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Sitting here in the Hilton Garden Inn, Rome Airport waiting for passports and a flight home. We have nothing just the clothes on our back, ( evening wear with a hurried coat thrown over the back, my 12 year old is dressed in a short halter neck dress with a windcheater and the temps here are very cold but we have been given nothing else by Costa our embassy have given us cash and are taking us shopping for essentials. Costa have put us up in this hotel but told us nothign and given us no further help than that. They left the hotel yesterday afternoon abandoning us here alone dazed bruised and confused.
After the ship Hit it listed people rang and panicked we were told to go to our rooms, glad ours was the 6th deck and not below. The announcements were that we had electrical porblems everything was under control, the english was announced by our international host. We were told this twice. and then by the staff numerous times, I think they believed it as well. We could not go into our cabin as our welcome spumante and glasses was shattered all over the floor and there were no lights, we could see the island was close from the balcony window so did not panic thinking everything would be okay. Cabin staff told us not to get our life jackets it was not neccesary we sat on stools and the floor joking with them, this went on for what seemed like an hour, the boat struck just after 9pm I think. Then a message came over the speakers all of the staff left immediately.
We were left alone as the abandon ship sirens screamed, we grabbed a coat and shoes in place of high heels our life vests, put them on and headed for the lifeboats. We stood on the deck for ages before the cabin staff told us to enter the lifeboats. We got into the boats we had a waiter in the drivers seat and some boys in white overalls, the lifeboat filled to capacity and they shut the door, people screamed the door was purshed open and people continued to enter the boat overflowing it the waiter in the drivers seat trying repatedly to get an answer form the bridge to drop the lifeboat. I dont believe that message ever came eventually an Indian engineer came who said he should be the driver the gate was sealed and they started to drop the boat, it was horryfying the boat was too heavy it lurched all of as standing were thrown to the floor the boat stuck on the side of the ship with men desperatly trying to lever it off the side of the boat.
Eneutally we got to the sea the waiter was too short to see out the top of the boat to steer they circled around the boat for ages and ages, eventually the engineer steered with the waiter on his shoulders we just kept circling with the shore so close and all those people still on the boat and we kept circling. Lifeboats crashed into each other they were empty but they were not going back to the boat they had no orders no instructions. Eventually we tried to dock but crashed into the wharf circled a bit more and docked.
We got of the ship dazed and confused trying to find a toilet for my 12 year old, a shopkeeper let people use his a long line for one toilet. The locals on the island gave us everything they had souvenier tshirts tops blankets. We were herded to the school, some to the church, here we sat on cold floors on our life vests this was about midnight when we got there. No one spoke English everyone was talking and we had no idea where we were or what was happening the staff were the waiters etc and no time did we see an officer. I saw the International english speaking host and asked him what was happening he said he had no idea and was as dazed and confused as me, I told him where we were and to come back and tell us, he never came back, from time to time we ventured out of the school to look and see what was happening as the ship submerged on its side where our cabin was. Eventually a lady in a shop or meeting place of some kind spoke english, she told me there was a queue for the ferry to the mainland. We joined the queue, and gave our names ( the first time) and got on the next ferry.
1 hour later we arrived on the mainland, we were given warmer blankets and pushed towards a tent we went through and had our names taken again we were then pushed through to a bus and taken to a school and told to stand in a corner for the port where we embarked, there were not enough chairs. We sat there for three or four hours we were then called to a bus, but when we got there we were told this bus was only for people who had cars at Civitivecchia, we had to wait for the airport bus.
We were then bussed to the Hilton Garden Inn and given a room, we were still told nothing given nothing by Costa, constantly I asked them and was always told to wait while they spoke to people in more common languages, Costa have done nothing but give us the room.
COSTA CONCORDIA - 5 hours Friday 13th January 2012
Costa Serena - 27th December 2011
Costa Europa - 7th May 2007
Princess Tahiti - 2009
So glad that you are safe Michelle - hope you can get home real soon
I have sailed on SS Oriana , SS Canberra, MV Sea Princess, Stella Oceanus, MV Pacific Princess, MV Island Princess, MV Royal Princess, TSS Fairstar, Southern Cross, Fair Princess, Pacific Sky, Regal Princess, Arcadia, Dawn Princess, Celebrity Century , Voyager of the Seas , Celebrity Solstice, Mariner of the Seas, Sea Princess and hopefully many more to come...
