|Photo courtesy of the Indian Navy|
Costa Cruises (www.costacruises.com) confirmed that its stricken Costa Allegra, damaged in an engine room fire earlier this week, has been successfully towed by a French fishing trawler to Port Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles.
The line said the ship had arrived and passsengers were disembarking. The Seychelles Red Cross was at the pier to offer assistance to any passengers needing medical help. Some embassy or consular representatives were also there to meet citizens from their countries.
Interesting, more than half of the guests weren't headed home as yet. They took Costa up on its free offer of a hotel or resort vacation in the Seychelles.
A Costa Care team met with Costa Allegra guests on the ship yesterday, and the line said 376 of 627 guests accepted the line's proposal to continue their vacation on land — 241 decided to stay for two weeks while 135 will stay for one week.
Costa will foot the bill for the guests' stay at high-quality hotels and resorts on the islands of Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette and Cerfs. The line will also handle arrangements for flights at the end of the guests' vacations.
The line said 251 other guests want to go home, and Costa has arranged flights for them today.
It's interesting that so many guests - more than half those onboard - are continuing their vacation. One possible reason? Costa Allegra is an older ship sailing an exotic itinerary, so it's more likely to have experienced, frequent travelers onboard - people more likely equipped to handle unexpected travel difficulties.
And, because the cruise was a month-long voyage, many guests likely took their vacation time and can't turn it back in, so a one- or two-week resort Seychelles stay could help guests salvage at least a part of their vacation in a warm climate.
Sailing through Rough Waters
What will Costa's next move will be? It's currently surveying damage to the ship to assess what repairs are needed and try to minimize the ship's time out of service.
The ship's next cruise on March 17 has been cancelled, but if the ship is out of service for more cruises, financially the line will take a hit.
Perhaps, though, the biggest question is what happens when any cruise line has had a serious accident with loss of life (Costa Concordia on Jan. 13) and six weeks later has a fire onboard another ship?
How does the line recover its brand popularity and its reputation? How can it reassure the public?
Associated Press did a story today that discusses those issues, and here is the link to that article in the News Republic: http://us.news-republic.com/Web/ArticleWeb.aspx?regionid=1&articleid=2205431.
Stay tuned to www.travelagentcentral.com for future updates.