After 'poop cruise' disaster, Carnival slashes rates

At $38 a night, that's cheaper than staying at a Motel 6. But will it be enough to lure vacationers back on board?

By Aimee Picchi Apr 10, 2013 12:21PM

File photo of a Carnival cruise ship in Nassau Harbour, Providence Island, Bahamas (© Paul Brown/Rex Features)A case study in disaster recovery is playing out before our eyes as Carnival (CCL) takes aggressive action to woo consumers who might have been put off by pictures of and reports about the infamous Triumph "poop cruise."

The company is offering a Caribbean cruise at bargain-basement rates, offering berths for as little as $38 a night, Bloomberg reports. The lowest nightly rate at the Motel 6 budget chain is $39.99. 

The big question for Carnival and its investors is whether the cut-rate prices will help persuade vacationers to return. Early signs point to some success with the strategy, with chief executive Micky Arison noting on March 15 that "attractive pricing promotions" were helping to spur bookings. Carnival declined to comment on its pricing, Bloomberg notes. 

That the cruise operator is taking such drastic steps isn't surprising, given the widespread negative publicity surrounding the Triumph, which was stranded for five days in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine fire. 

After reports of food lines and raw sewage running down walls, passengers filed a class-action lawsuit.

So what do adventurous bargain hunters get in exchange for $38 a night? A four-day trip to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral, Fla., with stops in Nassau and Half Moon Cay. The ship includes a comedy club, a piano bar, a casino and a spa, among other amenities. 

The lowest price is for an interior stateroom and is nonrefundable, according to Carnival's website. 

"An empty ship doesn't make as much money," Futura Travel president Manny Lubian told Bloomberg. "They'd rather have bodies in them buying drinks and spending money."

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Apr 10, 2013 12:49PM
avatar least the toilet will flush down at the Motel 6.......
Apr 10, 2013 1:48PM
As long as they guarantee that my mother-in-law will not be there, count me in.
Apr 10, 2013 1:56PM

I cruised from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas last week on Carnival’s Ecstasy ship.  The crew was wonderful.  The ship was clean. The food and entertainment were great.  The beer was cold.  No complaints from me.

Apr 10, 2013 3:45PM
been on 5 Carnival Cruises  , all were excellent without any problems  . it happens
Apr 10, 2013 4:47PM
Please get your facts straight before you claim something that is NOT at all true.

Carnival cruises at $38 are not cheaper than a Motel 6, in fact, Motel 6 is 1/2 price of  Carnival. The Carnival price you state of $38 is PER PERSON and cruises either require double occupancy , or, the single traveler must pay the price of the second person.

This means that for a cabin on a cruise (regardless of 1 person or 2), you'll pay at least $76 for that cabin, whereas, for a room at Motel 6, you'll only pay the $38.

So please, with your infinite wisdom, explain to me how you can HONESTLY say that the cabin on the cruise is cheaper than a room at Motel 6???

Apr 10, 2013 2:46PM

I'm not a cruise expert but wife and I did go on one for honeymoon, prior to all the problems, and had a great time with no issue. Honestly, if not for high airfare, and young kids, I might give it a try. Let's remember there were some horror stories but not everyone had that experience and the media, like usual, did all the could to hype the story and milk it for what its worth. Doesn't excuse what happened or if there is negligence on Carnival's part due to maintenance cut backs but still lets look at the truth.

I think its time

Apr 10, 2013 2:54PM
Even if the cruise is not a disaster from the hospitality standpoint these low prices will bring out all the trash, the people that you'll absolutely love spending a week with, trapped on a floating bathtub (sarcasm font)
Apr 10, 2013 4:50PM
We took an inexpensive  cruise out of Galveston a couple years ago.  Nice ship and cruise but the class of people on board spoiled the atmosphere.  I am not referring to their economic status, but their rudeness, language and all around ghetto attitude.
Apr 10, 2013 4:15PM

I have supported Carnival through this whole mess but lowering the rates is a mistake. There will be all kinds of riff raff on the ships now and THAT would keep me away from sailing with them. They are not only compromising their customer base but also the quality of service they will be able to offer. Their staff will not receive the tips and gratuities they are used to and this will affect the type of service they give to all customers. Big mistake! 

I don't see why people go on these anyhow. The entire point of a vacation is to get away from people not get stuck on a ship in the ocean with them and their hellspawn children.
Apr 10, 2013 2:34PM
Let's not forget the Costa Concordia mega disaster (Costa is also owned by Carnival), where 37 people died because of the sheer ineptitude of the Italian captain who insisted on going too close to shore to wave to friends.  The ship was a total loss (500 million $) and still sits in the water off the coast of Italy.This captain should be jailed and not under house arrest as he awaits his day in court.  I can only imagine the lawsuits being filed against Carnival for this unspeakable disaster.
Apr 10, 2013 2:41PM

That is fine, lower rates... Now when the Cruise Line registers the ship under the American Flag, I would give consider a cruise.. at least I would be protected by American Laws!


PS. Yes, the cruise line would also have to pay American Taxes --why it is American Dollars that are paying for the trip anyway, and US Cost Guard would insure  that safety regulations are "fully" enforced!.....

Apr 10, 2013 1:39PM

i would go......better than sitting on a tarmac for hours on end and not being able to use the bathroom at all. After all, no one forced you to go!

Apr 10, 2013 1:08PM
I would turn down a free carnival cruise at this time!!!
Apr 10, 2013 1:52PM
So thats what a "Poop Deck" is......
Apr 10, 2013 3:18PM
I don't see any cruise prices slashed...It must be a secret. The ones i looked at are higher than what we usually pay. : (     The article says $38 a night...cheapest i found for 7 day was $58 per night....  am i not looking in the right place?
Apr 10, 2013 5:24PM
Just took a Carnival cruse last week, it was the best vacation ever. I already booked my 2nd for August.
Apr 10, 2013 12:48PM
avatar least the toilet flushes at the Motel 6........

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