Another Blonde-Bimbo-in-the-Bridge Scandal Rocks Costa

Costa Concordia Domnica CemortanIts been two years since the deadly Costa Concordia disaster. It's much safer now the cruise lines assure us. 

The cruise line trade organization, CLIA, reminds us of all of the new protocols which the cruise industry implemented shortly after the Concordia capsized.

One of the new rules prohibits family, guests or other persons not essential to the navigation of the vessel from being on the bridge. This was to prevent "disruptions and distractions to the bridge team members while monitoring the navigation of the ship."

This new proposal came about because at the time of the disaster, disgraced Captain Schettino had invited his (often-photographed-in-a-bikini} paramour, Moldovan dancer Domnica Cemortan, to the bridge.

I call this the "no-bimbo's-on-the-bridge" protocol. 

It's pretty embarrassing that this is how the playboy officers on the Costa cruise were acting at the time of the disaster. It's even more embarrassing that the cruise lines had so little confidence in their navigational crew that they had to adopt a policy outlawing such immature, fraternity-like behavior.

Sasha Alexandra Costa CruisesBut today it appears that nothing has changed at the Costa boys club.The Italian newspaper Oggi published photographs of an attractive Romanian blonde, Sasha Alexandra, posing in the bridge of the Costa Atlantica. She was photographed next to the captain in a tight cocktail dress holding a large machine gun.

I can hear the Costa captain thinking: These former-communist women from post-Cold War eastern Europe holding guns are so hot!

The Italian magazine explains that the Atlantica cruise ship was sailing through the Gulf of Aden with armed security guards to protect the cruise ship from  attack by Somali pirates. That's when the captain invited the lovely Sasha Alexandra onto the bridge.

Oggi further explains that someone who obtained the photographs tried to extort money from Costa in return for not selling them to the press. It looks like Oggi was willing to pay more money than Costa for the embarrassing photos.

The timing of the latest-blonde-in-the-bridge photo couldn't have been worse. Yesterday was the two year anniversary of the Concordia crash which claimed 32 lives. 

For all those naive cruise fans who want to believe the cruise lines when they say that things have changed, the sad truth is that the cruise industry is no safer now than it was two years ago.

The photos prove it.

I can't wait when the Playboy edition entitled the "Girls of Costa Cruise Lines" comes out.

I suspect that it may consist entirely of photos shot in the bridges of the cruise ships in the Costa fleet. 

Costa Atlantica Cruise Ship 

Photographs: 

Top: Domnica Cemortan / Costa Concordia / Fransesco Schettino - http://www.stiri.com.ro/stire

Middle: Sasha Alexandra - Facebook via Telegraph

Bottom: Oggi via Telegraph

Cruise Safety Advocate Paul O'Brien Dies

Paul O'Brien Death - Father of Lynsey O'BrienA newspaper in Ireland, the Irish Independent, reports today on the death of Paul O'Brien, age 49, in an article "Dad of Tragic Cruise Teen is Found Dead."

Mr. O'Brien was the father of Lynsey O'Brien, who died at age 15 during a cruise aboard the Costa Magica in 2006. Costa bartenders served the child 10 drinks in a short period of time. According to a newspaper in Ireland, "in a period of 45 minutes his 15-year-old daughter was served 10 drinks in a bar on the cruise ship, two Sex on the Beach, four Woo Woos, two vodka and mixers, a shot of vodka and liqueurs."

The child fell off of her cabin's balcony after trying to vomit overboard. Her body has never been found. 

Lynsey's case was the focus of a Congressional hearing in Washington D.C. in 2006 about cruise ship dangers. The hearing highlighted the out-of-control nature of drinking on cruise ships and the failure of the cruise line to have man overboard procedures.

The newspaper states that the cause of Mr. O'Brien's death will be confirmed by an autopsy. The newspaper states that Mr. O'Brien "fought tirelessly for better safety on cruise ships."  He released a book about his daughter's death called Lynsey's Law - Costa Coffin Cruise Ships.

You can watch a ABC News video about the incident below:

 

Unapproved Maps & Faulty Instruments Add To Costa Concordia's Woes

A newspaper in Italy is reporting that the doomed Costa Concordia  was sailing with its sealed doors open, unapproved maps and faulty instruments, based on information leaked from investigators.

The Milan daily newspaper Corriere della Sera states that a court hearing is scheduled on July 21st when the full results of technical analysis will be revealed. Captain Francesco Schettino and eight others including three executives from Costa Crociere are under investigation.

Costa ConcordiaThe "black box" was also reportedly not working at the time of the capsizing. Emails cited by Corriere della Sera indicate hat the cruise ship was scheduled for repairs. "The Vdr (Voyage Data Recorder) has broken down for the umpteenth time . . . The situation is becoming unbearable," Costa Crociere's technical director Pierfrancesco Ferro is quoted as saying.

An officer on board questioned by investigators also reportedly said sealed doors were open at the time of the impact as "this was a practice used during the navigation to ease the flow of people who were at work."  I assume this refers to the water-tight doors in the lower crew decks,

Costa denies the black box was malfunctioning and blames its captain, Schettino, if the maps on board were not authorized.

When the full results of the technical investigation are revealed later this month, I am sure that there will be enough blame for everyone to be shared.

Costa Concordia: "Cruising Italian Style - Unique Routes - Lifetime Memories"

Cruising Italian Style - Costa ConcordiaA long time reader of Cruise Law News just contacted me.  He suggested that I take a look at the promotional language in the website of the cruise industry's trade group, the Cruise line International Association ('CLIA") regarding Costa Cruises.  

So I took a look at CLIA website on Costa Cruises.  it refers to “Cruising Italian Style:"

Cruising Italian Style” with Costa is much more than a voyage to a new and exciting destination – it’s an experience that creates lifetime memories . . .

CLIA mentioned "5 Key Selling Points" for travel agents to keep in mind in selling Costa tickets.  The first 4 points listed are "Cruising Italian Style, Europe’s #1 cruise line, Italian-inspired ships & ambiance, and True European experience."

It was selling point # 5 that knocked my socks off: "Cruise Innovator: unique routes . . ." 

Oh boy.  I can't make this stuff up. 

I suppose that the hardest job in the world is to try and handle the PR work for a cruise line right now.   "Unique routes?"  "Cruising Italian Style?"  I hear the jokes already.  Yes, that's when the Captain dines with a blonde bimbo former crewmember as the ship sails by a quaint Italian village at 16 knots within spitting distance of the rocks.  Don't worry, enjoy your antipasti and vino, the home office in Genoa has approved the route. 

Another reader of my blog, who also wishes to remain anonymous, sent me a current banner ad (below) for another cruise line.  it seems that Silversea wants to compete with Costa for the most "unique cruise route."  

Let's hope that this advertisement is the result of some skilled photo-shop work rather than a reckless stunt by another foolish cruise line. 

Silversea Cruises - Too Close to the Rocks