The following anecdote has been wildly circulating around the Internet in the days following the tragic Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster. However, no evidence can be found to sustain its authenticity as a genuine Churchill anecdote. The most popular version, is found in "The Wit and Wisdom of Winston Churchill by James C. Humes" but, again, no original source can be found to support the anecdote, and there is no record of Churchill taking an Italian cruise ship "late in life".
From "The Wit and Wisdom of Winston Churchill" by James C. Humes:
"Late in his life, Sir Winston took a cruise on an Italian ship. A journalist from a New York newspaper approached the former prime minister to ask him why he chose to travel on an Italian line when the Queen Elizabeth under the British flag was available.
Churchill gave the question his consideration and then gravely replied.
'There are three things I like about Italian ships. First, their cuisine, which is unsurpassed. Second, their service, which is quite superb. And then - in time of emergency - there is none of this nonsense about women and children first.'