d step aside for a mother or father with young ones back home.

    64. luvsnorkeling
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:56 am

      What a generation we have raised!! As someone else said, today it’s all about me, me, me. Almost gone are the days when men were real men and took seriously their responsibilities as providers and protectors of their families and protectors of women and children in general. Any man (other than a disabled one) who would jump on a lifeboat leaving women and children behind is a coward! The entire moral code of women and children first was based on the physical facts (which women’s lib cannot change) that men are physically stronger than women and children and thus more able to survive. All the other discussion about men going with their wives/children simply reflects the mentality of today’s generation. I shudder to think about being on a sinking ship with folks who have the modern mindset. Probably end up having more people trampled to death than drowned.

    65. Jean
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:56 am

      I always thought the reasoning behind women and children first was that “in general” women are viewed as the more capable parent to take care of the children in hard times. I feel women can better endure hardships, emotional suffering, and childcare to carry on and rebuild despite the chaos for the sake of the children. Children are our future and women are left behind/go first to take care of them while the men go to war or get left behind. #34 & 37 sums it up very well for me as well.

    66. Peter Drew
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:57 am

      Its interesting to read the view of the ‘family’ people eg “my wife and the kids first, then I’ll think about me.”
      So does that statement extend to letting all the “wives and kids first” or just his???

      The entire anachronistic ‘women and children’ thing has been completely diminsished by quite rightly modern day life, laws and practices.
      So it cannot be suddenly ressurected or re-enacted on a stricken cruise ship, which for ever reasons imaginable, hit a rock or reef and quickly keeled over.

      Why too should single or unmarried people suddenly find themselves relegated to the back of the lifeboat queue as a result?

      The whole ‘women and children first’ debate is floored with personally motivated comments.
      My family before anyone elses.
      Women wanted equality – they got it. Ive no problem with that at all.
      Essentially call it human nature at it self seeking, self saving worst; A life lesson nightmare perhaps instead of a cruise marketters dream.

      For anyone to pontificate on the rights on wrongs of what went aboard Concordia that fateful night is simply absurd.
      Thankfully most got off eventually. Let us all remember the dead,bless their souls and then thank our chosen gods that that so few of all the very many were not actually lost.

    67. Cher
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:58 am

      Yes, and it has nothing to do with chivalry. It has to do with survival of the human race. Men can not bear children themselves it still requires a woman. Women on the other hand can mate with different men for the specific purpose of bearing children to further the race. Children will grown up to be the future.

    68. SC
      January 25th, 2012 @ 11:59 am

      I am a 60 year old very fit woman; however, my husband is a disabled stroke survivor. I would give him my seat or stay behind with him. I am strong enough to swim or tread water for hours and would choose to stay behind.

    69. Herb
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

      In theory yes, on a big ship no.

      Separating families causes chaos and costs lives. Orderly disembarking keeping cabin mates together is the only way to get thousands of people off a ship. On a small ship, definately women and children first. Each ship should have a plan designed around the ship, and passengers should be instructed sonn after boarding.

    70. Steve
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

      Children, elderly, and those who cannot swim should go first. My wife can’t swim, so I would put her in the lifeboat along with my 9 year old daughter. My boys are outstanding swimmers, as am I. We could swim for miles without a problem, as long as the water was not too cold to survive. I once took a survival training course practicing this exact situation where you had to survive for 8 hours in deep water without a life vest. If you stay calm, it was not that difficult.

    71. Capt. Tom
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

      The truth is that nobody really knows what he or she will do until they are actually faced with that problem. But one thing is for sure: The law of the sea is the the master is the last one getting of the ship. The master is the representative of the owner and in the old days if the master went of last and there was nobody on board left the ship was up for the take. Ever read the story of the Flying Enterprise? As a cadet we stood by with our vessel while she was sinking. Capt. Kurt Carlson was last one to leave. But times and responsibilities have changed and not for the good.

    72. Emmie
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

      I personally agree with Norwegian Sun’s policy, youngest and strongest first because they can climb down deep inside of the lifeboats more easily. My husband and I could easily wait behind children and the frail. But I refuse to leave my husband. We’ve been married 25 years, and we either live together or we die together.

    73. Deb
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

      Such a difficult question. First of all I read that ships are only required to have enough life boats for 75% of max. passengers and crew. Others here are saying there are 25% more than required … what is the true answer to this question? I think we’d all like to know, that might help resolve this question put forth.

      If the boat situation is tight, I think families with children should go first, the man can decide to either go with his family or stay behind to help, but definitely the mom should go with the kids. Never put your kids on a boat with strangers and no parent!

      How to do this? I like Craig’s suggestions – to have all family cabins muster at the same station, and also have a separate one for the disabled/ailing passengers where extra crew members are assigned to ensure assistance, these two stations should be nearest the promenade deck.

      People may disagree with me, but I do not believe the elderly should go ahead of anyone, sorry! I feel they should let the younger ones go first.

      And of course, time is of the essence. Get people on these boats and lower them into the water as fast a possible. The process needs to be smoother and the crew needs to have more authority to process the evacuation according to plan (in the event the captain and his officers are unable to lead them).

