Cruise industry 'weathering storm' after Concordia disaster

Cruise industry 'weathering storm' after Concordia disaster

The UK cruise industry appears to be weathering the storm of the Costa Concordia disaster, according to data from online cruise agency www.cruises.co.uk.

The company reported 150,000 searches for deals in the past week, including a high proportion for March departures.

Visitors to the site in the two weeks prior to the accident were up on the previous year with 100,000 unique visitors, making 157,000 searches for cruise-based information.

In the seven days since the Costa incident there has been roughly the same number of hits, with searches for cruise ship videos up by 150%, with more than 45,000 videos viewed.

The company has seen a significant increase in people who want to see details about Costa through its customer videos and reviews.

P&O Cruises accounted for 25% of the clicks to the site up to January 13, followed by Royal Caribbean International with 21% and Cunard third with 9% - giving the three more than 55% of enquiries.

In addition to specific brand enquiries, 24,000 cruise reviews were queried on the website in the first two weeks of January.

The week following the Concordia grounding showed only a slight change with 25% of searches on P&O Cruises and 20% on Cunard – both Carnival Corporation sister brands to Costa.

The research found that 70% of browsers in the first three weeks of January were looking for cruises departing in the first seven months of the year, with both March and July showing the biggest percentage number of hits. This suggests the market is being led by late bookers and those who need to go during school summer holidays.

Managing director Seamus Conlon said: “Like everyone in the industry, we’re truly shocked and saddened by the Costa Concordia accident last week but already our figures show that the accident is having little or no effect on bookings for the key brands.

“Early January showed that P&O, Cunard and Royal Caribbean are still top with British browsers but we’ve also noticed that the interest in the luxury brands such as Seabourn, Holland America and Oceania has risen 100% over this time last year.

“River cruising is up 50%, showing strong growth with more interest in both the specialist operators and the less well known destinations such as the Far East and Russia. This could be as a result of the increased interest from the press over the past year.”

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