Cruise Lines Report Increased Bookings

The cruise industry, slowed at the end of 1990 and the beginning of this year by the Persian Gulf War combined with a national recession, is showing signs of recovery. Some of the biggest operators out of Florida, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise and Norwegian Cruise, report a surge in bookings.

According to a spokesman for Royal Caribbean, for example, the cruise line recently finished a fiveweek period of record bookings, averaging between 15,000 to 16,000 calls per day.

Carnival reported revenues of over $328 million for the first quarter of 1991, up about 27 percent from the same quarter in 1990. Carnival reported the revenue increases were due for the most part to added capacity.

In reporting the results, Micky Arison, Carnival's chairman and CEO, said, "When you consider eveything we had working against us—increased capacity in the industry, the recession and the outbreak of the war—our results for the first quarter are remarkable." Besides the settlement of the war, other factors such as price reductions and the introduction of new ships into the market. Cruise line executives also point to the cruise's all-inclusive quality, which makes it an attractive vacation to consumers facing a recession and the fact that Americans seem to be relucant to travel abroad this year.

Carnival will add the 2,600-passenger Ecstacy, sister ship to the Fantasy, in June. Royal Caribbean will take delivery of two new superliners, the Monarch of the Seas, in November and the Majesty of the Seas in May 1992. Kloster plans to add a liner in November 1992 and early 1993.

Cruise line executives voiced their optimism that the upward swing would continue.

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