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Prices for Carnival cruises are lower than normal

Updated: April 12, 2013 3:08PM



NEW YORK — Carnival Cruise Lines prices have taken a dip this spring, according to pricing data, and some industry observers are blaming headlines over problems on several Carnival ships.

Todd Elliott, owner of Cruise Vacation Outlet, said his agents have seen a drop in price of 20 percent or more for equivalent cruises.

“Rates are far lower than I have seen in a while for example, the Carnival Dream, seven nights, Eastern Caribbean out of Port Canaveral, May 4 is $299 per person,” he said. “Last year a similar Carnival cruise would have been at least $399 or higher.”

Elliott added that this “seems to be 100 percent a Carnival Cruise Lines issue and not across all cruise lines.”

The drop in fares began after an engine fire on the Carnival Triumph in mid-February. The ship lost power and passengers endured filthy conditions as the Triumph was towed to Mobile, Ala., resurrecting stories of a similar incident from 2010 aboard the Carnival Splendor. A number of sailings on the Triumph were canceled as it undergoes repairs. Since then, cruises were canceled aboard the Carnival Sunshine while it undergoes a makeover; a trip on the Carnival Dream ended early, with passengers flown home from the Caribbean due to a generator failure, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Vessel Sanitation Program gave a failing grade to the Carnival Fascination.

Priceline Cruises data showed Carnival prices down from a year ago for April-June departures, including Alaska trips down 20 percent, Bermuda down 18 percent and Mediterranean down 21 percent, but spokesman Brian Ek said Carnival fares appeared to be holding up for July on.

There are also seasonal factors in lower prices. Stewart Chiron, who covers the industry at Cruiseguy.com, says “sailings this time of the year tend to have booking weakness as spring break ends and families are preparing for fourth quarter of school year.”

Asked to comment, Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz acknowledged “there are some really fantastic rates available right now. That being said, the rates are not completely unprecedented. This sort of pricing has been offered tactically in the past” in the pre-summer, post-spring break period.



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