The Costa Concordia tragedy prompted a number of other cruise lines to review the behaviour of senior officers, with some captains relieved of their duty.

Former Fred Olsen Cruise Lines marketing director Nigel Lingard, speaking at a Travel Weekly debate at World Travel Market, indicated the practice of “sail pasts” close to land was not isolated to Costa.

Lingard, now a director of cruise specialist retailer Reader Offers, said the Concordia disaster had cast the spotlight on the practice, which he described as “a good thing”.

“It lifted the veil on practices which shouldn’t have been happening, and I think some cruise lines purged some ‘merry captains’ as a result.”

While acknowledging the “tragic loss of life” as a result of the sinking, Lingard said the modern design of the ship and the responsible operation in the aftermath had mitigated the lasting impact on the environment.

“There were concerns (about the potential for an oil spill) but if you set aside the tragic loss of life, the rest of the incident was an example of how this sort of operation should work,” he said, noting that fears that the vessel would break up had proved unfounded.