Cruise bookings are down after Concordia tragedy
EUGENE, Ore. -- Stephanie Schultz and Jason Vasquez are getting married in August and want to go on a Mediterranean Cruise for their honeymoon.
But like most people looking forward to a vacation at sea, they said they heard about the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized off the coast of Italy.
In early January, the Concordia cruise ship capsized, killing 17 people and leaving 15 others lost at sea. The search for them was called off this week.
In Eugene, Sunrise Travel agent Shirley Bevill said the disaster could not have happened at a worse time for the cruise industry.
"The best cruise season is January through May," said Bevill at her office on Friday.
Right at the beginning of that busy season, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said the Costa Concordia tragedy has scared away new customers.
The Royal Caribbean call center in Springfield deals mostly with travel agents like Sunrise Travel. While they wouldn't talk to us, a spokesperson for the company in Miami released a statement.
Ian Bailey wrote, "new booking activity has been hurt."
Overall, he said bookings are down between ten and fifteen percent from the same time last year.
But at Sunrise, Bevill said her co-workers haven't noticed a huge drop in calls about cruise bookings.
"Instead of getting five calls a week, we might get four calls a week," said Bevill. "So, a little bit reduced calls, but I'm not sure if it's because people are afraid to go cruising, or if it's that they're choosing to go somewhere else."
After weighing their options, Schultz and Vasquez said the Costa Concordia won't sway them from their first choice.
"Doesn't bother us one bit," said Vasquez. "Yea, we'll go cruising."
"We're willing to take the risk and go on a cruise because that's what we want to do," said Schultz. "And it doesn't scare us one bit."