One can certainly understand why victims of the recently wreck of the Costa Concordia were a little put out by a recent offer. The company, owned by Carnival, called to offer them a 30% discount on their next Carnival cruise after 12 people died on the last voyage and 20 are still missing. Truly savings to die for. For crash victims, it is like Ford’s Theater offering Mary Todd Lincoln “buy two, get one free” ticket deal on the next performance of “Our American Cousin.”
[Update: Concordia denies that it made the discount offer]
In addition to the insulting offer, the cruise line has been having employees call victims to ask if they are suffering from nightmares or sleepless nights. Since experts say that such questioning can actually trigger sleepless nights, the motivations could be viewed as more legal than therapeutic. The effort would create a record of the most likely form of damages for passengers beyond any injuries in the crash — emotional distress.
The calls have followed a worsening legal position for the company as accounts stream in of the bizarre conduct of the Concordia’s captain, Francisco Schettino, who is accused of “showing off” by going too close to an island and then abandoning ship hours before the last passenger was rescued.
The company could claim that it is only trying to determine who needs assistance with experts and therapists, but Jennifer Wild, of Oxford University and King’s College London, says in the article below that repeatedly asking victims if they were having nightmares is considered the wrong approach by mental health professionals. What could be interesting is whether the calls could then be raised in court as part of the mental health trauma — and suggest a more cynical purpose of the calls and even include the offer of a discounted cruise in the future.