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So that was 2012….

So that was 2012. It was an eventful and interesting year for us. I suppose it’s traditional around this time to review the year that’s just gone by, so here goes. This being a personal blog, this is a personal review – this is what seemed important, memorable or significant to us.

  • First on any list has to be the sinking of the Costa Concordia, on 13 January. 30 people are known to have died and another two are missing, presumed dead, which brings the total of dead to 32. A further 64 people were injured to various degrees of severity. The investigation is still on-going, as are the trials – the Captain has been charged with manslaughter, together with lesser charges – and the hulk of the ship still lies in the water off Isola del Giglio. There was palpable shock throughout the cruise industry, indeed throughout the leisure travel industry, at these events – how could a modern ship, incorporating the latest safety features and built to the highest standards, sink? Well, any floating object will cease to float if a big enough hole is punched in it below the waterline, and that’s what happened to Costa Concordia. The principal question is: exactly how did that come to happen? – we still await the official report. Two more superlatives about this tragedy: first, she is by far the largest passenger ship to sink; and second, she may also be the most successful rescue operation, in that over 4,000 people got off her to safety. That said, I must also recognise that it was most fortunate that the sinking occurred so close to shore – many people were able to swim to safety, and some people still in the water were picked up by local boats. Had the sinking occurred further out, or had she not come to rest on the shelf of rock, the death toll would have been much higher.
  • Next was the P&O Grand Event on 3 July. Not surprisingly in this record-breakingly-wet year it was raining during the Event itself and that did take some of the edge off it, but it was still fun in a very British masochistic way.
  • Third would be our long cruise this year, on Arcadia to the Canaries. It wasn’t the best cruise we’ve ever had but it was still enjoyable and we certainly found a lot to enjoy on Arcadia.
  • Finally would be the introduction by Cunard and P&O of the new fare schemes. P&O calls them ‘Vantage’ fares: once you’ve booked such a fare you’ll get some recompense (probably¬†in the form of on-board credit) if the fare is subsequently reduced. There have been a lot of negative comments about this initiative, and I do recognise the way it could be abused – for example if the cruise line labels all reduced fares as ‘Getaway’ fares then that doesn’t count as a reduction to the Vantage fare, so no compensation would be due. However I think it should be welcomed. US passengers have enjoyed protection like this for years, and now we may get it as well.

That’s about it. There were a lot of other stories in what was I think a tight year for UK cruising, and there are some indications that 2013 will be even tighter. But the stories for this year have not yet emerged; when they do, and if they seem interesting, I’ll blog about them here.

And finally, I’d like to wish all my readers a happy and successful New Year.

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