Most passengers and crew were evacuated, even though the lifeboats weren't launched in a timely matter with new evidence suggesting that the crew may have even begun to prepare the lifeboats without the Captain's permission. Several are still missing and at least 6 are dead. Captain Schettino is in custody, and apprers to be bearing the brunt of the blame, with good reason. His actions of bringing the ship close to the island in order to "salute" a former boss resulted in hitting the rock, and his inaction in evacuating the passengers and crew in a more timely and organized manner probably resulted in multiple deaths. That the Captain left the ship before the evacuation had been completed further weakens his defence and credibility.
What will this mean for Costa and the cruise industry in general? An admittedly unscientific poll on foxnews suggests that 30 percent of Americans have been turned off to cruising, due to this incident. Since it happened over the weekend and involved an Italian cruise line rather than an American one, it probably did not receive as much publicity and air play as it could have. I know personally, that I tuned into Headline News all day on Saturday, and only saw fleeting reports, with more emphasis being put on Republican debates than this accident. So, a large segment of Americans may never even come across this story. Veteran cruisers will likely not be deterred from cruising since they already enjoy cruising and have a better understanding of cruise ship safety than a novice. I think that this incident will be more likely to affect future new cruisers, and I believe that it is more likely to be a knee-jerk reaction that makes little sense. "Oh, I heard about that accident; I don't think I'll be booking a cruise anytime soon." I do believe that this reaction will be short-lived, and that as people continue to look for an excellent vacation value, cruising will continue to prove itself as a great choice. In the meantime, I will continue to extol the virtues of cruising as a wonderful travel opportunity, and will continue to provide as much information as I can to help cruisers do their research and have a great vacation.