Will Grandeur of the Seas Fire Affect Cruise Bookings?

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

The cruise industry has taken a big hit since the Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy last year in January. And since the subsequent months after the cruise ship accident have been filled with a slew of other mishaps, from two cruise ship fires to several people going overboard and even a number of sexual assault cases, it’s a wonder liners even have passengers these days.

But alas, a cruise vacation still IS one of the most affordable and exciting ways to see the world. It will be a big shock if no one were ever to want to board a vessel again, but the facts just can’t be ignored. Since the Concordia accident, the cruise industry has been suffering and hasn’t made as much revenue as it used to.

Back in March, when the Carnival Triumph caught fire and lost power, leaving over 3,500 passengers stranded in the Gulf of Mexico under atrociously unsanitary conditions and meager food provisions, our cruise ship lawyers blogged about how the nation’s interest in cruise vacations dwindled after the incident. The industry works, in many ways, like a stack of dominoes. When something goes wrong on one liner, the effects trickle all the way through competitor lines, affecting them as well.

Carnival Corp., the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line, suffered the most out of all other cruise lines because the company also owns Costa Cruises, and went under severe scrutiny after the Concordia was grounded. In a poll that surveyed 2,230 U.S. adults in February, we learned that the country’s trust in Carnival fell 17% following the Triumph debacle and this accident, in turn, caused the country to lose faith in other competitor cruise companies as well, including the second-largest cruise company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and the popular Norwegian Cruise Line.

The poll also showed that America’s perception of the overall quality of cruise lines also fell, but mostly for Carnival. But perhaps most surprisingly, the nation’s booking intent also dropped by a whopping 13% for Carnival. Royal and Norwegian also suffered in this area as well.

It has been rough for the cruise industry and the latest cruise ship fire aboard the Grandeur of the Seas on Memorial Day Monday last week has not been helping to boost the line’s reputation and help it return to what it once was.

A few weeks ago, Carnival Corp. expressed that it too understands accidents can have a huge impact on travelers’ perceptions, especially when it comes to having faith the cruise ship they are booked on will be safe. As a result, the company reduced its yearly earnings forecast by 18% to account for all the negative press the cruise industry has been getting for what seem to be an endless number of mechanical malfunctions, assaults, mysterious and tragic deaths, and hundreds of injuries and illnesses.

Yet, there does seem to be a silver lining for cruise passengers who are still brave enough to sail the seven seas on a cruise ship. Cruise travel is now the cheapest it has been in several years, so if you have considered booking a cruise, now is definitely the time to do so if you want to save some money.

In a way, lowering prices offsets the decline in overall cruise travel appeal and has been encouraging guests to stay true to their favorite liners and brave uncharted waters.

Although cruise travel will always undoubtedly carry its risks, by understanding the fact that accidents can – and do – occur on the high seas, passengers can try to avoid certain incidents and recognize when something is wrong.

Now that the world has been made privy to the truth about cruising and the fact that there ARE a lot of things that can go wrong, it’s time for prospective travelers to take preventative measures in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm.

For one thing, it’s a good idea to obtain traveler’s insurance in the event that a cruise itinerary is cancelled or someone in your party becomes ill or suffers an emergency. While cruise ship lawyers can fight for your right to obtain damages for any pain suffered at a cruise line’s expense due to negligence, it can still take time to retain a settlement. Having insurance at least helps you get a portion of money back quickly while you wait to obtain compensation from the actual liner with an attorney’s help.

It’s also a good idea to bring walkie talkies onboard the vessel in case your loved ones want to do something apart from the group. Cell phones barely work on cruise ships, especially if you are out at sea, but walkie talkies will remain in operation. Passengers should also refrain from allowing small children to wander around cruise ships without supervision and establish meeting points in the event that a child is lost.

Our attorneys have also released a convenient app for Smartphones called “Cruise Ship Lawyer,” which offers several helpful tools to assist passengers in their time of need, including a built-in flashlight for when power goes out, forms to document any insurance claims or accidents, and a Skype feature so you can communicate with our firm back in Miami and allow us to get a head start on your case.

When it all boils down to it, the Grandeur cruise fire and all the prior incidents have caused a decline in booking overall, but the industry continues to persevere and will likely bounce back quickly.