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Costa Concordia Sister Ship Launches

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Last month, after a period of rough seas (sorry) following the Costa Concordia disaster, Costa Cruises (CCL) saw a 25% annual rise in bookings. Quoted in Reuters, managing director Gianni Onorato said, “The rise is an important sign.”

That sounds about right. The director has also confirmed that, following the disaster, bookings fell between 50% and 60%. While the current rebound is an undoubtedly positive sign, Onorato also told reporters that he understood it was at least partially due to price reductions.

Meanwhile, perhaps to celebrate -- or tempt fate -- Costa Cruises has announced the launch of its biggest cruise ship ever: the Costa Fascinosa. The ship, a sister to Concordia, will hold 3,800 passengers and sets out on its first voyage Friday.

The new ship, which cost $665 million, features advanced new safety features like real time route tracking, the Global Post reports. On top of that, passengers are required to undergo new, much more rigorous safety training before embarking on their cruise.

New safety regulations include a requirement that uniformed officers be present during passenger instruction. Instruction will take place in English and five other languages. This will, according to the company, “ensure the training has proper solemnity.”

Along with the new ship and positive booking numbers, Costa Cruises announced that the black box from the Concordia disaster will probably be released in court this summer. Captain Schettino remains under house arrest.

In spite of all this good news, Costa Cruise Lines may not be out of the woods quite yet. According to the BBC, at least one ship employee has so far found her compensation package to be inadequate.

Dancer Rose Metcalf has called the company’s offer of 6,000 euros “insulting” and has joined a US class action suit against Carnival Cruise Lines. Metcalf claims that she was left penniless after the disaster, and that the package does not even cover the cost of her equipment. The suit currently requests $160,000 per person.
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