'My first cruise and my last' - Irish couple tell of drama on board the 'Concordia'
SÉAMUS MOORE (52) had it solved by the time he landed at Dublin airport yesterday with his wife Carol (50). “I know what really kept Carol going,” he said, reflecting on their experience as the Costa Concordiawas sinking off Italy on Friday night.
“When we were sitting on the side of the ship I said to her ‘now we know what Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslett felt like’ [in the film Titanic, as it was sinking] and she said ‘well at least Kate lived’.
“ I think that’s what kept her going,” he said. “She wanted a low-key birthday present and she got one!”
Both were overjoyed to be home as were their three children Luke (22), Claire (19) and James (15) to have them back. Also there to greet the Clonmel couple was a large contingent of other relatives. Mr Moore, a retired evironmental health officer with the HSE, said: “It was a difficult experience but at the end of the day it worked out very well for most people. It’s really, really a relief to be home.”
Ms Moore, a speech therapist with the HSE, recalled that at the beginning “there were lights and then they went off but the moon was out and we were on the deck all the time . . . It was fairly bright really because of the moon.”
The “most frightening thing was getting down to the deck”. It had become “a wall and you were walking on what was the restaurant windows and you were trying to avoid the windows in case you stood on them and crashed in and you went flying down to the other end of the ship. That was really scary and trying to get up the ladder then.
“Sitting out on top was okay because even if you slipped you would slide down into the sea,” she said, adding that she “just needed to talk to the kids. I thought we were finished”.
Mr Moore said at the beginning, “the ship listed very badly all of a sudden, out of the blue. Carol was down in the duty-free shop. I was on the deck above just looking down because the way these ships are built, you can look right down to the lobby.”
It really struck him how, as the boat listed “and everything was crashing one way, then the next, the one thing I did notice is that the piano player kept playing. I thought that was a bit of a Titanic thing.”
He and his wife had agreed beforehand that “in the unlikely event” of anything happening, they would return to their cabin.
“We did that and Carol had the presence of mind then to empty the safe as all good money-minders would do anyway. She got our passports, car keys and everything, we were very much the lucky ones in that regard.”
About three hours after the initial incident, at about 12.40am on Saturday morning, “we rang our friends” and told them what had happened and that “if the worse came to the worst, tell the kids we love them and let them know we were thinking of them”.
Ms Moore said: “You kinda get resigned and then think there’s a bit of hope of doing something else so you just keep going.”
Eventually they were taken off by lifeboat and arrived on shore at about 2.30am. Both were very grateful to staff at the Irish Embassy in Rome. “Pat Hennessy and Donal and the embassy staff were absolutely brilliant,” they said, as were staff at the Rome airport hotel. But now, as far as Mr Moore is concerned, it was “my first cruise and my last!”