Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Costa Crociere Still Doesn't Get It

Two days ago the engine room of the cruise ship Costa Allegra erupted in flames, leaving the liner and its 636 passengers and 413 crew members adrift.

The Allegra is a sister ship to the Costa Concordia that is still lying on its side on rocks off the coast of Italy, with some of its 32 victims still unaccounted for.

People are still talking about all the things the Italian subsidiary of Carnival Cruise Lines did wrong.

Within hours of the shipboard fire, Costa Cruises posted a brief "Press Release" on its website confirming there had been a fire and it was out, a distress signal was transmitted and everyone was safe.

The only other "fact" included in the buried announcement on the company's website was a statement that "tugboats and other naval and aerial units have been dispatched to Costa Allegra."

The next "announcement" on the website said the first boat should reach the liner in few hours, and then boldly concluded "Costa Allegra is in compliance with all certificates required by both national and international regulations."

Still no word about what caused the fire, how much damage there was, what the conditions were like on board.  The next day, the company announced "helicopters will ensure a continuous supply of food, comfort items and flashlights in order to mitigate guests' discomfort given the difficult conditions on board."

What conditions on board?

That last "release" estimated the ship would reach a safe port in two more days.

On the second day and the seventh "release" on the website, the company announced a 14 member "Costa Cruises' Care Team had arrived at the port awaiting the arrival of the disabled (they didn't call it that) cruise liner.

The eighth "release" proudly declared the latest contact with "Costa Allega, currently under tow to Mahe, Seychelles, (that) Costa Cruises reports that the situation on board is stable and weather conditions are good."

There were few details from Costa Cruise Lines --but that didn't mean word was not spreading around the globe about conditions on the ship.

Each "release" from the company carried the name and phone number of a Miami, FL based public relations company.  I can only assume that the company refused to take their advice, because a PR company qualified to help a company with this much negative news attention, would surely have advised them to be a little more forthcoming and show some concern and empathy for their passengers and their passengers' families.

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