Update, 1/25, 12:05 p.m.: A statement from Costa Cruises denies the Telegraph’s report:
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.
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.
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.
Update, 1/24, 12:10 p.m.: Though details are still murky, the Miami Herald is now reporting that the discount may actually be going to other passengers who were booked on future Costa Concordia cruises that are now canceled.
After experiencing such a traumatic wreck, it’s probably safe to assume that the first thing on Costa Concordia survivors’ minds isn’t to immediately sign up for another cruise. But if passengers are looking to set sail again, they’ll get a discount.
It doesn’t exactly sound like a great offer, but it’s what Carnival’s Costa Cruises has reportedly extended anyway. “The company is not only going to refund everybody but they will offer a 30% discount on future cruises if they want to stay loyal to the company,” a Costa Cruises spokesperson told the Telegraph this past weekend.
The discount is part of what the cruise company is doing for passengers in the disaster’s aftermath, including calling survivors “asking if they are suffering nightmares or sleepless nights,” according to the report.
Costa Concordia passengers are already filing class-action lawsuits, which could presumably net the thousands of survivors a bit more than coupons. A Miami-based filing is asking for $160,000 per passenger.
On January 18th, Costa Cruises website relayed that the company had been contacting guests so that they could “receive a refund for the cruise and all material expenses relating to it.” The statement also said that the company “is in contact with its guests and all consumer protection associations to determine indemnity for the hardship endured, with the support of the tour operator association of each country.”
On Monday, Italian officials upped the death toll from the disaster to 15 people, with at least 17 still missing from the 4,200 passengers on board. A press release issued by Costa Cruises on January 15 said that “there may have been significant human error on the part of the ship’s Master, Captain Francesco Schettino.”