The big cruise news this weekend is the delivery of a new cruise ship for Costa Cruises which will sail from Venice tomorrow.
The Costa Fascinosa, which will carry 3,800 total passengers, is touted as Costa’s new flagship and the largest Italian-flagged cruise ship today.
Costa invited some 1,800 travel agents to sail on the inaugural cruise, as part of its ‘Champions of the Sea" program.
Costa’s CEO Pier Luigi Foschi said the cruise line has "bounced back" from the troubles the company faced following the Costa Concordia disaster in January. He said "booking volumes are back to the same levels recorded this time last year."
That seems hard to believe. Two months ago there were serious questions being raised whether Costa was a "ruined brand" and whether the cruise line was heading into bankruptcy. After all, today the Concordia is still lying on its side off the coast of Giglio with two dead passengers unaccounted for. But now everything is just fine and dandy?
CEO Foschi says so: "Our share of the market in the main countries where we operate has not been affected. We were, are, and remain number one in Europe."
"We’re Number 1!" Am I back in Cameron Indoor Stadium cheering on my Duke Blue Devils? Is this a high school pep rally?
I suppose one thing to consider is that according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, two months ago Costa’s parent company Carnival posted $851 million recovered funds from its insurance policies which included $515 million in insurance proceeds coverage for the destroyed Concordia. Most people probably don’t realize that large corporations like Carnival can make an insurance claim and collect their $850 million in losses from large underwriters in the U.K. or Europe in a multi-million dollar disaster far faster than a homeowner can collect insurance proceeds from Allstate or State Farm in a minor fender bender.
To the extent that there were any nagging questions regarding safety following the crash of the Concordia, Costa took advantage of the Fascinosa’s debut to announce "new" safety protocols and systems. Costa mentioned real time tracking of cruise ship routes (old school technology), bridge access limited to officers involved in navigation (what I call the "no bimbos in the bridge" policy) and muster drills before the ship sails. Hardly innovative stuff, but its the thought that counts, right?
Let’s hope that the Fascinosa has more luck than her sister ship Concordia.
May God bless the Fascinosa and all who sail in her . . .