Italian authorities said the operation to lift Costa Concordia off its side and onto an underwater platform could begin next week.
In a news conference in Rome, they said depending on weather and sea conditions, salvage teams are ready to make the attempt as early as Sept. 16.
A decision will be made on a day-by-day basis, emergency commissioner Franco Gabrielli said.
The process, which employs crane barges to winch the partly sunken liner upright over a period of 8 to 10 hours, is thought to be the largest salvage operation of a passenger ship ever attempted.
If the first phase is successful, Concordia would eventually be refloated and towed to port to be scrapped.Follow @tstravelweekly on Twitter.