On Friday, January the 13th 2012, we the Ananias family, barely escaped death multiple times while on board the sinking Costa Concordia ship in Italy. Our four family members-Dean, Georgia, Valerie and Cindy were among the last people to escape the sinking ship. To get off the ship, we had to jump into a moving lifeboat while the ship was lying on its side and luckily, we landed on the roof of the lifeboat. Everything that happened to us was an unbelievable out of body experience, and how we survived was a miracle to be told.
We have written a book, “SOS Spirit of Survival,” about the details of the disaster on that day and about the way Costa and Carnival Cruise lines totally mishandled the disaster. This was the cause of many victims being injured and resulted in the death of 32 passengers and crew members. The book presents the perspectives of five family members, the four of us onboard the ship and Debbie, one of our daughters who was at home trying desperately to get information from the cruise lines to no avail. The book is not concerned only with our near tragedy, but it puts the cruise industry and its major shortcomings where passenger safety is concerned under a glaring spotlight. We have spent 7 years navigating through the courts in Italy to get justice for what happened to us and to pay for our medical bills. The cruise lines and their attorneys refused to take responsibility and the courts and our legal representation in Italy was awful and substandard. We want people to know if you become a victim for any reason on a cruise ship, you will not be assisted or compensated for any medical bills or treatment you might need. They deny all claims and will fight forever to treat you unfairly.
We know the cruise line industry in and out because we have cruised annually over the past 35 years. We always thought the cruise lines would have our back and protect us, but we were dreadfully wrong. We loved cruising, but we will not cruise again until the cruise lines stop putting their profit above the safety of the passengers and the crew. We are pleased to work with International Cruise Victims Association in its efforts to make all cruise lines accountable for their actions and insist too, that they make safety a #1 priority for passengers and crew. We want what has happened to us not to happen to anyone else. Our book “SOS Spirit of Survival,” is dedicated to everyone that has had a negative experience or a tragic event at sea.