Consumers shop for cruise bargains after Costa disaster

Consumers shop for cruise bargains after Costa disaster

Savvy cruise customers were said to be shopping around for better deals this week following the Costa Concordia tragedy, as the UK’s leading lines suspended marketing activity.

Cruise retailers said consumers were hunting for lower prices in the wake of the disaster, amid reports cruise bookings across the market were down 30% last week on a year ago.

Royal Caribbean International and Carnival UK suspended all UK marketing this week and were monitoring the situation on a daily basis.

Agents said they understood the move, but felt the sector might need a kick-start when appropriate to do so.

Richard Downs, founder of Iglu Cruise, said: "It was sensible to have a temporary pause.

"Once we know there was a specific reason that caused this, there should be no shame going out full throttle. Some tactical offers to get the momentum back would be worthwhile. British customers are not stupid. They know if sales are down there is more capacity to sell and that puts pressure on price."

Downs said bookings started coming back in the middle of last week and were now on a par with last year. released figures this week showing no decline in cruise searches since the disaster.

Marketing director Suki Rapal said: "People have been asking if there will be more deals and saying it will now be the safest time to go on a cruise."

This week Royal Caribbean held a conference call for 40 UK agents to reassure them about the safety of mega-cruise ships.

The move came amid criticism on agent Facebook group Travel Gossip that not enough was being done to stress the safety of modern ships.

Salvage work and preparations to extract 1.9 million litres of fuel on Concordia was due to start this week as the official death toll rose to 16.


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