OpinionCruise safety after the Costa Concordia accident

Cruise safety after the Costa Concordia accident

The cruise industry is still spinning from the deadly accident over the weekend in Italy.   I have read many reports from those who have cruises booked in the near future that they are now “scared” to get on a ship.  Who can blame them?  If you have never been on a ship, the images of the 3,000 passenger Costa Concordia tipped over on its side half submerged in water can make many have second doubts about cruise vacations.  These images which have been plastered all over the television and internet are misleading people over the safety of cruises.

While the images reminded us of the possibilities of things that can go wrong at sea, the safety record of luxury liners in this day and age is incredible considering the size of the ships and the number of passengers on board.  In 2011, over 19 million people worldwide took a cruise.  The number of cruise related deaths was less than 10.  Every day in America, someone dies in a car accident every 13 minutes.  Yet, we don’t even think twice about getting in our cars and driving to work, the mall, and the grocery store.  There are millions of people who will never step foot on an airplane, even though statistically is remains the safest way to travel.  Why?  Those images can easily scare those who do not routinely fly or cruise.

Carnival Cruise Line made a statement over the weekend that the demand for cruises in the near term will be weak.  January is normally a prime time for new bookings.  A travel agent with KHM Travel told me that all of her clients with cruises booked have canceled their cruises with the exception of one.

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This lower demand will likely mean that prices will come down as the cruise lines try to filled up empty cabins.  As a travel agent, we should do our best to reassure our clients and potential clients of the safety in taking a cruise.   This was the worst accident in 40 years and only 4th worst of all time. (the Titanic remains #1).  Out of the top 10 worse cruise ship disasters, several of them had no casualties.   What other travel niche can make that claim?

With all the modern technology the ships have, this type of accident should never happen.  The captain went off the course that he was supposed to take.  The courses that are laid out for the captains to follow are completely safe and are traveled many times a month and year.  This incident will bring a heightened awareness with all the other captains on how important it is to not deviate from the courses they are to take, especially near land.  The safety of cruise ships will be better than ever after this accident.

It is sad that 6 lost their lives in this accident and there are still a dozen or more missing.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends who lost a love one or who are still waiting to hear from someone missing.

Ben Souza is a travel agent with KHM Travel Group.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
OpinionCruise safety after the Costa Concordia accident


  1. My daughter and I had just been on a cruise with Carnival in the Bahamas, which ended the the day before the Italian disaster. I have to say that our service and food aboard were fabulous and I am looking forward to my next cruise with them (even if a little nervous after the accident) we had been on a NCL cruise a few years ago and food and service were not nearly as good on that cruise. I must say we were shocked with smoking being allowed on the ship, would feel safer not having this allowed.

  2. I am booked on a Princess Cruise departing next month and presently trying to pursuade my wife not to cancel.
    It is proving very difficult when she has experienced Carnival attitude to safety, they appear to just concerned with Chasing the Dollar that we have lost all confidence in them. Their continuing disregard to the dangers of smoking and resulting fires at sea only emphasis this point. I thought a fire would have been the next major disaster to be reported at sea.
    It may have been the Captain’s fault but it was Carnival who appointed him. This sort of human error should never be allowed to happen. Who has the finger on the nuclear button, I trust not this Captain or anyone single person
    Can anyone trust Carnival again?

    • I agree I’ve been cruising since the early 90’s and notice the level of customer service diminish with Carnival. I was on a recent cruise in Sept sailing from Mobile, Al. Money was stolen from my cabin. I reported this and the way they handled the investigation it was perceived and though we were the assailants. We were given a letter which listed the accounts involving the incident but no follow up thereafter. I have sailed with Carnival on approximately 12 cruises and we are Diamond Members with Royal Caribbean. This has never happened before and I was very unhappy with the way Carnival handled our issued. I feel they don’t care because people with book with them regardless. As far as the Concordia incident which is very unfortunate. This tragedy won’t sway us from future cruises by highly unlikely with Carnival.

    • I have cruised 25 times, all with Carnival. I became friends with a few crew members over the years, who have even been to my home for dinner. Crew members go through a lot, as well as time consuming to get hired. There are so few jobs where they’re from, so when they’re hired, they are willing to what ever it takes to keep their job. They would receive $50 a month for working from 5 AM to 8 PM 7 days a week for 6 months.The rest of their pay is what tips they receive. They aren’t willing to risk loosing a job that’s so hard to get, which supports their family back home, by stealing from passengers. Their job is worth more to them than a few hundred $$.

      It’s only your word, with no proof you had the money in the first place, so what more did you expect from Carnival ? And you had a safe in your cabin to place your valuables in. I have to agree with Carnival, just your word with no proof or evidence, you had a safe provided, yep, pretty cut and dry to me, what’s to follow up ?

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