Tanned travelers disembark each day at ports of call around the world for earthbound adventures and return to elegant staterooms each evening. But it hasn't been all smooth sailing for the cruise-ship industry recently.
After the Carnival Triumph floated without power in the Gulf of Mexico for a week, Harris Interactive surveyed Americans and found that their perceptions of quality and trust in the cruise industry have decreased. Surprisingly in contrast to Harris' findings, NBC asked travel agents what the impact from Carnival's flop had been, and the travel agents surprisingly said they were seeing no change in cruise purchases. So don't write off cruising just because of a few well-publicized incidents.
As far as deals, Tom Stieghorst, the senior editor covering the cruise industry for Travel Weekly, said that after the Carnival Triumph incident, Carnival successfully fought a drop in bookings by offering special promotions. That push to retain interest in cruising means it just might be the right time to find great travel deals for cruises.
As CLIA's Turner indicated, the excitement is for all the new cruise vessels coming out of the world's shipyards. Spend a few minutes looking over the renderings and plans, and you'll have one impression: Cruise ships are becoming more and more stunning by the year. Sail on one of the newest vessels and you'll find rooms with private balconies and verandas, elaborate spas and even glass-enclosed, over-water walkways.
Here are the boats to watch.
-- Geoff Kohl