Firstly I should like to say how very sorry I am to learn of the fatalities on board ship. I hope Costa help and support their families.
We were so enjoying our cruise and the places visited. Our cabin was on Deck 5 in the middle of the ship (inside cabin)
On the morning in question we were woken up at 4am after hearing 2 very loud noises we both shot out of bed and realized the ship was beginning to tilt.
The air con was not working and we heard shouting from some where on the ship. Every one looked out of there cabins wondering what was happening. We thought we were still at sea at that moment as we were supposed to dock at 6am (after leaving Safaga again I gather 1 hour early.)
We all waited for an announcement to be made - but nothing. (I now realise the crew had more important sad things to deal with)
We waited and waited - it was getting very warm as there was still no aircon. I looked out of the cabin and saw some of the ceiling lights going out further down the corridor.
My friend and I chose to get dressed and dithered should we go up on deck or wait for an announcement re the life jackets or should we take them up with us - but chose not to take life jackets as we didn’t want to create panic.
Any how we chose to venture up. I’d like to thank a Swedish gentleman at this point if he reads this forum - he took my hand and helped me thru the doors on to the deck - I felt safe at that moment! Thank you - and he was rather nice! Oh dear I digress!
There was a strong smell of fuel not sure if diesel or petrol but any how defo fuel and the crew were sat on the stairs wearing their like jackets - some were very distressed. At that time we didn’t know why.
On deck as I remember the deck floor was dry but weather very windy - but that’s nothing new at sea - and having crossed the Atlantic in Nov/Dec 4 months ago in force 11. It did not appear to be bad weather to me. I always wake up if the weather is bad but only the noise woke me.
We were so relieved to see we had docked - felt safe. - Even though the ship began to list in the opposite direction dramatically. We didn’t know why - but of course we do know now
At 5am an announcement was made in German, Italian, French and then English etc
We were told words such as the situation is being assessed and to go back to our cabins and “return to your normal activities"
We went back to our cabin - still strong fuel smell - one German guy took a cigarette out and was about to light it! He got short shrift from me!
We were still very worried because the ship was tilting so badly and things were falling off the table etc in the cabin. We chatted to other people wondering what to do. Then eventually at about 6am another announcement told us to pack our cases as quickly as poss. - leave them and queue up in the corridors to evacuate the ship. I could not even pull my cabin door closed - it was too heavy and tilting the wrong way.
We stood in the corridors for almost 1 and half hours trying to get off - no air a few of the lower staff were trying to get people out in wheel chairs and stretchers. I found this the scary time - the corridors are quite narrow - no natural light and so hot the queue hardly moved - but eventually we did come to the stair section - but of course every one was trying to get out - and we were all coming from different directions and it was just a bottle neck.
Some passengers insisted on bringing their big cases and arguments broke out - I did not like the human nature/behaviour of some passengers. Had we been in a situation out at sea some of the passengers would not have followed any procedure to form lines for life boats etc. Talking of life boats a couple of the passengers watched the staff life boat drill - one boat when they eventually got it down had a faulty engine one boat almost came down on top of another - I stress I did not see this but 2 sensible people told me this -
We eventually managed to get off the ship - and to breath fresh air was wonderful - it was then we heard of the fatalities - We felt so very very sad and if any one reading this knows of the friends of those people please say that so many of us really appreciated all the hard work they do and had done for us all.
We eventually arrived at a lovely hotel in Sharks Bay at Sharm - after waiting and waiting still not knowing where, what, why etc
Again only young Costa staff doing their best
We were told nothing, at no point did we see or hear from any officer - I felt the young inexperienced crew had to deal with us all - some people and I will not name the nationalities but their behaviour was a disgrace. To the point of a young lad who was at the hotel asking us all “where do you need to fly to get home.”
Two and I will say at this stage Germans were so rude to this poor Costa rep because they hadn’t bothered to queue up with the rest of us. They accused him of having nothing to do with Costa
The poor lad became so upset and shouted “I am a Costa man and I have lost my friends they are dead” These silly Germans still did not understand even then (they spoke good English) how rude they were and had been.
We were eventually put on a plane and arrived back at Gatwick at about 10 .30pm yesterday 28 Feb.
We were met by Costa reps and we stayed at the Hilton. But that is all they do - yes they get us back to the UK but offer no help beyond that. We were tired, had qued for hours over the two days and it is stressful as well as dealing with heavy cases.
We are of course so lucky to be alive unlike the poor people who perished -
My personal quick thoughts are
Costa does not have any people in authority to deal with the public when things go wrong.
Those young inexperienced people who dealt with us deserve medals and pay rises matching the officers.
We did not see or hear from any officer during this incident
I feel the weather was not that bad and surely you slow down when approaching a harbour?
I have heard no pilot was on board ship
I am home now thank God but still feel weepy -
Take care and God Bless