      And finally, kudos to the crew/wait/entertainment staff who assisted the passengers to safety off of this vessel. They may have been unorganized because the captain and officers were no where to be found, but at the end of the day they got almost everyone off safely, less than 1% died. My condolences to everyone who lost a loved one. Let’s hope that cruiselines learn something from this and cruising becomes safer as a result.

    74. Mal Greenfield
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

      Like Mr. Roberg I am 77 and although not disabled, I am a cancer survivor. Children first; everything is in front of them. Wives and husbands who are the parents of those children next. EVERYONE under the age of 40 next. After that, I’d want MY healthy wife of 56 years to survive for the sake of our 3 adult children and 3 grandchildren. Persons over 40 next, no matter what their sex because a divorce rate of 50% does not speak well of “family” and merely represnts self-satisfaction.

    75. Cheri
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

      My husband and I are experienced travelers and have been in situations where sudden evacuations happened. we left together. But one thing I do know-if anyone tried to buy/bribe their way onto a lifeboat AHEAD of others, they should be yanked out, chained to the rail and only be allowed to leave one step ahead of the captain or tossed overboard.
      The kids first, with one parent to provide continuity. depends which parent is the most physically able to stand duress who stays behind and that’s decision for them to make. Now, I’m partially disabled and a young senior (64)-I would wait my place in line-no special privilege. If one is very aged or is seriously handicapped, they need to rethink their travel beforehand and decide if they want to let younger people on board have a chance to survive. But they should have no more special treatment than the other adults, except assistance in getting into the lifeboat. This is a decision that everyone should never have to make, but is sometng every travler needs to think about whether they travel by land or sea.

    76. Matt
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

      I think that the children should come first along with one parent. As far as the second parent is concerned, they should not get any preference over singles on board. Just because you have a family does not make your life more valuable than the life of someone without a family. That person also has the potential to bring children into this world and has not yet had the chance to do so.

    77. Michael
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

      Capt. Tom is right.

    78. midway moo
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

      Chivary?? It was reported in “The Huffington Post”,a few days ago (and I quote)” There was a group of rich Russian passengers,throwing wads of cash at employees,in order to get on a lifeboat”
      I REALLY hope that wasn’t true……….

    79. Noel Lynne Figart
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

      The principle of women and children first is a biological principle, not a social one.

      I was thinking that I’d want my family (my husband and a biologically if not legally adult son) saved over myself… then realized that what we’d probably do is work together to make sure families with small children got to safety first.

      At least, I hope we would stick to our principles that hard in an emergency.

    80. OBX Ron
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

      Women and children first BUT………right after the Italian Captain and Officers!

    81. Linda
      January 25th, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

      They say the survival instinct is very strong. However, I would hope that my husband and I would both be brave enough to let younger people go before us. We will both be 65 in 2012.

      I definitely think that FAMILIES with children should be first. Then younger adults (who may or may not have children left at home). People over 50 should go in order–50’s, then 60’s, then 70 and older.

    82. Numbers65 in Ohio
      January 25th, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

      I have to go with my kids as I am a single parent and my kids live with me 90% or more of the time. I work OT each week and care for almost all their needs so I need to be with them somehow. If my kids were grown I would let women and children before me.

    83. René
      January 25th, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

      Women and children passengers first naturally, men follow, and the crew afterwards is the only proper procedure to save the most lives. Assuming there are lifeboats enough for everyone. This was not the case with the famous RMS Titanic or the much less known British troopship \Birkenhead\ that sank in 1852, the men aboard going down with the ship to save the women and children in the existing longboats. May God bless still their memory. And curse that of that despicable captain that foundered the Costa ship. It is a fine line and, I am sure, is getting even safer by the minute. The internal \Law of Seamen\ has no forgiveness for this unworthy behaviour. I am a old man, and I have sailed in mostly in much smaller vessels, now likes cruise and going on a 23 days one in March and April aboard a Costa liner.

    84. bunz
      January 25th, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

      Every man for himself…. woman take too long to act , they always want to debate what you tell them… hehe

    85. Janell
      January 25th, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

      Why was it most of the crew was off ship when we have cruised we have been told stewards were responsible for their passengers to make sure that were off of there floor and during evacuation it should have started with the the bottom floor do all clear go to next floor but I think the crew also paniced but small children should be 1st as well as elderly and the handicapped and yes parents should go with small children

    86. peggy and john smith
      January 25th, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

      needless to say, my husband and i are veteran cruisers with 60 some odd so far–leaving feb6 on carnival miracle, we have given this a lot of thought—we are senior citizens, and fortunately both in good health–and, although he is 75, he swims a mile every other day—–we have never had a problem on a cruise, thank god—but, i can tell you first hand that people panic–it is just naturally human nature i guess–but unfortunately true—–my husband, nor i, fall into the panic category—if we ever encounter a muster situation aboard, we would follow the rules and do what we are supposed to do–making our way around all the people (trying to help them as we go)—when we reach the life boat muster station–i guarantee you no one can make me get into a life boat without my husband–i’d much rather stay with him–no matter what!!!—i fully agree that the concordia was a huge anomaly in cruising–also agree with the fact that the crew would carry on with their job no matter what until they get orders from the bridge to do otherwise–it is what they are trained to do—-with so many cruises, i truly feel that we would know immediately when something was wrong and would act accordingly—the concordia captain was–well i could write a book about all the mistakes he made, so i won’t even go there at this time

