Seatrade Insider has an interesting article today entitled "Costa Battles Media Onslaught, Concordia Scams."
The article raises the issue whether there is a future for the Costa Crociere brand following the Concordia disaster. The article quotes Costa CEO Pier Luigi Foschi admitting that Costa's sales across the fleet are 35% below the same period last year.
But even if sales pick up, what long term damage did the Concordia crash cause Costa? The Seatrade article explains that Foschi told an Italian newspaper that "we have been annihilated in the media. Our brand has been massacred . . . " He went on to complain of the " . . . enormous attack of the mass media, for the most part unfair and unverified." (emphasis added)
I have never hear of such frank and dire talk by a cruise CEO.
A couple of newspapers here in the US asked me for my opinion on how the Costa Concordia spectacle will affect the parent company, Carnival Corporation, and the cruise industry in general. I stated that the Concordia is only one of over 100 cruise ships in the Carnival fleet. Carnival is the proverbial 800 pound gorilla. And its so diversified with multiple brands line Costa, Cunard, Princess, Holland America Lines and so on that even the loss of a $500 million luxury cruise ship (representing a little over 1% of its fleet) will be nothing but a blip on the screen of Carnival's financial bottom line.
As far as the cruise industry, the thought of the Concordia heading into the rocks while Captain Schettino dined with his girlfriend and then abandoned ship is going to be a headache for the industry for a long time.
And what about Costa?
Will Costa be forever stigmatized by this disaster?
Costa has a strong brand identity. Its logo is beautiful, with the distinctive blue "C" emblazoned on a yellow smokestack.
But will the public ever forget the Costa Concordia's smokestack at a 45 degree angle, sticking out of the water off the coast of Giglio, with 15 dead passengers trapped inside the ship?
Do you have an opinion of whether Costa will weather the storm and continue as one of the premier European cruise brands? Please leave a comment below.
Don't forget to read some of our other articles on the Costa Concordia disaster: