The captain of the stricken Costa Concordia, which ran aground off the Tuscan coast, "did make an unauthorised, unapproved deviation from the ship's programmed course" the parent company that owns the ship has said.
Costa Cruises chairman and chief executive Pier Luigi Foschi said: "We can't deny human error has been identified".
According to reports the ship's captain Francesco Schettino may have been "showing off" when he steered the vessel too close to rocks.
He faces accusations that he abandoned the vessel before ensuring that all of the 4,200 people aboard were safely evacuated after the disaster off the Tuscan coast on Friday night.
It is thought that Capt Schettino sailed as close to land as he did as he wanted to salute to a friend on shore.
Foschi spoke to reporters at a press conference as rescuers still searching for anyone trapped in the vessel reportedly suspended the operation after it started moving.
Foschi said the incident would undoubtedly have a "negative impact" on the company's image.
A "critical analysis" of security would be carried out, he said.