Carnival Cruise Survivors Consider Legal Action, Try to Piece Lives Back Together

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One week after the Costa Concordia cruise ship crashed off the coast of Italy, leaving at least 11 people dead and 21 missing, newlyweds Benji Smith and Emily Lau said they were still trying to get their lives back together as they figured out how to hold those determined responsible for the accident accountable.

"When we first got off the ship we had the adrenaline to keep us pumping and moving," Smith said. "It's hard for us to imagine even working. This is all we can focus on."

The couple believes the cruise company, Costa Concordia, and not just the ship's captain, should be held responsible for the 11 deaths, and the emotional and physical injuries of the survivors. But Smith and Lau also voiced anger at Italian authorities and the U.S. Embassy for what they believed was their unresponsiveness after the escape on the island of Giglio.

More than 120 U.S. citizens were reportedly on the cruise ship, including a missing couple from Minnesota, Jerry and Barbara Heil.

PHOTOS: Escaping the Costa Concordia Cruise Ship

"The U.S. Embassy told us they cannot possibly send anyone to us," Lau said when she and her husband were interviewed on "Good Morning America" Monday. "The [Italian] police said Costa is owned by Carnival, so it is an American problem and they can't do anything about it."

Since returning to their Cambridge, Mass., home this week, Smith and Lau said they had been busy with doctors' appointments, and obtaining new driver's licenses, documentation, and replacement car keys.

Smith, a computer scientist, and Lau, a musician, survived the crash by climbing down a rope on the side of the sinking ship. They said they still struggled with their physical and emotional well-being. Lau said she lost access to the entire upper range of her voice, which is problematic for a singer.

"For somebody like Emily, who sings for a living, her body is her instrument," Smith, who has made inquiries with various attorneys, said. "To put her body through this kind of stress and anxiety and turmoil is devastating to her career."

The couple had been married 14 days before the accident, which the CEO of the cruise company attributed to "human error" by Capt. Francesco Schettino. Authorities are investigating Schettino for suspected manslaughter and abandoning his ship, among other possible charges.

Under house arrest, Schettino told a judge he had tripped into a lifeboat and did not abandon his ship. Domnica Cemortan, a potential witness, said on Moltovan TV that Schettino was a hero and "the captain saved 3,000 to 4,000 people."

According to the Italian navigation code, a captain who abandons a ship in danger can face up to 12 years in prison.

Costa Crociere S.p.A., doing business as Costa Cruises, owned the cruise ship that carried about 4,200 people. Its parent is British-American company Carnival Corp., the largest company in the cruise industry, with more than 100 ships in service and 11 international brands.

Carnival Corp. did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment but Carnival's CEO said in a statement: "This tragedy has called into question our company's safety and emergency response policies and procedures."

Morningstar, an independent investement research firm, has estimated the company will face an $85 million to $95 million loss in revenue while the ship is out of service. The capsizing cruise ship could cost its owners $130 million if the ship can be salvaged. If the $650 million luxury liner is too badly damaged, Costa and Carnival will have to absorb that cost too.

Survivors Arthur Beach, a civil defense lawyer, and his wife, Alex Beach, of Albuquerque, N.M., said they would not pursue any legal action but seek compensation for their lost items.

"We were not injured, and we were home safely," Alex Beach admitted, although she said was interested in whether there would be a legal response.

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