Cruise and Liner History: Is Micky Arison of Carnival Crop – the Costa Concordia owner – the new Sir “Titanic” Bruce Ismay?

"Showboating" Italian Style...

Passengers blame Micky Arison and Carnival Corporation for Costa Concordia wreck…

(Left: Arison watching the Costa from Miami – refused to head for Italy and meet stricken passengers.) In an unexplained absence from the scene of the stricken cruise ship, Costa Concordia, off the coast of Italy, Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corp (NYSE:CCL), is managing the fallout of the accident from Miami.

(Sir Bruce Ismay – owned the Titanic and left the stricken ship like the Concrodia “showboating” captain.  Ismay has been described as one of history’s greatest cowards.) Arison has engaged communications consultants Burson-Masteller in an effort to allay concerns about the safety about the company’s ships, particularly in the middle of the peak cruise bookings season. “Whenever there are fatalities and serious injuries, it’s important for the most senior leadership to be visible,” said Peter Hirsch, director of reputation risk at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, without specifically commenting on Carnival. “Some visibility is certainly a good thing.”

Capsizing: Panicked passengers wearing life-jackets assemble to escape from the ship after it ran on to rocks.

The accident is reportedly the cause of human error, and may be due to a diversion the captain made from the computerized course, to show the tourists the nearby Tuscan island of Giglio. The captain is currently in criminal custody, and the press is being faced by Pier Luigi Foschi, CEO of the Costa unit.

Foschi has held two press conferences in Genoa, Italy, to address questions about the crash, and said that top group executives may still come to the scene to help.

(Left: At least the Titanic wasn’t “show boating”!

“Carnival’s management has already offered to come here if we believe it’s appropriate for them to come,” Foschi said. “We’ll decide together.” The company’s senior management “has been in constant contact with the leadership of its Costa unit,” COO Frank said in an e-mailed statement.

The accident has had an extremely negative fallout on the stocks of cruise lines – Carnival fell 14 percent to $29.44, Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) was down 6.3 percent and similar falls were noticed in cruise companies quoted in London and Oslo.


About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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