    87. Florida Judith
      January 25th, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

      The one overwhelming thought that comes to my mind is that in the end, you must live with yourself. I would hope to be courageous enough to let those weaker and younger go first, because if I survive I must live with my decision. There is no sense in living if you feel guilt for the rest of your life. Heros are often made in the toughest of situations. Who knows which person will turn out to be such an individual? I cannot swim but I have lived a good life and I have raised my children. I hope I could be the voice of reason and help as many people as possible. I think Americans often have a different view of things than people from some other countries. We embrace organ donation while other countries are often amazed at the practice. In some countries women have so little value that men would knock them down to survive. It is up to the rest of us to set the example and to always remember that just surviving wouldn’t be enough for most of us.

    88. Doris W.
      January 25th, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

      I am 72 and a large woman, so my chances of survival are slimmer. If I were aboard with my daughter, I would DEMAND that she go if I cannot get there without major assistance.
      I think families with small children first, then moms or dads with kids.
      When fear steps in, often what we know we should do, leaves us without common sense. You have to fight to stay calm.

    89. Freddy
      January 25th, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

      Women and children first is a thing of the past. It’s every man for himself, period. Sure, if I saw a child alone I’d put them in a lifeboat, but if it was a child with a parent or parents, then it’s their responsibility to get them in a lifeboat.

    90. Maureen
      January 25th, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

      I am a senior, in great health, active, with a wonderful family of 2 children, 4 grandchildren and 2 great-grands. I love life. That being said, sitting here at my computer, I am a bit puzzled why so many are saying women, children and the elderly first. We are decades old and have lived most of our lives. I’m in what I fondly call the \God’s waiting room\ stage. I would insist on those with families, those younger than I, and those who are disabled go well before me. My life has been full, and I hope it continues that way, but in an emergency I could not live with myself if I took someone younger’s seat. However, if my children and grands were onboard, I’d knock little old ladies over to get them a seat!

    91. Kelly
      January 25th, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

      I would have wanted to stay with my husband at all costs so I would have held to the back of the line even if he tried to push me forwards. I think that Seniors, and one parent with children should be allowed to go first IF they wanted to. Thinking back to when we had little children same scenario I might have gone without my husband but if I could tell we were safe enough and it was just a matter of a lenghty wait for rescue I think our children and I might stay at the back of the line together with hubby. He is our rock and by his side would be easiest if possible.

    92. Steve
      January 25th, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

      The real answer is those who need assistance most should go first. Those injury or with limitations should be able to count on the able bodied to help them to safety. You have to live with yourself, hopefully, after the crisis. Knowing I did less than I could for others would be a long term burden. Much more difficult than lending support when needed. I truly hope not to be in such a situation, even more I hope I would walk the talk.

    93. DJ Swett
      January 25th, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

      I certainly agree with the moral statements of most posters, but have you seen the candid pixes of the MOB of people jammed together on the decks. Many crying or screaming as the ship lurched onto its side. That scene makes me think of Black Friday at Macy’s discount department with everyone rushing the door and trampling each other to buy an Xbox game.

      There is no way that some authority figure (without a gun or bludgeon) could go thru a selection process of go vs no-go with everyone jammed into the lifeboat railing.

      Chivalry is nice, but reasonableness dictates that people are loaded onto the boats as they approach the railing. The assumption has to be that if you are on the deck in front of the life boat, then you want to get off the ship. Otherwise, you would be elsewhere within the ship helping people organize themselves to get to their lifeboat.

      The decks were so crowded that if you were at the railing and decided that you did not want to join the life boat, you could not easily retreat back into the ship. The crowds were pushing so hard to get into the lifeboat.

      This discussion would not even be taking place if the “Chicken of the Sea” captain had done his job. His staff and workers have been trained in a military like style to do as ordered and passenger statements indicate that even as the ship tipped, the workers refused to launch the lifeboats because they had not received orders from a deck officer.

      What a sad situation for all Mariners. The Captain looks great in his spiffy uniform, but lacks the intestinal fortitude to do what’s right in a dire situation.

    94. Marian
      January 25th, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

      I’m a mum with two preschoolers and a husband. I know my kids would freak out if Daddy wasn’t with them. Equally they’d freak out if I wasn’t. As they are twins, I’d need someone they knew and trusted with them to help. For me it’s children and caregivers first (a caregiver is whomever was travelling with them, bet it an aunt or grandparent – someone with legal custody over the child in the situation). You have to put kids first, they are the most likely to have least survival skills. You can’t put kids aboard a lifeboat without their caregivers lest you risk an absolute panic and disaster in the lifeboats. After that it’s the less able. If we were not with our kids and that close to shore both my husband and I would have given up places and swum for the shore – I was a competitive swimmer and he’s a diver, so we spend a lot of time in the water and are waterwise. It’s hard to say but a lot of human decencies and principles go out the window in an emergency situation and there are always the ones who think ‘every man for himself, get out of my way’. The flipside is that there are always those who manage to rise above the tide of panic and do amazing things in an emergency situation.

