January 25, 2012
Did Carnival offer survivors of the Concordia shipwreck in Italy a discount on their next cruise? As The Miami Herald reported yesterday, it’s unclear whether the offer was really made, but Carnival and its subsidiary Costa Cruises nonetheless faced outrage as word spread that the Italian cruise line had offered survivors of the deadly Concordia capsizing 30 percent off their next voyage with the company.
Costa refuted the story and then retracted the denial, the Herald reported. Word of the discount is the latest flashpoint in a communications response that has both Costa and Carnival under fire from critics and consumers. Tuesday reportedly marked the eleventh day of silence from Carnival CEO Micky Arison, who has left Costa executives to face the media since the Jan. 13 shipwreck off the western coast of Italy. Carnival reportedly treats its cruise lines as independent businesses, but critics say Arison is dodging the spotlight over an accident that killed at least 15 people and is shaking confidence in the entire cruising industry.
“Micky Arison should come out, and take ownership, and get in front of the story,” said Julie Silver Talenfeld, president of the Florida PR firm Boardroom Communications. But, as the Herald reported, interviews are risky, with lawyers hoping to sue Carnival in the United States and eager to connect the company’s headquarters to any mistakes made with the Concordia. — Greg Beaubien