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What now for the cruise industry?

It has been a terrible week for the cruise industry with a tragic loss of life after the Costa Concordia cruise ship (in service since 2006) ran aground shortly after leaving the Italian port of Civitavecchia.  11 people have already been confirmed dead and a further 24 are still missing.  A full investigation is underway but already it would seem that the Captain, Francesco Schettino, is getting the brunt of the blame – from the media, from passengers and, perhaps most tellingly, from Costa Cruises themselves, who wrote “preliminary indications are that there may have been significant human error on the part of the ship’s Master, Captain Francesco Schettino, which resulted in these grave consequences”. In addition to the terrible human tragedy of this event, it seems likely that there will be implications for the cruise industry as a whole. Costa Cruises’ parent company, Carnival Cruise Line – which controls about half the global cruise market – saw its shares fall in value by 20% in the aftermath of the event. And it’s perhaps fair to assume that there could be knock-on effects for other cruise companies as would-be cruisers have second thoughts about the safety of their trips.  Furthermore, the timing of the event co-incides with a key booking period which will surely not help matters, in a year when the cruise industry was already anticipating minimal growth. What’s your take on it all?  Do you think 2012 will prove to be a difficult year for the cruise industry as a result of this incident?  Do you think there will be any long term effects upon the cruise industry?  Post a comment – we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. Over the years, many things have come to light regarding cruising. Whether a legionnaires outbreak, inadequate care provided when a serious medical condition rears it’s head causing either serious injury or death, major accidents such as fires on board or sinkings, some of us have come to realize just what a chance you take by choosing a cruise.

    The fact remains that these vessels operate to a great extent in international waters and are therefore not subject to the same laws and standards as would be a land based vacation experience. Therefore, the cruise industry is very much left to self regulate.

    Also, with ships of over 200,000 gross tons or more carrying over 7,000 passengers and crew, one has to think and wonder that if a real emergency should occur, would any safeguards put in place be sufficient to ensure the safety of all aboard.

    Sadly, I am not convinced that this incident will lead to any significant changes. In the age of the inexpensive all inclusive holiday, or in many cruise lines cases, the “almost” all inclusive holiday, the public will continue to consume the product just as it is and the industry leaders will continue to rack up record profits.

  2. It may sound odd but I have gotten three times the hits on my travel site under the cruise section since the ship sank of the coast of Italy then I ever have before. I think the cruise industry as a whole is very safe and well run. If it wasn’t it wouldn’t be so big. I also think people realize that just because something happened on one ship it doesn’t mean it will happen to another.

  3. I would not say that all of the cruise industry is going to be damaged by what happened with the Costa Cruise. If fact the only cruise company that are likely to get a loss would be Costa as they are the ones to blame.

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