    95. binkster
      January 25th, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

      My husband is in a wheelchair and I would have drowned with him beause I would not have left him were we on the Concordia. We have taken several cruises and were planning one this year. We decided not to cruise any more. I just hope that this terrible accident makes ships safer and people kinder in a panic situation but I am not counting on it. I am in favor of families and disabled first.

    96. Jane Ranchart
      January 25th, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

      Speaking as a woman, I would want children and their caregivers to go first. BUT for this situation and most conceivable others in modern times, the MOST important thing is to just load the lifeboats as quickly as possible. All passengers should go first… and go as FAST as they can. Spending time arguing about chivalry and who is most deserving is probably costing lives.

    97. Sue
      January 25th, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

      As noted in your article the concept of restricting who got into life boats was based on the issue of not enough life boats.
      Today there is a seat for every person on the ship in a lifeboat, so everyone who reports to the muster station should get on the boat together.

    98. D.Amadatsu
      January 25th, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

      I think there should be a crew person to man the boats then it should be families- their children and fathers so that there would not be so much pushing and shoving and crew members not essential should go last to make sure others got on first-certainly not the captain and his officers.

    99. Just Wondering
      January 25th, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

      I have a question. When people say women and children first – would that include my teenage son? He is 15 and should he be boarded with the children or wait with the men?

    100. MD
      January 25th, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

      I sort of resent the fact that — for the sake of chivalry not being a woman, a child nor a father increases my doom on a sinking ship.

      If I can get to lifeboat, I am going in it. I wouldn’t toss a child into the sea for a seat, but I have just as much right to preserve my own life.

      And here’s another take on men letting woman go before them in elevators and door openings: it’s an oppurtunity to size up their behinds without rebuke.

    101. Peggy
      January 25th, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

      I guess I’m just too pragmatic. Told my husband he was not to risk his life for me if the situation became serious, and I would do my best, but the same holds true. I am a young senior. I would never propose the elderly go before a 30 or 40 something. The fact that I have lived a bunch of years does not make my life more important than a young person’s except to me. I’m not disabled, but I feel the same way. Why is their life more important than any other? Children of course first. A parent with them, just one. Why should both parents be moved to the front of the line? Why should the 20 something give up her/his spot, they may have kids at home.

    102. Contemplation
      January 25th, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

      “I’d of course hope that my wife and child, in this situation, would be taken to safety before me. ”

      And this is the case for almost all families, but the real issue here is that once they were on board, should a single woman give up her seat to you to be with her family? If a mother put her child on the boat with her husband, would a single man give up his spot for her? Are people equally responsible for others (not your family, that is expected no matter what) no matter what their gender, or do men have the responsibility to give up their lives so that a stranger (woman) should live, even if he is a father and his children are on the boat.

      If equality exists, then gender should not matter. In a case where one will perish if they don’t make the boat, the single person should give up their spot for the parent(s). In fact, I’d go so far as to say that all Americans should be registering for the selective service to show their responsibility is equal to protect the country. If you are not ready to accept responsibility, then you are not truly ready for equality.

    103. Contemplation
      January 25th, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

      “Men can not bear children themselves it still requires a woman. Women on the other hand can mate with different men for the specific purpose of bearing children to further the race.”

      I would like to remind you that women cannot make children by themselves. It still requires a man. Men on the other hand can mate with different women for the specific purpose of bearing children to further the race.

      Your logic does not make sense. There is no “higher” justification for a man (or a woman) making a decision to perish to save another. It doesn’t HAVE to be that way… humanity WILL survive. Heroes are made that way. Unfortunately they are generally dead heroes. Men and women are equally important to the human race. The odd thing is that we’ve apparently been sold something else.

    104. granna 22
      January 25th, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

      As frequent cruisers,hubby and I had a serious discussion about the Coast tragedy.There is absolutely no way,hubby would have gotten on a life craft before women and children. As a Marine when he was younger, I know without a doubt,he would have taken some kind of control of the chaos and loaded up the life craft and launched them himself, as long as he could. I am actually surprised that someone didnt do this on the Concordia! We WILL happily continue to cruise. Me, with utmost confidence, that I am married to a gentleman, and someone that I can trust to not only take care me, but others as well.

    105. darrin
      January 25th, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

      children first and certainly at least one parent, if possible depending on the age of the children. those that need assistance or want to go/leave should be next as those that want to leave would not be of any help. any person that opts to stay behind/later, whether to stay with a spouse or not, needs to be someone that will assist others and not be a hindrance. in my case i would force my wife onto a lifeboat. if my 2 young adult children were aboard i would hope help people and that they would wait until others in more need are accomodated.

