Reviews

January 25, 2012

Cruise Lines In Damage Control Mode

 

I

have received a number of letters from various cruise lines regarding the recent tragedy in Italy with the Costa Concordia.  Both Carnival and other cruise lines are now in their damage control mode.  If the letter comes from Carnival, then it is apologetic, caring and will discusses their plans to remedy a similar situation in the future.

If the letters or emails are from their competition, they are simply a way to reassure their customers that their standards are higher and a similar occurrence could not happen on one of their ships.  Now, if the letter is from a United States attorney, then the message is to urge the public to demand that Carnival allow the many law suits that will surely be filed, to be tried in U.S. courts and not in Italian courts.

Not unlike similar corporate disasters (PB comes to mind of course), I am sure we will see many layers on this “onion” in the days and months to come.  The cruise industry has been hard hit over the past few years from oil prices and the failing global economy. Of course there is the huge debt many lines have on their balance sheets that came from their orders for super sized ships.  The increased capacity thrown into this already crowded market creates its own problems as well as passengers book the newest and largest ships, often paying more for the experience.  What then happens to all the older or less spectacular cruise ships?  Do they continue to lower prices to attract customers or do they need to come up with new marketing plans to fill their staterooms. The diminishing market for travel in general, their increased operating costs and the increase in the number of staterooms and sailings, are challenges the industry will face in the months and even years to come.

Can The Cruise Industry Survive?

Will the cruise industry survive?  I think so, but to do so, their costs must go down and their passengers must be willing to pay higher prices then they are now.  Passengers today are not only looking for the best deals in cruising, but they are simply not spending money once they come on board the ship. This in itself is a problem cruise lines face, because the fares alone cannot make a cruise profitable for them.  In many cases a cruise can lose money when on board spending is down.  We have even seen passengers attempt to smuggle in their own alcoholic beverages on board a ship. This is of course not allowed on any ship because “booze” is one of a cruise ships biggest revenue sources.

We realize that the boom in new ship construction will slow, after current commitments are met.  Older ships will of course be sold to smaller cruise lines and replaced, but today with the uncertain future, it is my personal opinion that the major commitments to build super sized cruise ships will not continue.  Although none of us can predict the future or the many challenges we will all face, I do know however that people love to cruise and that will not change.  We can only hope that this industry will survive and continue to prosper in the future and not go down the same road as the airline industry who has continued to make airline travel something less then enjoyable.

Watch for my upcoming review on my recent cruise on the Holland America Lines, Nieuw Amsterdam, the largest and newest ship in their fleet.  I personally love to cruise and so do millions of others.  Today however, the cruising public wants more for their dollar and they are getting it. Promotions, reduced pricing, deluxe accommodations and choices in not only the ships available, but the destinations, dining and activities still makes cruising one of the best deals in the travel industry.

Carnival The World’s Largest Cruise Ship Operator

.   Carnival is a British-American company, and the world’s largest cruise ship operator. Here is a list of which cruise lines they own.

The combined brands of Carnival Corporation control a 49.2% share of the total worldwide cruise market.

Unfortunately, the Costa Concordia victims, that will of course try to sue Costa, will have to do so in the Italian courts, even though they are owned by Carnival an American company.

Emails Received From Celebrity and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Celebrity Cruises

 

 

 

Dear Leonard,

Like you, all of us at Celebrity Cruises, both shipboard and shoreside, are deeply saddened by the events surrounding the tragic Costa Concordia accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the incident.

I debated about writing to you, as I wanted to be respectful of the investigation process and avoid adding to the speculation as to the cause or related failures. However, the concerns that have been raised about the safety of cruise ships compelled me to take the opportunity to share what an intense focus we have always placed on safety, and how rigorously we put that focus into practice every day.

Since Celebrity Cruises’ founding more than 20 years ago, the safety of our guests and crew has always been our highest priority. The measures we take in the interest of safety are many, often exceeding regulatory requirements. It’s a critical part of our ongoing commitment to innovation and continuous improvement in every aspect of our business.

Our guests see just a portion of our safety practices through the mandatory muster drills we conduct at the outset of every sailing. But our safety practices encompass so much more. In light of the Costa Concordia accident, we chose to post a summary of our safety practices on our web site. Simply go to,www.CelebrityCruises.com/Safety, and click on the tab labeled “Safety and Security”. I encourage you to take a look, and to share the information with your family and friends.

Above and beyond what we’ve communicated there, you also may be interested to know that the leader of Celebrity Cruises’ Captains is a highly experienced former officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, Greg Purdy. As the head of our Marine Operations Department, Greg’s highest priority is to guide and monitor the safety of our fleet. His own experience at sea, including serving as Captain of a Coast Guard vessel, combined with his depth of knowledge of cruise ship safety, ensures that he and the entire Celebrity Marine team continue to build on our strong safety culture.

