Will “Nightmare Cruise Video” Hurt Industry Bookings?

Twitter and Facebook have been abuzz in the last 48 hours after the release of a video showing the chaos on board a cruise ship when it was battered with heavy waves back in 2008. Major cable and broadcast news operations have also aired the video, and are billing it as “the video that cruise lines don’t want you to see,” but could it actually do damage to ticket sales?

“Anyone seeing the video is going to be shocked, but experienced cruisers understand that those conditions are extreme and rarely encountered,” says Rob Golledge of Amadeus, a business consulting firm that works closely with cruise lines in the United Kingdom. “More likely, those that aren’t inclined to take a cruise will use it as an excuse to justify their choice.”

Golledge says it’s possible cruise lines may provide more assurance about these types of events on their websites and brochures, though we don’t see that happening. Cruise line literature, as with any other travel oriented business, is never going to be anything but pictures of people having fun under a clear blue sky and near pristine beaches.

The cruise lines have even spun Hurricane Season into a positive light by offering “Wave Season” sales, which sound a lot better than, “We may have to drop you 500 miles away from where you boarded and left your car – which is now totaled” sale.

Cruisers know this is rare, and the weather encountered in this video is even rarer. It’s not going to increase bookings, but don’t expect the cruise lines to see any measurable drop in sales either.

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