    106. Traveling Bob
      January 25th, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

      I thought that under federal law, it was illegal to descrininate on the basis of age or gender? If so, It should be first on line, first in the lifeboat. But if there are supposed to be enough lifeboats for everyone, what difference would it make? I certainly beleive that families should get into the lifeboats together, but not by discriminating against anyone else on line before them.

    107. heidi reyburn
      January 25th, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

      As a 60+ female traveling abroad & here at home, I don’t think that any male passenger has risen to the occasion of giving up ‘a seat’ for me, especially on those bus transports between gates. I think respect & chivalry are now almost dead! To each his own…

    108. Bob
      January 25th, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

      As a paramedic, my priorities in life are: My children, The children of the world, my wife, the people of the world and then myself. It’s been ingrained in me for the past 25 years. As a Navy Corpsman, all before me was also ingrained. I can say with few reservations, that on the Concordia, I would have pushed my family ahead and then asked the crew what I could do to help.

      As for chivalry, with me it’s not dead It’s only slightly modified: I will give up my seat to any elderly person, not just women. Also to families, pregnant women and any that I feel could sue it more htan I.

    109. BOMPA
      January 25th, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

      in all fairness. in a disaster situation EMOTION does more harm than good. LOGIC and order must take place.. for maximum survival.. One can never maneuver past the highest level of incompetence of those “in charge” As in this case. The Average Person has never had to “Deal” in any panic situation. Hysteria is contagious and causes more bad decisions. pushing shoving. trampling.. Cruise ships are no different than a tsunami, Soccer game, or public protest. Panic.. is Panic.. it is up to the Captain and Crew.. to NEVER let it get that far..

    110. Laura
      January 25th, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

      Truth is, during any sort of evacuation – aircraft/boat etc. – things are too chaotic to organize people into groups. Everyone just needs to get off as quickly and efficiently as possible. Today, there are lifeboats for everyone, so there is no longer a need to decide who is saved and who is not.
      If that were not the case, then who would argue that all children should be saved first.

    111. Michelle 322
      January 25th, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

      I believe in a true crisis the lifeboats need to be filled as speedily,efficiently and in an orderly manner as much as possible – there won’t be time for many other considerations regarding age or gender!!

    112. RetiredCop
      January 25th, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

      Families and women and children FIRST!
      Then able bodied to care for those who are not so able, and then those of us than have risked our lives many times, professionally, firefighters, police officers, military; who by nature are self sacrificing for the good of humanity. We deal with Panic differently than most, and would finish the job that the Concordia’s Captain did not…

    113. Yvonne
      January 25th, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

      Women and children first is a great idea, but, have any of you waited to go ashore on a tender? If so I rest my case, BEDLUM

    114. Tina
      January 25th, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

      My husband is disabled. His left leg has been amputated below the knee and he has muscular dystrophy. We have raised our children. We both agreed that neither of us would go without the other and we would be among the last to get off the ship! I may be a woman but with my child grown, I feel the younger ladies, children and the children’s fathers should go before me!

    115. Lucy
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

      I actually think that sorting people into women and kids first, etc, is a waste of time. Sure, strong men should try to stay behing helping others as much as possible, but other than that, who cares! It should be go go go to save as many as possible.

    116. Dyan
      January 25th, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

      I have been with my husband for 41 years and I guess I would go down with the ship with him. He doesn’t see well and is pretty deaf and I am his “guide dog”.

    117. Joseph
      January 26th, 2012 @ 12:21 am

      I think the rule should be children and parent first. YES Parent not Parent(S).

      We live in a Feminist society where women are constantly calling for equal rights and treatment; however, they (yes I’m generalizing) always seem to fall back to a double standard when it comes to the real important stuff. How dare us men hold open a door for them or try not to discuss gory details in front of them, but if there is not seat available in a waiting room women expect a man to get up for them. My point is eliminate the double standard. Either you want to be an equal or you don’t.

      Don’t get me wrong, for my personal family I would definitely ensure my spouses survival over mine, but that should not be applied across the board. Nor should it be the rule at sea.

    118. Kvillaman
      January 26th, 2012 @ 12:38 am

      Times have definantly changed. Women are no longer weighed down with corsets and a dozen layers of clothing. I would think sorting through people would waste time in a crisis. I think it would be best to fill the boats up and get people off the ship as fast as possible. I would not want to be separated from my husband/family. In regards to chivalry, as a woman, I frequently will give up my seat to another person that needs it more. It could be an older woman, older man, mom or dad with a small child, handicap, or any other person who looks like they could need it. As a fit 30 y/o woman, I have no problem standing.

    119. me
      January 26th, 2012 @ 2:20 am

      Chilvary is dead and women killed it with a vengeance.
      Women want to rule the world now, they can find their own way to the lifeboat!

    120. John Montgomery
      January 26th, 2012 @ 2:41 am

      Chivalry is not dead, though the current genertion has tried to kill it. I am ex military and have been in many sticky situations. I would, without doubt give priority to women and children in any disaster situation. Males with families should take their chances will all the other men in dangerous situations, otherwise we would need a fifty question proforma to decide who should ge priority e.g. I have aged parents, I am the only living son/daughter etc.

