Favorable numbers were reported by Carnival Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises in March, as tremendous vacation values and effective tools paid off.
For the one-week period ended March 1 Carnival recorded the highest number of net weekly bookings in its history. Additionally, on a cumulative basis since mid-January, net bookings are up 10 percent compared to the same period in 2008, although pricing is at lower levels. The weeklong record reservations included all of the line’s 22-vessel fleet, which depart from a variety of drive-up homeports throughout the U.S.
Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO, attributed the increase in bookings to the line’s travel agent partners and consumers’ appreciation for the inherent value and affordability of a Fun Ship vacation, as well as aggressive marketing efforts. Among the marketing channels utilized is an online strategy that includes targeted e-mail sales promotions and a one-day sale promotion.
“This record booking activity, while at lower pricing, is certainly encouraging. It tells us that despite the uncertain economic climate, consumers clearly need more fun in their lives and view their vacations as a valuable and necessary part of that,” Cahill said.
At the same time, Princess Cruises reported that booking volume during the current Wave Season has surpassed the same period last year by nearly six percent. Princess credits both lower prices and agents who have utilized the line’s sales support tools to generate business in the current economic climate for the sales volume.
“Travel agents gave us a record-breaking reservations day in January, and this further result shows that they continued to sell Princess cruises at an extraordinary rate throughout the first two months of the year,” said Jan Swartz, Princess’ executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service. “Despite the headlines we see every day, now is a great time for agents to build their cruise business.”