Costa Cruises parent company Carnival Corporation has emphasised its commitment to safety at its annual shareholder meeting.
A three-phase task force is conducting a comprehensive safety review across all brands, which operate 98 ships around the world, following the Costa Concordia disaster in January.
The first phase is due to be completed by the end of May, with the second expected to be finalised by the end of July and the remainder by the end of the year, depending on information becoming available from the incident off the coast of Italy.
The review covers elements from bridge management through to safety standards across the fleet.
Chairman and chief executive Micky Arison described the Costa Concordia tragedy as “the most difficult in the history of our company” but described the cruise industry as being “incredibly safe”.
The group voiced its support for the Costa brand, which chief operating officer Howard Frank described as “powerful” going forward.
Overall prices in the past five weeks have been down by 5% – excluding Costa – as the group was forced to use “pricing initiatives” to stimulate bookings.
Bookings have seen some “uptick” in the five weeks, Frank said, against a 9% drop in the six weeks immediately after the Concordia incident.
Looking at 2012, Frank said the impact of the softness in European economies would continue to have drag on profits with Costa in particular suffering from a “significant impact” of Concodia throughout 2012.
The group is targeting growth from China, Japan and other Asian countries as it looks to introduce a further 10 new ships.
Frank said escalating fuel prices, which reduced profits by $535 million, was one of the major challenges in 2011.
Carnival, which runs the UK-based lines P&O Cruises and Cunard Line, saw year-end profits come in just below 2010 levels despite disruption caused by the Arab spring, Japanese tsunami and the eurozone financial crisis.
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