    121. barnum
      January 26th, 2012 @ 3:15 am

      We are a couple in our lates 40’s, no kids. Anyone trying to seperate us during an evacuation shall be added to the casualty list.

    122. Veteran Cruiser
      January 26th, 2012 @ 4:09 am

      This is a ridiculous controversy. An antiquated statement about who should go first cannot fit a multitude of potential scenarios. Generally, we take of the weak (read that as disabled or infirmed not sexual). After that its seize the moment. First come first serve or whatever saves the most lives. Chivalry is for the social setting. Emergencies require emergency action.

    123. Craig
      January 26th, 2012 @ 5:35 am

      Some interesting points. And in a panic situation a lot changes. My concern would be on ships with a high number of disabled passengers. On a recent Independence of the seas cruise I reckon there was at least 50 people on mobility scooters, assuming power outages/no lifts and at least two crew members to safely carry the people down stairs etc thats 100 crew required but of course they could be anywhere around the ship when an event happens so would rely on other passengers to assist.. – Do cruiselines say we need to restrict non-ambulant pax numbers for their own safety?

      Another example – an otherwise fit 20-something male (non-swimmer) versus a 70yr old pensioner who does 10 laps before breakfast each day – should cruiselines restrict non-swimmers?

      The simpliest way is when they spend 100s of Millions building ships they should spend a few hundred K extra on some added safety features. I’ll post that ferry slide clip again as I think a longer version of that on the exposed side of Concordia would have easily prevent human chains or rope ladders with boats picking them up from the bottom of the slide, anyone old/young/ambulant can slide (like on an aircraft).

    124. Lea Armstrong
      January 26th, 2012 @ 10:01 am

      So, I JUST got off of a Carnival cruise. The room stewards checked EVERY cabin on his/her floor to make sure no passengers were hanging out during the mustard drill. This is a huge issue because many people feel they don’t need to be informed. I knew going on this cruise, in the wake of the disaster, that they would emphasize everything we would need to know in the event of a disaster and I am grateful for the information. I had my husband, two year old grandson, my 21 year old daughter and my 16 year old son with me. My first thought was what would I do? Well I would put my kids on that boat and make sure they had room for other families in my situation. My son would be devastated if something happened to me as we are close but I know he would understand my decision. My daughter would be as well but it would be easier for her to move on knowing that her son and brother were safe. My husband and I would be on a boat as soon as there was room for us but I wouldn’t deny the elderly, disabled and single parents a place on the boat to save myself. My husband would probably try to force me onto a boat but I’m a survivor by nature even though I am not the most fit person around. I can swim and I can climb but I’m sure I wouldn’t be the fastest. Most men, given the chance to get on a boat, would decline the offer and give their seat to a woman/child/elderly because it is an ideology that has been ingrained into our society. My husband wouldn’t get on that lifeboat if he knew there were other families waiting. It’s sad that anyone has lost their life, a loved one in this tragic accident. I hope that not just this cruise line but all of them have learned that this can happen at anytime if you become complacent with your job. What is even more sad is that a 5 year old little girl was lost and she should have been one of the first on a boat with or without a parent. My heart goes out to her family and all those families who have suffered from this tragic accident at the hands of an incompetent/coward captain and his staff. Many blessings to all those who risked their own lives to help those who were scared or in need of assistance. You are angels among us!

    125. Carol R.
      January 26th, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

      Comment #37 by Richard Roberg echoed my own thoughts. I’m in my 50’s, my kids are grown and my husband died 12 years ago. Although I hope there is still a lot of years left for me, I think I would step back and help others make it to safety. Hopefully I would eventually make it off safely as well, but if not, then I’m not afraid of where I’m going after I leave this life.

    126. Jolie
      January 26th, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

      While you honorable and chivalrous people at the entrance to the lifeboats take a poll and fill out all of the forms to decide who is the most worthy to be saved, there are 100 people behind you trying to get off the sinking ship as quickly as possible. Shut up and get on the dang lifeboat.

    127. Jean
      January 26th, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

      In a lot of ways I think it’s an impossible suggestion that families stay together and get first priority. How can that be arranged in chaos? Who holds back those \non-family\ folks while seats on lifeboats are held for families? I mean, it’s not practical or doable and more lives will be lost…imo. Children first I say. They are the future. With a parent if one is there. Male passengers last as in old, to help the elderly and whomever is left. Then the crew once all passengers are safely in life-boats. Then the CAPTAIN.

    128. shawn
      January 26th, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

      Sorry, but MY family comes first and formost before I even consider saving a stranger.I typically do not care for strangers and they don’t care about me. All that I love and care about is my wife and child, and I would not hesistate to do whatever it takes to save them and me first. My next cruise I will make my own escape plan regardless of what any crew member tries to do or say.

