Overheard on CNN.com: Worst-case scenario strikes luxury cruise ship
Boats patrol near the Costa Concordia on Sunday. Divers searched for people who were still missing after Friday's accident.
January 16th, 2012
12:49 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Worst-case scenario strikes luxury cruise ship

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

A cruise ship called the Costa Concordia struck rocks Friday evening near Giglio Island off the Italian coast. At least six people are dead and others are unaccounted for. The gripping coverage of the incident has inspired lots of comments about cruise ship safety and a few references to the legendary Titanic disaster.

Disaster at sea: Luxury cruise turns into nightmare

People thought about their own cruise experiences and what it would be like to be on vacation and suddenly fighting for your life. Many talked about cruise ship safety.

abbydaddy: "Well, the loss of life could have been much worse. Yet one life lost is too many. The crew, and passengers never took the lifeboat training seriously. Just a formality before the party starts. Right. Sadly many lives will be scarred by the memories of moments of life vs death. Though the Italian rescue crews seem to have performed exemplarily."

Sixnard: "Uh, there wasn't any lifeboat training. I don't see why you're including the passengers in your blame-laying. And demanding 100% freedom from risk is simply ridiculous; in an accident of this scale, it is remarkable that more than 99% of passengers and crew made it safely ashore, even more so given the apparent incompetence of captain and crew."

bcn4: "There is no real 'lifeboat training' on any cruise. The muster drill instructs you were to go in case of an emergency, who to look for, how to put on and secure the life jackets, etc. It's the same as on airplanes - how many people really watch the crew as they go thru the safety drill at the start of the flight? Not too many. But - the same as after the US Airways jet landed in the Hudson - my next flight, everyone was paying attention to that drill. On my next cruise in two weeks, everyone will be paying attention at muster."

Rick1948: "International maritime law requires that an evacuation drill be done within 24 hours AFTER DEPARTURE. What lunacy! A ship can be 50 feet away from the dock and sink. Most US based ships do it while the ship is still at the dock. It's obvious from the accounts of the chaos that not having done the drill yet was a big factor in this one."

Some of the conversation centered on the captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino. Speaking on Italian television, he insisted the rocks were not marked on his map.

"So was this the captain's maiden voyage past this island?" commenter BD70 asked.

Many of our readers wanted to know if Schettino made an early exit. He has denied abandoning ship, saying he and his crew were the last to leave the Concordia.  Other readers said the captain has some explaining to do.

drxym: "This captain is toast. The ship is a $500 million writeoff and he killed at least six people through his actions."

Rick1948: "Expensive, but not a write-off. They're raise, repair, rename, and sail her again."

There was also a lot of discussion about rescue procedures. Some readers debated whether women and children should really go first. Reader cats22 said it was an old "law of the sea" that people follow.

PSAGuy: " ' Women (and children) first.' I wholeheartedly agree with the children part, but what happened to women's equality during this tough time? Interesting. ... That 'law of the sea' came from a time when women had special privileges. Those days are gone at their request. Now, those do not exist. Law of the sea is outdated I think."

BethTexas1: "Exactly. We want our equality ... except when it inconveniences us."

Sixnard: "Although the reasoning doesn't make sense, it's still a practical protocol simply because women and children are smaller than men on average. If you're trying to get as many people off the ship as quickly as possible, you can fit more smaller people into any given lifeboat than otherwise, so it makes sense statistically to still abide by it."

jody38: "Glad to hear that they let the women and children go first! As it should be!!"

Would special suits have averted tragedy in any way?

Manny296: "Why would people go on a cruise that is going into cold water with only warm water survival gear? This ship had no cold water survival suits for the passengers. ... I noticed that the captain had one on."

The incident turned some people off from cruises.

bustedagain: "No cruise for me anytime soon ... LOL"

Rick1948: "Me either. I watched that movie 'Titanic' three times and you know what? That sucker sank all three times!"

These readers said references to the Titanic are unwarranted.

brooklynmc:  "I know I was not there ... but to compare this to the Titanic is a huge stretch."

maschwar77: "Comparing this to the Titanic is an irresponsible conclusion to draw. However, the article noted some significant failures on the part of the crew and harsh lessons will need to be learned from this. I, for one, don't live in fear and I would gladly take a cruise tomorrow. Of all of the people that go on cruises, this accident represents a tiny fraction when you consider the sheer numbers that experience accident-free cruises."

