Cruise agents believe Costa Cruises may have to rebrand to rid itself of the stigma of the Concordia sinking, with the line hitting the headlines again this week when a fire started on another Costa ship.
The Costa Allegra, which had 636 guests including 31 Brits on board, was 260 miles from land in the Indian Ocean when a blaze broke out in a generator room on Monday morning.
This second recent incident involving a Costa ship – coming just seven weeks after the Concordia tragedy – added to the negative publicity heaped on the Italian operator.
A further eight bodies were found in the Concordia wreck last week, taking the death toll to 25.
Reports in Italy said Costa Cruises’ president, Pier Luigi Foschi, is considering rebranding the line.
Phil Nuttall, director of Cruise Village, said this might be a good move. He said: “There is nothing wrong with the Costa fleet or the people who run it,” he said. “To have two incidents so close is not bad management, it’s bad luck. They may have to look at rebranding. It’s like everything in travel: out of sight out of mind. The problem for Costa is there are so many different brands out there; there is plenty of choice.”
Nuttall said he feared the fire on Allegra, which meant the ship had to be towed to the Seychelles, would compound the damage done to the new-to-cruise market by the Concordia disaster.
Sukie Rapal, marketing director of Cruise.co.uk, said the impact of the latest incident would affect Costa, and agreed a rebrand might now be inevitable. “I thought the Costa name might have been able to survive after the last incident but now there’s been another one how are they going to overcome that?”
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