Good time to book a cruise

With the Costa Concordia disaster fresh in everyone’s minds, I suppose you could get a pretty good deal booking a Mediterranean cruise these days, if the companies that run these ships survive the big hit to their stock, that is. I’ve never been on a cruise (and the chances of me going on one are even more remote after this) but all of my knowledge of maritime history suggests those responsible were grossly negligent. Running a ship aground is a firing offense in most navies, but accidents do happen. What I find inexcusable, is the reaction of those in charge, particularly the ship’s captain, once disaster struck. It seems he was among the first into the lifeboats, leaving not only his ship, but many passengers still aboard. If not for the loss of life, the transcript of the radio conversation between the captain and the Italian coast guard would be almost comical. Here’s a portion:

De Falco (Coast Guard): “This is De Falco speaking from Livorno. Am I speaking with the commander?”

Schettino (captain of Costa Concordia): “Yes. Good evening, Cmdr. De Falco.”

De Falco: “Please tell me your name.”

Schettino: “I’m Cmdr. Schettino, commander.”

De Falco: “Schettino? Listen Schettino. There are people trapped on board. Now you go with your boat under the prow on the starboard side. There is a pilot ladder. You will climb that ladder and go on board. You go on board and then you will tell me how many people there are. Is that clear? I’m recording this conversation, Cmdr. Schettino…”

Schettino: “Commander, let me tell you one thing…”

De Falco: “Speak up! Put your hand in front of the microphone and speak more loudly, is that clear?”

Schettino: “In this moment, the boat is tipping…”

De Falco: “I understand that, listen, there are people that are coming down the pilot ladder of the prow. You go up that pilot ladder, get on that ship and tell me how many people are still on board. And what they need. Is that clear? You need to tell me if there are children, women or people in need of assistance. And tell me the exact number of each of these categories. Is that clear? Listen Schettino, that you saved yourself from the sea, but I am going to… I’m going to make sure you get in trouble. …I am going to make you pay for this. Go on board, (expletive)!”