MoleyMoley: "In these modern times when ship sinkings are rare, the only frame of reference that most people have to a disaster at sea is from watching a movie which has realistic scenes like Titanic or the Poseidon Adventure. Both ships sank, but I would have said Titanic myself since it would come to mind rather then the Poseidon ship. Please tell us how should people refer this to if not the Titanic?"

But it's interesting to note that the Titanic sank almost 100 years ago - on April 15, 1912.

BigEasyInNO: " 'Ominous scraping sound' ... much like when the Titanic hit the iceberg, this ship hit the rocks. Too eerily coincidental almost 100 years apart."

The incident may bring cost savings for future cruises, some are hoping.

safeman63: "I hope this causes cruise prices to drop. I'm planning on going on my 3rd cruise in December 2012."

Sixnard: "If you can move it up to the next month or two, you can probably count on big savings."

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. If you were in the area, share your images and experiences or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Italy • Overheard on CNN.com • Travel • World
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    Worst case scenario??
    Compare it to how passengers from a different ship were treated upon their arrival in Italy: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/how-europe-welcomes-refugees/

    January 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ibivi

    This is a truly terrible event. The captain is an idiot and rightly deserves to be charged with manslaughter. Costa is not properly training their service crew if they didn't know what to do in case of emergency. Never jump into the water unless you absolutely have no other option.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Just Me

      Sorry for using your post ibivi but this seems to be the only way for me to post :) The captain made a very serious error and was an idiot for all that he did before, during and after the wreck. He caused so much damage, with the loss of life of so many (one is too many) and all the suffering he caused. That I can't disagree with. I believe he became overwhelmed at what was occurring and should have delegated some of his responsibilities to crew members (like "1st mate, send out a distress signal ") Then he went into SHOCK and was pretty much useless, he was in survival mode. You can see that in the transcript. He only went back to the ship after he was told by he port authority that the safety officer was on-board. So I do have some sympathy for the man because he is human and I sure would not have to have been in his shoes. For those of you so ready to hang the Captain please have your Oxytocin levels checked.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RUFFNUTT ( south Yemen prison GUARD )

    THIS IS JUST LIKE t1tanic all over again...

    January 16, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Just Me

      Sorry for using your post RUFFNUTT but this seems to be the only way for me to post :) The captain made a very serious error and was an idiot for all that he did before, during and after the wreck. He caused so much damage, with the loss of life of so many (one is too many) and all the suffering he caused. That I can't disagree with. I believe he became overwhelmed at what was occurring and should have delegated some of his responsibilities to crew members (like "1st mate, send out a distress signal ") Then he went into SHOCK and was pretty much useless, he was in survival mode. You can see that in the transcript. He only went back to the ship after he was told by he port authority that the safety officer was on-board. So I do have some sympathy for the man because he is human and I sure would not have to have been in his shoes. For those of you so ready to hang the Captain please have your Oxytocin levels checked.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rocco

    It is a shame that all those people that spent 10,000 US Dollars on a stateroom lost all their money. Well at least now they understand for the rest of us in reality who have lost all their money, homes, and jobs in the worst economic global recession in decades. Hopefully they could wash some of the shame off in the ice cold water out there.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • APersona

      Rocco, where did you get the idea that state rooms cost $10,000? Judging by your comments I think you have a misunderstanding of the demographics of the typical cruiser. Most are not wealthy. Cruise ship travel is actually an extremely economical way to see the world. Additionally, if the cruise shipping industry was no more, I would be out of work since I design interiors for cruise ships. The ship builders would be out of work. The crew members would be out of work. The entertainers would be out of work. Hundreds of thousands would be out of work. Instead of begrudging these vacationing individuals perhaps you should be happy for people who CAN travel, and be happy for those of us who are employed because of them. That being said, I'm sorry you are suffering, it sounds like you are, and I hope things get better for you.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Rocco.... get over to a cruise line and get yourself a job. There are buttonnes of opportunities for a young man at sea. And most of the women are very well endowed....

