Cruises Face Slowdown In Ship Bookings

Cruise ship companies have noticed a slowdown in bookings in recent weeks. This has prompted companies such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian to promote a new line of cheap cruises. However, the deals are mostly limited to soon-to-depart sailings.

“There are a lot of sales going on … (but) most of that would be for more closer-in business … and some of it is not dissimilar to what we’ve done in prior years,” Carnival Corp. COO Howard Frank said during a conference call with Wall Street analysts to discuss third quarter earnings.

Most ship companies discounted recent chatter among cruise-selling travel agents that pricing could be in the midst of a notable decline as consumers pull back from booking trips due to concerns about the economy.

Travel agents have been citing low sales by lines such as Holland America, Princess Cruises and Regent Seven Seas as a sign the selling climate has taken a turn for the worse.

Most cruises seem to be 3 and 4-day destinations, and the travel companies suggest that the slowdown in bookings in recent weeks is one they expect to be temporary and thus no cause for a fire sale on cabins.