Chris J Powell

Are Bigger Cruise Ships really the Best Answer?

Tragedy has hit the Cruise Ship world this week with the devastating sinking of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy on Friday.  Having just returned from a cruise on one of these massive ships (in my case the Norwegian Epic) I can honestly say that this incident has sealed the fate for me ever to board a Cruise Ship again. While the ship was an engineering marvel and a shining example of excess…Cruising is NOT for me.

A little background on the Costa Concordia before I dive into the early reports coming out of Italy:

Tonnage:114500 t
Length:951 feet
Draught:23 ft 3in
Max Speed:23 knots

The Costa Concordia has been the pride of the Costa Cruise Line and he largest of her 16 vessel but what happened on Friday that caused the Concordia’s Captain to wander off course and from the looks of  the damage run aground off the coast of Italy?

As I mentioned, I just returned from a Caribbean Cruise on a similar sized ship (1079 ft long, 29 ft draught, 4100 Passengers and 1750 Crew) and looking at the images that are coming from Italy…well I am at least a little freaked by them, but on a side note…this is not the first issue that the Costa Cruise Line has had.

  • 2010 – Costa Classica crashes into a cargo vessel on China’s Yangtze River
  • 2010 – Costa Europa crashes into the dock in Egypt during high winds
  • 2009 – the Line was fined $35,000 for deceptive  Advertising
  • 2009 – Engine Problems on the Costa Europa nearly caused a mutiny
  • 2009 – fire on the Costa Romantica caused he evacuation of all 1523 passengers
  • 2008 – Costa Concordia rammed the dock at Polermo
  • 2008 – Costa Atlatica strayed into the oncoming traffic lanes of the English Channel

I know that I can not paint the picture of Cruises being unsafe and dangerous but for everyone out there…do some due diligence just as you would when looking at a hotel or other vacation option as there is something about riding on/in an object that ways 100,000 tonnes (yes more than 220, 000 lbs) and its ability regardless of the skill of the crew or proficiency of the technology…that is a lot of weight to maneuver, turn and stop…and well drowning is one of my greatest fears.

As of right reports from just a few minutes ago, there are 3 confirmed deaths but there are 17 people still unaccounted for.

This type of accident though is a rarity as there has not been a major incident like this in the past 20 years with more than 90 million passengers taking to the waves.

Chris J Powell

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