By Kelly Monaghan
The sinking of the Costa Concordia off the tiny Italian island of Giglio was a terrible tragedy. I hope the families of the victims are in your prayers as they are in mine.
However, I think it’s important that we keep this terrible event in perspective. Here is what I believe we know:
1.) The cause of the tragedy was a disastrous decision by the ship’s captain and nothing inherent in the way the entire cruise industry operates.
2.) The incident highlighted some gaps in Costa’s policies, procedures, and training, which I have no doubt will be addressed swiftly and thoroughly.
3.) While the tragedy will live forever in the hearts of those directly affected, the memory will fade quickly for the traveling public.
The news media, of course, concentrated on the negative, which is perfectly understandable. There was a lot of talk about how this would affect the cruise industry with the predictions tending toward the dire end of the spectrum. But I was pleased to note that when a news web site that serves my local area posted a poll that asked people if they would cruise again, the vast majority said they would.
To their credit, many news outlets pointed out that cruising is among the very safest modes of transportation.
Also, the recorded scolding administered to the ship’s captain by the Italian Coast Guard skipper served the very useful purpose of educating the public about how a ship’s captain should conduct himself, underlining just how much of an aberration this particular captain was.
So, no, this is not a death knell for the industry. Carnival, the owner of Costa, is a strong company with extensive resources and a deep commitment to the future of the cruise industry. They will bounce back from this and bounce back strong.
In the short term, look for some bargains in the months to come as the skittish cancel bookings. Look on this as an opportunity, for that is exactly what it is. I just put a young couple on a Carnival cruise, their very first, and I smell a honeymoon cruise in the near future.
Keep positive. Keep selling. Keep succeeding.