Monday, January 23, 2012

Erroneous Reporting about Future Discounts for Costa Concordia Passengers

Updated January 24, 2012 below:

It's being widely reported that Costa Cruises has offered a 30% discount on a future cruise, to passengers who were aboard Costa Concordia at the time of the accident. This is absolutely NOT TRUE.

These news stories are mostly the result of bad journalism. The people writing these reports are taking the information from other reports, and reporting it as fact without verifying the information with Costa.

The original report probably came from a misunderstanding of information Costa sent to travel agents last week. It was regarding customers they had who were booked on future sailings of Costa Concordia, which obviously won't be sailing. One of the things being offered to them was a 30% discount on a future sailing. Along with a full refund, of what they had paid for their sailing on Concordia, that type of offer is normal in the cruise industry.

Early last week, before a policy had even been established for future passengers, Costa released information about what they were providing to passengers who were aboard the ship at the time of the accident. That included refunding the full cost of the cruise, any expenses incurred on board the ship (remember some passenger had been on the ship as long as six days at that point), and transportation costs to the ship and return home. Passengers will also be reimbursed any medical expenses as a result of the accident.

Passengers will also be contacted in the very near future to discuss compensation for belongings left onboard. Contents of safes will be returned as soon as the safes can be recovered.


Update January 24, 2012:

Costa Crociere issued the following press release:

Costa Cruises: Clarifications on discounts and promotional offers

Jan 24, 2012 - With reference to news reports on discounts and promotional offers, Costa Cruises feels bound to point out that the company has never offered any discount on future cruises to guests who were on board the Costa Concordia for the cruise of January 13th and involved in the tragic accident. The information published by a newspaper and reported in various news outlets is totally unfounded, as is confirmed by the English passenger who was quoted by the newspaper.

Costa Cruises reiterates that after the tragic accident the company’s priority has always been to provide the maximum possible assistance and solace to the people involved. From the outset the company has been fully aware of and saddened by the suffering and hardship endured by guests and crew members and has acted with this firmly borne in mind.

On a joint basis with rescue teams, the Company worked to provide evacuated passengers and crew members with all the necessary assistance to ensure they were able to return home. Subsequently it contacted guests by telephone, after they had returned home, to check on their physical and emotional wellbeing, and to confirm that they will receive a refund for the cruise and all material expenses relating to it.

As already announced, the company welcomes discussion with its guests and all consumer protection associations to determine indemnity for the hardship endured, with the support of tourism sector trade associations with which it has been in contact for days.

Driven by its sense of ethics and the values of fairness and responsibility which guide it, the Company has also given all customers with bookings for future Costa cruises the possibility, if feeling afraid, to cancel their cruise booking by giving notice no later than February 7th. All travel agents who work with the Company were informed of this days ago.

Costa Cruises would also like to clarify that starting on the day after the accident, all advertising initiatives planned were cancelled out of respect for those affected by this tragedy. The Company was unable to stop only one postal promotion which had already been sent to some customers at the end of December.

Costa Cruises is incredulous at the disgraceful and unfounded assertions made about the Company without any form of verification.