Broadcast, digital and direct-email marketing efforts have been halted by Carnival Cruise lines in favour of implementing a safety procedure review after its cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, struck an underwater reef off the coast of Italy and killed at least 11 passengers.
"This companywide initiative will identify lessons learned and best practices to further ensure the security and safety of all of our passengers and crew," said Howard Frank, vice chairman and CEO, in the statement after the accident. The review will be led by retired US Navy Captain James Hunn, who has worked with Carnival for more than a decade.
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Members of the travel industry are waiting to find out if -- or how much -- this incident will impact the cruise sector, which is currently pushing to fill its 2012 calendar with discounts and deals. According to Cruise Market Watch, the industry is expected to grow by 5.6 per cent this year.
"The next few weeks will be very telling," Gabe Saglie, senior editor of travel deals website Travelzoo, told the Los Angeles Times. "It's really going to be about the cruisers who are not your seasoned cruisers."
Carnival, the world’s largest cruise company, own 10 cruise lines including Princess, Seabourn, Holland America, Cunard and P&O, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. In a widely publicised move, the 2,667-passenger Carnival Spirit ship – the first cruise liner whose immense height does not allow it to pass under the Sydney Harbour Bridge – will be based fulltime in Sydney beginning in October in preparation for the growing Australian cruising market.