The big cruise lines have seen some rough water in recent months.
Despite an admirable safety record, and extremely high ratings by consumers in terms of vacation value for dollar spent, the well documented troubles on the Carnival Triumph this year, and more recently, a fire on Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas, have brought about unwelcome and negative media focus. The images we saw of passengers sleeping on bare mattresses, in hot muddy ship corridors, without bathrooms or food, easily the vacation nightmare of a lifetime, will take a while to fade away, and have kept many potential guests and investors on shore. In addition, a weak European economy has cut into sales, in a market that represents over 21% of cruise destinations. However, over the long- term neither investors nor passengers may be put off.