Cruise Line Sentiment Tanks as Americans Would Rather Fly

Skift Take

The last thing cruise lines needed was the norovirus outbreaks of a few months ago. They have to find a different way to combat and communicate about the outbreaks because the public isn’t buying the argument that these incidents are rare and not a major concern.

— Dennis Schaal

Americans’ perceptions of seven major cruise brands seemed to be recovering in January, almost a year after the Carnival Triumph incident, but they plunged anew in February after a string of norovirus incidents, according to a just-released Harris Poll.

In the online survey of 2,059 U.S. adults February 10-14, 2014, quality, trust and perception scores were down 11%, 12% and 13%, respectively, compared with sentiment prior to the Carnival Triumph debacle, after norovirus incidents on Princess Cruise Lines’ Caribbean Princess, the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas and the Norwegian Star.

Major cruise lines such as Carnival seek to target the Loyalist, the Newbie and the Switcher, and the Harris Poll offers what must be disheartening news to cruise lines about the U.S. Newbie — consumers who have never cruised before.

A majority (58%) of poll respondents who have never cruised indicated they are less likely to take a cruise vacation now than they were a year ago, and overall 54% of respondents likewise were less ready to cruise than a year earlier.

In fact, a majority of respondents indicated they considered air travel more reliable than a cruise (59%) and safer (54%), as well.

If you are wondering, the poll was not commissioned by an airline. A spokesperson says no outside company commissioned the poll.

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