More Questions, But Few Cruise Cancellations In Wake Of Paris
The Caribbean cruise biz continues with strength, as does Alaska,
but many eyes are on Europe, with fears that geopolitical issues and terrorism
fears could impact demand and pricing. But, at least so far, cruise sellers
aren’t seeing any major disruptions.
In the short term, agents report the Paris terrorism attacks in particular as
impacting business, but as San Bernardino sadly shows, terrorist attacks
can happen anywhere.
“There’s a little talk about Europe and what’s going on there,” says
ExpediaCruiseShip Center's Matthew Eichhorst. “What we found through our
analytics is that we’re not seeing higher cancellations, which is great,
but we are seeing higher questions, which is also great.”
New Med/Baltic bookings don’t seem to be slowing down. “The transaction is
taking a little bit longer because there’s more dialogue. Certainly when
the travel agent can talk through it with the customer it has been quite
good so far. This is not to say we’re not paying attention to it,”
It used to be that agents overcame fear by lowering the price. Eichhorst says
there is no
need for that yet, as ocean cruise bookings remain steady. “The better economic
outlook [in the U.S.] is probably making people take a little bit more risk and
be a little less conservative than they were in the past,” he says.