Most likely you have heard and seen pictures of the accident over the weekend when 4,200 people on the Costa Concordia that hit a reef off of Italy. There have been 6 confirmed deaths out of the 4,200 that were onboard at the time of the accident. This has caused some of my clients that have their first cruise planned in the coming months to be apprehensive now about their vacation. I can understand how seeing a giant cruise ship half submerged in water can make someone leery about stepping foot on a boat.
In 2011, over 19 million people around the world took a cruise vacation. Out of those 19 million, the number of cruise related deaths was in the single digits, less than 10. Cruising remains one of the safest ways to travel.
I wondered how an accident like this could take place with all the modern technology that they have on the ships. There was no malfunction of equipment that caused this disaster. The captain veered off the path that he was supposed to take to get near the shore to impress the local tourists that were on the island.
This incident will be a reminder to all the cruise lines and the captains of the ships how important it is to follow guidelines and the courses that are set for them. These courses are 100% safe and have been traveled many times over. The chance of an accident like this happening again are extremely slim. Safety will be stressed to the staff on ships and will be taken to a whole new level to assure guests that this will not happen again.
What does this mean for you and myself as a travel agent? This accident was the world’s biggest news story over the weekend. Many who were thinking about taking a cruise will now decide for a land vacation at a resort or may stay home. This decrease in demand will likely mean lower prices for cruises this summer and fall. Carnival Cruise Line has already said that demand will drop. Cruise lines always like to sail with the ship full so they constantly adjust the prices to lessen the chance that there will be empty cabins on embarkation.
With the safety history of cruises and lower prices coming, it is a great time to book a cruise for yourself, family and friends. If you book now and the price drops before final payment (2 months before sailing), you can get the lower price. As a travel agent, I constantly check the prices of trips that my clients have booked to see if I can get them a lower price and to save them money. Just last night I moved up one of my clients to an ocean view room from an inside room, and their final payment will be $5 less. They didn’t get a free upgrade, they got paid $5 to upgrade!
I have an online cruise search engine that will let you search and find the best prices for cruises on the internet. Some cruises also have a special that come with $50 in onboard credit, only available through BookthatVacation.com. You have the option to book it yourself online, and you will get the benefit of having your own personal travel agent to help you have the best vacation possible. You will also have a travel agent that will watch the cruise prices to get you a better deal if prices drop, so you don’t have to keep checking.
My prayers and thoughts go out to all those that lost of loved one on the Costa Concordia.