      January 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • bERT

      GET REAL. AND ITS PLAIN TO SEE YOU NEVER TOOK A CRUISE. $10,000 FOR A STATE ROOM...NOT EVEN CLOSE. MOST WERE ELDERLY FOLKS, PROBABLY SAVED ALL THEIR LIVES FOR THIS ONE LAST JOY.

      January 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mmmmm ♔♕

    ...prince phillip is that you?

    January 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Kandi

    Lol @ mmmm, he said king, he wasnt claiming to be a prince silly lmao!

    January 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Queen of the North

    Sadly in British Columbia, Canada a similar incident was played out on March 22, 2006. Several mistakes were made on the bridge of the Queen of the North which led to ship being almost 2 miles off course. The ship hit Gil Island and sunk within one hour. Two lives were lost. I was so saddened to hear of the Costa Concordia accident. My heart goes out to all of those who lost loved ones in this misadventure.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. bc

    People are focusing on the chaos and panic. Even if the passengers had attended the muster drill, they still would have panicked. When faced with such an emergency what do you expect? It was a terrifying situation. As for the crew not knowing what was happening, again this is to be expected. Most crew members do not carry radios. The crew had no idea what was happening. They did what they were trained to do. They were outnumbered 3:1. That so few lives were lost is a tribute to the crew in an extremely difficult situation.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. GabbyB

    Two items: 1) just looked at Costa Cruises website...not a word or a link for those who may be hunting information about the missing. 2) took a cruise last Nov to the eastern Meditarranean on another cruise line: great cruise; emergency assembly drill was orderly and helpful...for those who might listen; was on the bridge when we left a major port, and the captain and bridge crew performed admirably; AND they seemed to have up-to-date charts in their digital navigational aids...i.e.;, autopilot data base plus waypoints very clearly marked in safe places. As an old sailor, I gave my spouse a quick lifeboat drill, had both of us pre-adjust our life vests and return them to their containers, and pointed out over the first couple of days how to get out from various locations if the lights were out. I will go on that cruise line again. But...I wish more knew what I know, and I wish that there were more detailed lifeboat drills onboard, to include at least a walk from the assembly point to the actual lifeboats. Still, everything works on paper...but nothing gets through first contact without some change!

    January 17, 2012 at 3:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. ESB

    If passengers could use their cell phones on a ship, there probably wouldn't be 29 people missing. Also, the cruise industry charges a large fee for internet connection. They don't want passengers having access to communication while on the ship. So, 4000 people are essentially depending on the ability of one person (the captain) and there is no way for the passengers to contact anyone outside of the ship.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • thinksome1

      ESB, you're right, cell phones can save the world. I feel so much safer when I see you driving down the interstate with one hand on the wheel and the other holding the cell phone up to your ear. I know the importance of your calls, practically a matter of life and death.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tare

    Two things about this Captain come to mind: If this drive-by was a common occurrence, as natives claim, then this captain obviously didn't account for the tides!! Second, in a ship this large, a lot of other officers were involved also. Someone has to steer, monitor radar, plot course... The Captain doesn't do everything by himself, like someone in a 30 ft pleasure boat would.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. MarcoPolo

    I am a frequent cruiser. There are so many shipwide announcements about shore escursions and other moneymaking (for the cruise line) announcements to the point of annoyance. You would think that this Captain Colmaity wouldve have the sense to make a ship wide announcement directing prople as what to do. Unbelivable that this idiot would do a "driveby" to say hello.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Tracey

    Cruising is safe. This was strictly human error, or more like human stupidity.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Thor

    After 20 years in the US Navy submarine fleet, and knowing how frail civilian ships' maintenance programs are, I am having an easy time telling my wife that I will never be going on a cruise ship ..... ever.

    January 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • thinksome1

      Sailor, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over? I personally joined the Navy to ride the Waves. Then, when I got down in the people tank, I noticed it was all boys. Now them cruise ships got lots of girls aboard, and they don't even submerge(normally). Last cruise I went on was a dream, and all the safety gear was in place. I think you would enjoy it.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Frank P.

    I have been on 13 cruises and this incident will not stop me from going on a 14th. It is quite obvious that stupidity played a major role in this disaster. For those of you who have never been on a cruise now is a great opportunity to go on one at deep discounted prices. The cruise industry will be suffering in 2012 because of this and they will be slashing prices to get people back. Take advantage and go have a great time!!

    January 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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