In the wake of the recent Costa Concordia disaster, where a cruise ship capsized and sank allegedly after a dangerous maneuver authorized by the captain, people are paying more attention than ever to cruise ships and their safety. Surprisingly, this scrutiny has turned up in the form of a quote attributed to Winston Churchill which is making its way around the internet in the form of a chain email. The most common version is reproduced below, courtesy of The Florida Times Union.
“After his retirement, [Churchill] took a cruise on an Italian liner, the email says, and was asked by a journalist why he preferred traveling on an Italian ship rather than on the British liner Queen Elizabeth: “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.”
This quote has been attributed to Churchill by historians on numerous occasions, as the link above describes. Even historians have claimed he said it. But, as you can also read there, the home port of the ship has also changed many times. Plus, the exact same quote has also been attributed to others, including Noel Coward and W. Somerset Maugham.
Overall, this is almost certainly not a real Winston Churchill quote. Of course, there are many other real Churchill quotes that are every bit as interesting and even more entertaining -- just be careful not to believe everything you read!