Even before the second Costa cruise liner hit trouble in the Indian Ocean, prices of Mediterranean cruises had dropped by 15% in the wake of the earlier Costa Concordia disaster, claims a leading travel industry website.
According to Travelzoo, the average lowest price per night on a Med cruise was £76 in early 2011, but this fell to £64 following the disaster off Tuscany.
Joel Brandon-Bravo, managing director of Travelzoo UK, says: “The effect of the Costa disaster has been felt across the industry, with many reports of enquiries dropping 20% to 30% in the weeks following the accident. In general, we have found that the cruise market has been subdued until late January.
“Understandably and wisely, cruise lines and travel agents tactfully suspended much of their marketing activity following the tragedy, particularly where the Med was concerned. Over the past six weeks, we featured only half the number of Med cruise deals that we featured over the same period last year.
“However, this month a number of top cruise lines including NCL, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean have launched major sales to reignite demand, with agents such as Iglu Cruise also lending support to kick-start the industry.
“These have been very popular and have offered customers fantastic value, including large discounts up to 50% off, free flights and cabin upgrades.
“Consumers expect prices to be lower than usual and are shopping around for a bargain. If they play their cards right, they should find one.
“So far as the latest incident is concerned, it is too early to judge exactly how cruise lines or consumers will react. This situation has the potential to impact the Costa brand long term.”