    129. Annonymous
      January 26th, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

      People will disagree but i have a family 2 teen boys they both can swim. Im not going to be a a** an demand to get ona life boat like soem women they think they have the right. We all wait in line. If the ship was sinking fast rate then i would let people go infront of em no couples elederly disable and very very young children if they cant swim go if they can adios! Then one those people are on the boats then families then couples then singles. Now if the baot was sinking slower than a snail then i would jsut tell you to wait in lien plan adn simple. If i saw we were sinnnkinggg likkke a snnaiil i would jsut wait not trample people. Now if it was sinkign at a extremely fast rate then all non swimmers should get on baots then swiwmmers.

    130. James
      January 26th, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

      I agree with GaLiberal. There is no need for thsi debate any longer. The lifeboats should hold every passenger on board.

      That said, in reality, where would I stand? I am married, but I don’t have a wife and needless to say there are no children. But, we are a family. Does that mean we, being two men, should both stay behind while other families make their way to safety?

      We have made our emergency escape plan, regardless what we’re told to do. We hope that the cruise line emergency crew would ensure that every PERSON gets off a stricken vessel safely an dquickly.

    131. Src
      January 26th, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

      Reports I read stated people were panicking and taking life jackets from other passengers. I’ve seen people like this pushing through the food lines. I would also like to see ships limit the number of passengers on scooters who block hallways and passageways. Being 60, I would wait for moms with children first. Been on 21 cruises and leaving on the Magic on Sunday.

    132. Peter P
      January 26th, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

      As a ex navy person and someone who has cruised extensively with major cruise companies, I am disgusted at Costa and even more so at the captain (be a female or male)
      As a father, I wouldn’t have trusted the lifeboats of the crew, they seemed to have no idea what to do.
      I would have prefered to abandon ship and swim
      the “50metres” to shore with my family, than leave them in the hands of poorly trained and hysterical crowds

    133. Frances
      January 27th, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

      I don’t think this is a cultural thing. Physically, as I understand it, women and children will get hypothermic sooner. But it is a general rule and since cruises frequently have older people, they obviously would be physically handicapped. I don’t think it’s a case of women’s lib or anything, I believe it is just that physically men can last longer so it’s a general rule.

    134. Heather
      January 27th, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

      This was an unusual circumstance in that the ship was so close to land and was listing for a fair amount of time before capsizing. My husband and I would have been in life jackets at the water line and swum to shore. We cruise frequently, and have attended all muster drills, but the bottom line is that employees are human. Nobody can say for certain how they would react, and I wouldn’t put my faith in a cruise employee battling their own instinct for self preservation.

    135. Will
      January 27th, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

      As cruise ships are getting bigger, it appears that the evacuation techniques have not kept up with the increase in people. There is a need to develop better ways to get people off ships…especially as every situation is different. There could be a catastrophic wave in total darkness in the middle of the ocean; complete engine failure in the midst of a hurricane; fires at sea; unexpected groundings or collisions at sea. Emphasis should be on the deboarding of EVERY person–there may not be time to round up “families”, or to separate
      “women & children” from the rest of the passengers. In addition, “physically disabled” people may need additional help & could slow the dis-embarkation of others. Jumping into the sea is NOT usually a viable option–icy seas, or shark infested waters,or rough seas could lead to separation & dispersal from the rescue efforts. How do you evacuate 4,000+ people safely & quickly? Possibly MORE lifeboats, clustered in the front of the ship, as well as the back of the ship as well as the sides could help, or possibly towing several rafts behind the ship on detachable lines. The important thing is that the crew is CRUCIAL to a complete & orderly (non-chaotic) evacuation, depending on the circumstances, as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence–get PEOPLE off; regardless of niceties.

    136. Ann Bowers
      January 28th, 2012 @ 9:49 am

      I don’t think chivalry is dead, but in dire circumstances like what happened to the Concordia, unfortunately I think all bets are off on women and children going first. I cruse a lot and often wonder if something happened, if the crew would act like they did on the movie Titanic. I guess this incident has answered my question. Self preservation is stronger than most anything – ask the captain of the Concordia.

    137. MJGorges
      January 28th, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

      I think that most of us would like to believe that we would do the most honorable thing. That is, that we would want children and adolescents to be saved first, since they have their entire life yet to live. Many might say that they would allow women, especially those who were mothers of younger children, be saved as well.
      I am a healthy active woman in my early 60’s and I do not want to die just yet. I am not generally a selfish person, but if it were my life on the line, I cannot be entirely sure that I would sacrifice my own life for that of a stranger. I simply do not know what I would have done in this situation andI pray to God that I will never be tested in this way. My next cruise is in August and I will be paying much more attention to the evacuation procedures and will want to know where life jackets are in every part of the ship.

    138. MJGorges
      January 28th, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

      I just read Heidi Rayburn and I totally agree. Some men will not even give you a seat on a bus, train, jitney or water shuttle, but we are supposed to believe that the majority would put the life of a strange woman before theirs? Few and far between!!

    139. Bill
      January 29th, 2012 @ 1:26 am

      This was warm water and close to shore. It’s also 2012 with ample rescue options available. Unlike the Titanic or other ships in dangerous waters, from more harsh times, staying behind in this case would probably mean nothing more than getting wet. In 1914, in the middle of the Atlantic, staying behind had an entirely different meaning. I’m sure many more would stay behind in warm water since they will probably live to talk about it. Wonder how people would feel if getting stranded behind likely meant you would die?

