My experience of the tragic accident on Costa Europa at Sharm

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34 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
My experience of the tragic accident on Costa Europa at Sharm
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
1,114 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Thank you for posting this. I'm so sorry you went through this. I am glad to hear that you are home safe and sound!
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Joined Oct 2007

Thank you for taking the time in supplying the very first hand account from a passenger as to what happened, especially as it much have been a very tiring time.

Glad you and your family made it home safely.

PS. Why not name the nationalities!
3,985 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Welcome home Summersday & thank you for the insight of your experience on Europa. It was a shock to everyone, moreso for you & the other passengers.

Sadly at times like that you will always see the not so nice side of human nature, I spose it is inevitable in many ways...not that it is excusable cos it certainly is not.

Sounds like the cruise had been really great til the accident, such a tragic way to end what was a happy time on board.
34 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
I usually get told off when I go on about the Germans French and Italians!!!!
For some reason I now have a soft spot for the Swedish!!!!!!!! - thanks you've made me laugh!
Although there was one English lady who claimed to be an Egyptologist - who was an absolute pain - I told her to queue up - but she ignored me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh well can't win 'um all!
Take care

PS - Correction to my first post - I flew home Saturday 27th NOT 28th
412 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
So glad you are home safely. It is enlightening to read a first hand account, some threads on this topic have gotten quite heated! Hope the experience won't put you off planning anither cruise either?
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34 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Thanks for all your replies
I have just re-read my post - I have so many spelling mistakes in it - sorry
My mind moves quicker than my fingers can type!

Not sure about any future cruises - I'm stuck in the corridor at the moment - but I am sure it will pass and I do love travelling - I take pills to get on a plane - so perhaps I'll have to take them to get on the ships now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Take care
Washington State
1,839 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. As much as we love cruising, there is always the remote fear of something awful happening. When a tragedy like this does occur, it does bring home how frail things can be. I am glad you got home safely, but it must have been very scary at times. I'm not sure I would have coped as well as you did! Take care!
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East Northport, NY
222 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Summersday, thank you for your post. I think after awhile your tears will stop. This was a terrible experience for you. You made it off safe and still kept your compose. Some people will never do what they are told even if it for their own safety. You did great. I will remember your post. Good luck to you. Maureen
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Montreal (QC) Canada
83 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Thank you, summersday, for relating your experience on that tragic day.
I heard that 3 crew members died in that accident, and another one later on - from his wounds. Our deepest sympathy goes to the afflicted families.

I appreciated highly reading your message, which appears to me very reliable, and unbiased.
I travelled once with Costa in the Red Sea, and the Golf of Aden, and experienced - like you - a lack of communication from the officers, probably to avoid panic, I supposed.

I would like to ask you a question because I was very surprised and sceptical when I read on another forum about that accident. I read from a person (who I found is working somehow with Costa according to her profile) that the communication on board was transparent (??) The passengers were told that your cruise was being 100% reimbursed + a 50% reduction on your next cruise. I wander if it is true?
Thank you very much for your insight.
34 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Cruise critic news has info re reimbursement.

If we are offered a full refund and 50% of another cruise I am wondering 50% of what - is it 50% of a cruise with no flights included - if so then it’s not much.
From my point of view a full refund is in order but the effect the whole situation is having on me since the accident has surprised me. At the time adrenalin takes over there are times when you feel scared but you have people around you.
Afterwards 2 days of queuing for busses, hotel, hotel rooms, and flight information with hardly any sleep compounds the situation. Flying home to Gatwick was a problem as my travel arrangements were from and to Heathrow. We were put up at the Hilton at Gatwick but it was 2am before we got to bed because we had to queue yet again to sort out onward travel. There was only 1 computer which could be used. 3 or 4 Costa staff standing around with clip boards - I asked do you have a lap top we could use to speed things up - but they weren’t interested.
Again I know people were killed and I am soooooooooooooooo sorry about that - and I am safe and alive
Costa is a large company - in fact the day the accident happened we turned the TV on at the hotel to find an interview with the Chairman and Chief Executive of Costa showing off their new ship. I thought it in bad taste - it could easily have been pulled and not shown at that time.
I shall be expecting a full refund and further payment - I hope to cruise again but not for a while I can’t get the horrid feeling of being stuck in the corridor all that time.

Any how today the case will be unpacked and the washing done - so it will be a taste of normality for me which will help

PS If an officer had spoken to us I feel it would have lessoned the panic or fear - we need to know some one is in charge.
A good example of this was at the hotel in Sharm again we didn’t know which buses we had to use and people were trying to get on to the wrong bus but a very credible Egyptian porter took control and told every one what to do. He had stature and command.
Take care
I live in Sydney, Australia
1,694 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
To be fair to Costa I'm sure what was on TV didn't even enter their heads with so much else to deal with. But thank you for posting your experience of what was such an awful situation. It must've been very hard on the creww too.
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Montreal (QC) Canada
83 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Dear summersday,
The lack of communication from the officers is exactly what we deplore the most from this company (and some others) when incidents or even worse accidents do occur, and I see that we are not alone to feel so helpless, and at their mercy.
What was the name of the Captain on that particular ship?
Take care, and thank you again.
34 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
No sorry I have chucked the ships daily paper which had his name printed on it.
He was a very short thin guy with black hair - infact in the photos all the passengers were taller than him!
As far as looks go I can't believe he was in charge of the boat.
Take care
South Jersey, NJ
797 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Thanks for your posts, summerday. Glad to hear that you arrived home safely.

I'm sad about the news of the tragedy, since my very first cruise was on a Costa ship. My prayers are with the passengers and crew.

Montreal (QC) Canada
83 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Thank you, C.
I was wandering if it was the same Captain as the one we had last year on the Costa Europa (total lack of communication, but superb itinerary). I can see it is not.
There are many discussions going on on another Forum ( but it is in French only. May be you can read French or there is always a possibility of electronic translation with google or yahoo! Babel... If you are interested, I can give you the exact address of those discussions.
Montreal (QC) Canada
83 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by summersday
No sorry I have chucked the ships daily paper which had his name printed on it...............C
I found his name: Giancarlo Cha....
Another deadly accident arrived today on the Louis Majesty: 2 passengers died, and 6 were wounded in the Mediterranean Sea in Spain (a huge wave broke the front ship windows. It is not easy to travel safely lately...
Many thanks! M