Cruise debacle has yet to hurt bookings

Travel agent says hesitant first-timers may be dissuaded

Author: Marilyn Moritz, Reporter,
Published On: Feb 15 2013 06:29:56 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 15 2013 06:49:41 PM CST

Accounts of backed-up sewage, cold or non-existent showers and a horrible stench aboard the crippled Carnival Triumph cruise hardly inspire a vacation at sea.

But the impact the debacle will have on the industry is will likely be minimal and won't be known for a while, according to travel agents.

"A lot of people who love to cruise will continue to cruise," said Sandra Llewellyn, with AJ Travel, relocating to 16500 San Pedro Suite 115.

She does not expect the eight-day odyssey will intimidate core cruisers, but may dissuade people who were hesitant about booking a cruise to begin with.

"Maybe some family was going to go on a cruise this summer, I think that's when we'll see whether they (people) what to cruise or not," she said.

The Carnival incident comes during what the industry calls wave season. That's when cruise lines offer promotions to try to book future excursions.

Carnival canceled cruises that were scheduled for the Triumph through April.

Llwellyn had clients booked on those cancelled trips, but she said she offered them the option of rebooking on Disney or Royal Carribbean Princess, which are both sailing out of Galveston at that time.

"The Royal Carribbean rep was in here Tuesday and he said instantly, their next two sailings were sold out," Llewellyn said.

For now prices and bookings remain steady, according to the industry. 

Some say it's too early to tell if it's smooth sailing ahead.