Just when some industry insiders were predicting drops in sales due to norovirus outbreaks and other cruise mishaps, Carnival Cruise Lines announced a record-setting month for reservations of more than 565,000 bookings between January 1 and January 31, 2014. In a press release received today, Feb. 3, said that the record number of reservations was 17 percent higher across the line’s 24-ship fleet, than the same one-month period a year ago. Additionally, traffic to the cruise line’s web site carnival.com also reached an all-time high with 13 million visits during the one-month period.
Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill attributed the record booking activity to a number of factors, including continued product enhancements and innovations being introduced across the Carnival fleet, very attractive promotions in the marketplace, strong support from travel agent partners, and a new “Moments that Matter” advertising campaign launched last fall, which is currently in heavy rotation in broadcast and digital channels. Cahill also cited increasing recognition among consumers that Carnival cruises provide a truly exceptional vacation value.
"Now is the time of year when many people focus on their upcoming vacation plans and the cruise industry typically sees an escalation in booking activity. We are definitely observing a strong uptick in reservations with bookings coming in at unprecedented levels,” said Cahill. “We are seeing heavy sales growth in all channels, particularly via our travel agent partners, and we would like to express our tremendous appreciation for their support,” he added. Cahill also pointed out that Carnival did not introduce any new ships in 2013 so added capacity would not account for the stronger booking activity. “More than anything, I believe consumers are increasingly recognizing that, when it comes to an exceptional vacation experience at a great value, Carnival easily comes out on top.”
Carnival credits new initiatives for the increase in sales such as one-of-kind vacation guarantee that gives consumers the option of ending their voyage early and flying home at Carnival’s expense if they are dissatisfied for any reason, a comprehensive revamp of the line’s main dining room offerings, and a partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises that amped up activities for children. The company also upgraded its musical offerings with house bands and the Carnival LIVE concert series which features performances by top artists such as Jennifer Hudson, Gavin DeGraw, Lady Antebellum, Olivia Newton-John, Daughtry, Styx, Martina McBride, Jewel and many others.
It appears that a $500 million investment by the line to upgrade its fleet from head to stern is paying off. Also the passenger increase could be the result of phenomenal offers such as the Aruba deals shown in the accompanying video.