    140. Gloria Marrone
      January 29th, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

      As a woman, I would want my whole family together. Now that my children are grown with families of their own, I’d still like my husband to be in the same boat as I am.

    141. Dave Morris
      January 30th, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

      Consider this:
      On many ships, your muster station is NOT near the lifeboats. Couple this with a situation like Concordia where lifeboats were inoperable and what does the crew do? Move the people to another muster station where someone decides families first OR children first OR women & children first? Generalizations are fine until the moment of truth. IMHO people/familes need a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C etc just like on an airplane.

    142. Barb
      January 31st, 2012 @ 9:47 am

      For those saying to leave the elderly last, as they have already led full lives, who would decide how old is the right age? Would you stay behind if you could get a senior drink or discount? Or if your hair has a little gray? Believe me, just because you are a little older does not mean you are ready to be “through living”. Think I will just stay home — then no youngster will have to lock me in my cabin so they can get in the life boat first. Actually, the truth is that they could beat most of us to the boat anyway!

    143. Michele Hardy
      January 31st, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

      My Husband and I are in our late 60’s and I hope we would have enough courage to insist that families and young people go first…. I have lived a good life.. Maybe not as long as I would want but we have been fortunate….. Children and Mom’s and Dads need to be first… They are our future and I am so old fashioned to believe children need both their mom and dad…Though I pray none of us need to make this decision ever

    144. Kim
      January 31st, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

      Whoever said, “Families first, THEN women and children” so as to avoid so much real hardship to families of leaving orphans behind”, simply isn’t thinking clearly…OFTEN my husband and I have cruised without our children, but that doesn’t mean our children wouldn’t be orphaned simply because they aren’t on the ship!
      Muster drills: The ONLY cruise ships that we’ve been on that REQUIRED passengers to wear their life jackets has been Disney and I told my family after this recent disaster that I SO APPRECIATE Disney for that, in hindsight. The last Carnival cruise we went on, (one month ago), had a TON of drunk folks laughing and shouting so loud that our muster area could not even hear or see the person demonstrating the life jacket use. MOST cruises we’ve been on have had the lifejackets in the closet in the cabin and I’ve always said that unless we need it at NIGHT, we’re pretty much SOL, since the “run” back to the cabins would cause so much congestion in the corridors, elevator areas, stairwells, etc., not to mention take up precious TIME. Lifejackets should be kept at the muster stations! That’s where we’re all heading, right???
      The chivalry debate should not be families vs. women and children. It should be DISABLED and caregiver FIRST, or along with small children and a parent second, and YES, in MOST cases, that would be the PHYSICALLY weaker of the two parents, typically the mother, and the elderly of either sex. HOWEVER, what if a father is cruising with his small son and the mother isn’t on the cruise at all? The father should board with the call for small children. It’s really an honor system, don’t you think? Since the Titanic has been mentioned more than once here, consider that any wimpy, self centered, entitled feeling, “man” with no consideration WILL find a way to “beat the system” if he truly desires, for the very same reason he should wait for others to be evacuated first…he’s physically STRONG enough to push through the crowds of women and children. Unfortunately, UNlike the Titanic, I doubt that the crew members carry guns to keep the able-bodied men back while the disabled, elderly, and children with caregiver are evacuated.
      To all of you men and strong young women who’ve posted “Of course, I’d wait – and help others in the meantime!”, BLESS YOU a thousand times! That is so refreshing to read – especially when I seem to run into young men at least once a week who don’t even bother to hold the door for the disabled, elderly, and last of all, women. I’m a disabled woman with a disabled daughter and I hold doors for EVERYONE. It’s just common courtesy that seems to be disappearing with MOST folks under the age of 30 or so! I make it a point of profusely thanking the few young men that hold a door for me.

    145. Mark
      February 18th, 2012 @ 1:29 am

      Children and disabled adults first, accompanied by the driver of the boat. Then, all able-bodied men and women for themselves.

      Some would argue that men are generally stronger than women, so women should go after the children. I wonder how many people who feel this way would be okay with women being denied jobs as police officers, prison guards, etc? After all, they are the weaker sex, right?

      I would protect my family first. I would have no problem pushing a woman out of my way in order to save myself. Cowardly? No more cowardly than those who advocate me freezing to death simply because I was born a man.

    146. Mark
      February 18th, 2012 @ 1:41 am

      In response to “Gene Black’s” comment made on January 25th, 2012 @ 8:43 am :

      He said –

      “It’s a matter of breeding. I expect people in my generation(WW2 war babies) to automatically put women, children, disabled first. It is also our generation that sewed the seeds for the “entitlement” generations that would put themselves first. Sorry.”

      Gene, the human race is nowhere close to being extinct. Losing 2,000 women will not eliminate our species. The breeding excuse is moot.

      You mentioned “entitlement generations”. I hope you were referring to both men and women. If not, why should women be entitled to leave the ship first? In fact, there was a woman on the ship who was quoted as saying, “why are we not evacuating women and children first”. How is that not entitlement?

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