Thanks for sharing your story. I know it isn't over yet. You are the first person onboard I have seen post so far. As a former crew member of another line I can't believe the lack of professionalism and leadership the officers of the ship clearly didn't give. Get home safe and we all look forward to hearing more as the days go on.
Am glad to hear that you are all alright in what must have been terrible circumstances.
It doesn't surprise me to hear that the cruise line have handled this whole situation badly, I'm really surprised that even with so many ships in their fleet Costa would be poor at dealing with evacuation procedures.
Hope you do have a safe journey home, and that you can get over the shock of your ordeal.
I imagine over the coming weeks we're going to find out more about exactly what happened, and if negligence is the cause, then Costa could be looking at major penalties.
MV Bolero - Iberian Cruise - November 1999
RCCL Legend of the Seas - Canaries Cruise - October 2006
RCCL Independence of the Seas - West Med Cruise - August 2008
P&O Ventura - Baltics and St. Petersburg - May 2009
RCCL Majesty of Seas - Cococay/Nassau - November 2009
P&O Ventura - Iberia Cruise - April 2013
Michelle, I can only imagine the terror of the ordeal. We give thanks that you and your family are safe and also that you experienced the kindness of strangers in that the locals gave whatever they had to help.
We continue to pray for those still unaccounted for and for those that lost their lives
1982 - 2000 (19 cruises)
NCL, Carnival, Commodore, Homelines, Renaissance, RCL
Pacific Princess 2001 -Bermuda
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Sapphire Princess 2011 - Hawaii Christmas Cruise
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Celebrity Infinity October 2014 - Europe
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Royal Princess April 2015 - Caribbean Cruise
Thank you for the report...glad you are safe.....get yourselves home. Keep track of all your expenses including airfare because you surely will be filing a claim with Costa and/or your insurance companies (travel and homeowners).
Someone needs to start a thread here (on cruise critic) so that all involved in this "event" have a central point for information and for assuring that the issue stays alive on CruiseCritic until Costa provides everyone with the compensation and covers expenses to the point where you are all ok. CruiseCritic is a very powerful force, especially when it is giving accurate, but bad publicity to a cruise line. Don't rely on Costa to do the right thing without pressure....use cruisecritic.
Thanks so much for sharing your story Michelle..prayers are with you and all getting home safe..I hope you can eat and get some provisional clothes soon and all meds etc. you need soon, and so hope you can get some needed rest at hotel, with so much adrenalin running after such an ordeal..Sarah
Last edited by sjn911; January 15th, 2012 at 12:40 AM.
Thank you for taking the time to write these critical details I know everyone was waiting for. May the very best things happen soon for you and your family and you get home safe and sound. We are all in this with you. Know you are in a very large embrace right now.
Thank you for your post -- Thank God that you are ok safe now.
Larry and Anne Wachler
USNS, GEIGER – 1958, 10 DAY TRANS ATLANTIC, NY TO BREMERHAVEN.
SAILING VESSEL, AUDACIOUS - 1976, 23 DAY LAHINA MAUI TO NEWPORT BEACH CA.
HAL, NOORDAM – 1985, 8 DAY SAN FRANCISCO TO ACAPULCO.
CELEBRITY, MERCURY – 2001, 10 DAY HONOLULU TO ENSENADA.
DIAMOND PRINCESS – 2009, 12 DAY SYDNEY TO AUCKLAND.
CELEBRITY, EQUINOX – 2010, 15 DAY TRANS ATLANTIC, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN, ROME TO FT. LAUDERDALE.
CARIBBEAN PRINCESS - 2013, 12 DAY BRITISH ISLES, SOUTHAMPTON ROUND TRIP.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN, BRILLIANCE OF THE SEA - 2013, 12 DAY TRANS ATLANTIC, UK, FRANCE, UK, IRLAND, FAROE ISLANDS, ICELAND. HARWICH TO BOSTON.