It’s been a bad year for cruising and it’s starting to show. A recent survey from Harris Interactive noted that consumer confidence for the cruise industry has dropped 12 percent. Carnival Cruises is feeling the impact most: public trust dropped 26 percent for the cruise line since February. In addition, the intent to buy a cruise has dropped 20 percent for Carnival and an overall 11 percent for major U.S. cruise lines.
So what’s happened? There have been fires, scandals, passengers going overboard. Find out what went wrong for the cruise industry in 2013, as well as one surprising benefit travels can take advantage of right now.
1. Engine Fire on the Carnival Triumph
Following an engine fire, the conditions onboard the Carnival Triumph were compared to “Lord of the Flies,” “Survivor” and “The Hunger Games.” Passengers were left stranded without adequate food on a ship without working electricity or plumbing for days as the cruise was slowly towed toward port. Following the incident, cruise safety has been called into question and cruise expert Carolyn Spencer Brown noted that she would personally prefer not the sail on the cruise line. The cruise line has since announced a $155 million fleet-wide review and renovation.
2. Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas Fire
Carnival Triumph was not the only cruise fire of 2013. Last month, the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Grandeur of the Seas caught fire in a mooring area on the back deck of the ship. The crew reacted in time, and all passengers were safely alerted and evacuated from their rooms. The fire spread to at least four decks, but the fire was put out within two hours. Passengers were all evacuated on land within 7 hours with the worst injury being one ankle sprain.
3. Passengers Overboard on Carnival Spirit
At the start of May, a couple that fell overboard the Carnival Spirit off the coast of Sydney. What’s surprising is this incident is more common than you might expect, and more common for Carnival cruise passengers. In the last decade, Cruise Page cited 28 incidents (excluding the most recent situation in Australia) with that cruise line alone since 2000. In fact, in one three-week period in 2009, three passengers fell overboard. Here’s what happens when a passenger goes overboard.
4. Sexual Misconduct Scandal on Disney Dream
2013 is also feeling the impact of the previous year. Last month, a 2012 incident came to light that appeared to be a cover up of sexual misconduct committed by a staff member toward a young girl on board the Disney Dream. The cruise line’s handling of the incident is now being called into question. At issue is whether Disney’s actions allowed one of its employees to escape U.S. prosecution. Following the incident, families have been questioning cruise safety and the correct policies for allowing kids to be unaccompanied onboard ships.
With Fires, Scandals & Overall Safety Concerns, What Good about Cruising in 2013? Price!
Cruise booking usually fall at the summer time. After all the cruise drama this year, prices are also following as well. Carnival cruises have been discounted severely, some to just $40 or $50 a night. Additionally, travel agents are being rumored to receive extra incentives for book passengers on cruises right now. It’s not just Carnival with low rates. Royal Caribbean has summer cruises for four nights for under $250. Norwegian Cruise Lines has seven nights to Europe or Alaska, peak routes for summer, for under $750. To see all the latest deals, visit online discounters like Cruise Brothers, Cruise One and Cruise Compete.
By Lily J. Kosner for PeterGreenberg.com