Having recently returned from a cruise I can appreciate the panic which unfolded when the 'Costa Concordia' struck a reef last week. Cruise ships are enormous, like floating cities and are simply crammed with people. The 'Costa Concordia' for instance had more than 3,000 passengers and a crew of more than 1,000. The relaxed on-board life of these people was literally 'turned upside down' when the collision occured. Floors became walls and walls became floors as the ship tilted over on its side and with lights going out and water pouring in, it must have been a nightmare.
It is however somewhat consoling that the vast majority of crew and passengers were rescued. That I suppose is what separates a sea disaster from an air disaster. Nevertheless I wonder how some means of launching lifeboats from a listing ship has not been perfected since the 'Titanic' sank a century ago.
Hopefully the tragic accident will not unduly impact on the cruise business which has become an important element in Irish tourism. Accidents such as this are rare occurances and cruising remains one of the most enjoyable and safest vacations.