By Elissa Richard
As industry experts forebodingly predicted, cruise bookings have indeed plummeted in the wake of the Costa Concordia shipwreck, during the height of what’s normally considered "wave season" (the peak booking period for cruise lines). A highly discernible decrease in bookings—with a percentage drop somewhere "in the mid-teens compared to the prior year"—was reported by Carnival Corp., industry bigwig and the parent company of some 10 major cruise brands (including Costa, along with Carnival, Holland America, Princess, and more). Royal Caribbean International, meanwhile, parent company of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and several other brands, likewise reported similar drops on bookings, up to 20 percent lower compared to last year (though that number has improved slightly over the last week).
Why the drastic drop? It’s a combined effect: Would-be cruisers are hesitant to return to the high seas as they continue to process the frightful images of the accident, while a reduction in cruise companies’ marketing campaigns following the incident has left the cruise lines with less reach on their prospective clients. As companies begin to resume their advertising, we’re also seeing new cruise sales crop up in tandem, designed to reel reluctant bookers back onboard. Here are two of the best new cruise deals currently making waves:
Carnival Offers Up to $400 Cash Back On Bookings
The Deal: Carnival’s "Triple Play Sale" offers $50 cash back on bookings for 3- to 4-night sailings (priced from $179/person); $100 cash back for 5- to 6-night cruises (from $179/person); $200 cash back on 7- to 16-night itineraries (from $329/person); or as much as $400 cash back on select European sailings (from $849/person).
Book By: February 9
Booking Info: Carnival.com
Princess Posts Summer Sales for Europe, Alaska & More
The Deal: Book Princess’s "Sizzlin’ Summer Sale" for up to $1,400 in savings per stateroom on select European, Alaskan, and transatlantic cruises; deals are additionally available on land-and-cruise combo vacations. Promotional rates start at $699/person.
Book By: February 28
Booking Info: Princess.com
Photo Credit: courtesy Princess Cruises