Why Carnival Cruise Line is More Grateful Than Ever to Past Guests

Carnival Cruise Line knows it has a loyal fan base that, given the choice, will return to its ships time and time again. And as the cruise industry begins to awaken from its long slumber, Carnival believes these loyal customers will play an important role in its ability to recover.

Carnival Glory

Right of first refusal

Officials from all major cruise lines have spoken about the unsatisfied demand they see from potential passengers. It is important to note that when they speak in general terms, they are referring to past guests who know and love cruising and are eager to return to their favorite place.

It is less likely that passengers who have just boarded the ship are also passengers who have just boarded the cruise. Over the years, cruise lines have worked hard to convince people who haven’t experienced a cruise to try it anyway. As Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, told the Wall Street Journal, one of the industry’s biggest challenges before the recent turmoil was convincing people that cruises aren’t just for honeymoons and the elderly.

But when the cruise resumes, the pressure to recruit new recruits will ease….. at least for now.

As explained in Carnival Corporation’s recently published annual report, one of the measures taken to improve liquidity during the shutdown was the sale of ships. The total capacity of the fleet was reduced by 13%. As a result, we expect to become less dependent on new customers, as we retain a base of regular customers spread across a smaller fleet.

Supply, meet demand

That’s not to say there aren’t new cruise enthusiasts booking future trips. In Carnival Corporation’s latest first quarter earnings report, Donald said that about 55 percent of the company’s bookings in 2021 were so-called brand loyalty bookings, while the remaining 45 percent were new Carnival customers, even if they were not cruises.

Back of Carnival Vista pool

But now that cruise ships have received more than their fair share of negative publicity – in some ways, they’ve become the corporate face of human unhappiness – they may face a new hurdle when it comes to attracting newcomers. This is in addition to the negative prejudices and stereotypes that the sector has already acquired.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these loyal customers will be able to find lucrative deals when shipping resumes. Ultimately, limited capacity and pent-up demand will create a seller’s market in which each of the cruise lines will be able to charge a higher price for available cabins.

Still, these loyal customers will probably be happy to pay this higher stake if it means they can finally go to sea again.

READ MORE: 49 things guests of Carnival Cruise Line are missing out on

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