I've been watching this unfold all day. If you recall this is the same ship we sailed on our Med. Cruise about 4 years ago from Civitavechia. The Concordia is a beautiful ship, and is a sistership to the Carnival Conquest class vessels. I actually liked the ship very much and loved the ports we visited. Other aspects of the cruise not so much... and of course had some mini debates with Paul Motter for a while on the Costa forum.
This unfortunate turn of events have brought memories flooding back to my mind.
A couple of odd circumstances... I forgot the name of the Captain on our cruise, but I do recall waking up at noon in Ciampino, Italy totally flabbergasted that we had overslept by more than 4 hours due to jetlag. Arriving at the train station in Ciampino only to find the next train to Rome wasn't until 2:00 p.m. and realizing we might miss the ship if we waited for that train. A man I was talking to in the train station happened to be a cab driver offered to take us to Termini (the huge train station in Rome) for 50 Euro, so we arrived about 30-40 minutes later as he showed us the aqueducts and other historic landmarks that I don't recall now. He dropped us off at Termini and gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. I was so grateful for his help... I entered Termini and was totally overwhelmed by it's enormity, and I had to admit I had no idea which way to go to buy our tickets and I knew we were running out of time. Then there was a man who looked to be a vagrant/street person, and he asked me if he could assist me... I explained I needed tickets to Civitavechia and was running close on time... he instructed us to follow him... we probably walked the equivalent of at least 2 city blocks and we stopped at a long line leading up to a ticket booth.... BTW the paranoid fear this man was a pickpocket or a mugger was starting to subside... eventually we got to the ticket window where the gentleman acted as our interpreter and he obtained our tickets for us. I was admonished by him to run as fast as possible because our train was on the other end of Termini and leaving in 5 minutes. I handed him 10 Euro, and ran as fast as I could with kids and luggage in tow and as we arrived they were getting ready to close the doors and they loaded us and our bags up and we were on our way. a while later we arrived in the port city of Civitavechia and walked from the train station to the ship as a local gentleman hauled our suitcases on a dolly for 10 Euro... a bargain after our sprint through Termini lol... imagine our dismay when we arrived only to find out that our departure would be delayed until later that night because the Concordia had an accident the previous day in Palermo, Sicily that left a huge gash in her side and they were trying to do some repairs before we headed on to Genoa.
Anyhow I am so saddened by this latest tragedy. As I said I love the ship, I love the people I met there and it didn't surprise me at all when I heard these people opened their homes to the stranded passengers and some probably helped fish people out of the sea. But I somehow wonder how something this horrendous could happen. I also find it fascinating that the Captain and first officer are under arrest for abandoning ship, and how all this could have gone so wrong, so close to land...
I pray for those who were lost and those who were injured... and their families.