I am probably one of the few 41 year olds who has been on over 50 cruises in my lifetime and was actually on a cruise last weekend when the news of the Costa Concordia incident broke. In fact, I am on the Carnival Destiny as I write this. Just like many people, I have been following the story closely and each day am surprised at the events that unfolded onboard. My first reaction to this event was that something was not adding up. However, as reports continue to roll in each day, it is looking more and more like one person’s bad decision has brought an industry’s credibility regarding safety into question.
Our business involves chartering cruise ships for bands, brands and their fans to build festivals at sea. We work closely with the cruise line to customize a unique adventure for each of our guests and in my experience, safety has been the top priority of our cruise partners. It is very common for us to create activities and concerts onboard for the majority of the guests to attend at the same time. At these large events, our cruise partners are very strict when it comes to making sure our capacities allow everyone a safe path to the lifeboats in the case of an emergency. The captains we have worked with are all business when it comes to keeping everyone safe.
In reaching out to some of our guests this week, the sentiment seems to be more of a reflection on the captain than the cruise line and the industry. I also spent time with several cruise line executives over the last few days and they have not noticed any significant changes in call volume or sales.
If I had to guess, I would think that people who have cruised before will be less effected than people who are considering cruising for the first time because their experiences are very similar to mine. Hopefully, people who are considering cruising will have faith that the cruise industry understands that safety is it’s No. 1 area of vulnerability in creating confidence with their guests.
Our company has chartered from Carnival, Norwegian and Celebrity and we have total confidence in them to make sure we are all safe. Our staff knows that as the group responsible for chartering the ship, we would most likely be in the last life boat. But hopefully before the captain.