Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 12, 2012 01:10 PM
When a slew of employees from the world’s largest cruise-ship company, Carnival Corp., and its shareholders met up at the W hotel in Miami Beach Wednesday morning, the hope was, of course, that the focus would be on the future as much as that was possible. But what dominated the discussion is what happened in the last year.
Specifically, that means the deadly shipwreck of the Carnival-owned Costa Concordia in Italy, which took 30 lives and still has two bodies unaccounted for. While the crash itself wasn’t great PR for Concord, one of 10 cruise lines owned by Carnival, ongoing coverage about alleged misbehavior by the ship’s captain and crew has not helped the company nor the entire cruise industry either. And this week's 100-year anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking isn't auspicious.
The Miami Herald has it that after the crash occurred, “future bookings plummeted across the industry” and Costa “ceased marketing efforts for months,” which left it to be “hit particularly hard.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that bookings at Carnival have in fact begun to increase in recent weeks -- except, of course, on the Costa line of ships. To boost sales, Carnival dropped prices.
"The first six weeks of lost volume came during the most critical part of our year," said Chief Operating Officer Howard S. Frank at the meeting, the Journal reports. "Once you lose that much volume, 9%, during that six-week period, it's a challenge to make it up during the rest of the year."