Our Captains across the Celebrity fleet hold degrees from some of the world’s finest maritime institutions. You also may be surprised to know that, along with the Captain, every one of our ships has at least two other officers who hold the level of license required to serve as Captain of a cruise ship. Essentially, we have three people onboard every Celebrity ship who qualify as a Captain.

On average, each of Celebrity Cruises’ Captains has 25 years of seagoing experience. Besides the training and drills we conduct onboard, our Captains and their bridge teams also participate in navigation simulator courses and other training. One of the cornerstones of our training is that everyone is expected to speak up if they detect something wrong, regardless of their rank. Our shipboard officers and our shoreside team spend a considerable amount of time focused on how we can continually improve our safety procedures.

Along with our vast in-house expertise, we also rely on a group of experts known as our Maritime Safety Advisory Board. The group was established in 2006 to help guide our safety program and provide critical thinking from the world’s leading marine safety experts. The group includes former senior officials from the US and UK Coast Guards, as well as leadership from the academic world.

Our Chairman Richard Fain has said there’s no such thing as perfect safety, but there is such a thing as perfect dedication to safety. And that’s what we strive for daily.

Whether you’re a longtime cruiser, or have yet to sail with Celebrity, I hope you’ll help us reinforce the fact that cruising continues to maintain the best safety record of any industry in the travel business.

Our highly skilled and dedicated crew members look forward to welcoming you onboard soon to provide you with an outstanding vacation experience. Meanwhile, I thank you for your continued support of our brand and our business.

Sincerely,

Dan Hanrahan
Dan Hanrahan President & CEO

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Leonard,

All of us at Royal Caribbean International continue to extend our heartfelt sympathies to those affected by Carnival Corporation’s recent tragic incident on the Costa Concordia. As a Crown & Anchor Society member and loyal Royal Caribbean guest, we know you may have some questions as the situation continues to unfold.

At Royal Caribbean International, the safety and security of our guests and crew is our highest priority. It is fundamental to our operations. Our maritime safety record over our 42-year history illustrates our commitment to the safety of the millions of guests and crew that sail on our ships. The measures we take in the interest of safety are many, often exceeding the regulatory requirements – these are all part of our ongoing commitment to innovation and continuous improvement in every aspect of our business.

To address some of your questions and concerns, here is a video that will provide an overview of safety onboard our ships; the training of our crew, officers and captains; and the many regulations that govern our practices. Click here to watch.

As a past cruiser, we know your friends and family may be asking about your own time at sea. We hope that you’ll share this video along with your personal Royal Caribbean experiences with them, and reinforce that cruising continues to maintain the best safety record of any industry in travel.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to welcoming you aboard again soon on one of our ships sailing to 270 destinations worldwide.

Sincerely,

Adam Goldstein
President and CEO
Royal Caribbean International

 

 
 
 
Keller Rohrback L.L.P. Announces Investigation of the Costa Concordia Cruise Disaster
 

Keller Rohrback L.L.P. (www.krcomplexlit.com) is investigating the Costa Concordia cruise disaster on behalf of victims of the cruise shipwreck. The Costa Concordia, a 950-foot luxury cruise liner operated by Costa Cruise Lines, a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise Lines (NYSE: CCL), began sinking when the ship ran aground near Giglio Island off the coast of Italy on January 13, 2012. The ship was carrying at least 4,229 passengers from 60 countries. The Concordia was en route from Civitavecchia to Savona, Italy when the shipwreck occurred. The vessel struck a rock at night, tearing a 150-foot gash in the cruise ship’s side and bottom. Several people lost their lives and others were severely injured as a result of this accident.Reports in the media point to significant errors on the part of the cruise line, including but not limited to failing to have in place and to implement effective safety procedures. The captain of the Costa Concordia is under house arrest on preliminary charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, and abandoning the ship before all passengers and crew members were safe.According to Lynn Sarko, attorney for U.S. passengers on the Costa Concordia, “It is shocking that a cruise ship disaster of Titanic proportions could happen today. The Costa Concordia is every traveler’s worst nightmare come true.” Mr. Sarko continues, “The utter lack of disaster prep aredness and accountability on board the ship and in the aftermath of the disaster are unforgivable. Carnival and Costa Cruise Lines must be held accountable.”

If you or someone you know was a passenger on the Costa Concordia or you would like more information regarding our investigation, please contact paralegal Maggie Norton or attorneys Gretchen Cappio or Lynn Sarko at (800) 776-6044 or via email atinfo@kellerrohrback.com.

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About the Author

Len Rapoport
Len Rapoport
IPA Editor-In-Chief, ID: 1000 • I am an internationally published photographer and the founder of International Press Association. As president and editor-in-chief, my duties at IPA are extensive. For over 40 years I have written articles, had my photos published in millions of publications, record album covers, books, and in the digital media. I was senior marketing and sales executive for major corporations, including my own and as a corporate communications consultant. I have taught photography and formed IPA 20 years ago. I currently work from my home office and continue to actively cover media events in addition to all of my other IPA and IMPress responsibilities.




 
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