Friday, 20 January 2012

Despite Costa crash, two retailers say business continues to thrive

By Donna Tunney
Industry analysts this week predicted a short-term dip in cruise bookings following the Costa Concordia disaster, but some travel agents reported that — so far — their cruise business is holding steady.

“We have had no cancelations to date,” said Dwain Wall, senior vice president and general manager of CruiseOne and Cruises Inc.

“We had a couple people booked on future Concordia cruises and they called and asked us what would be done for them. We’re working with Costa to reaccommodate them — even they haven’t canceled,” said Wall.

A comparison of the first three days after the Jan. 13 accident with the same three days in 2011 showed that sales actually are up year-over-year, Wall said.

“I would expect a bigger impact,” he said, “but we’re not seeing it.”

Agent Mark Comfort, who owns Cruise Holidays Kansas City, said he’s been checking with his staff every day on booking levels.

“It’s been fascinating to me that while this has been horribly tragic, it has not seemed to create any scare in the minds of [cruisers], at least none that has come to our notice. People who already are booked or considering a cruise are not changing their minds,” said Comfort.

“What you don’t know,” he noted, “is how many people won’t call now if they were thinking about a cruise.”