Carnival Cruise Lines set a one-month reservations record, taking net bookings (new reservations minus cancellations) for more than 565,000 guests between January 1 and January 31, 2014. The record number of reservations was 17 percent higher than the same one-month period a year ago. Additionally, traffic to the cruise line's web site www.carnival.com also reached an all-time high with 13 million visits during the one-month period.
Bookings were at unprecedented levels across the line's 24-ship fleet, which operates three- to 23-day voyages from a wide range of convenient North American homeports as well as cruises from Australia.
Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill attributed the record booking activity to a number of factors, including continued product enhancements and innovations being introduced across the Carnival fleet, very attractive promotions in the marketplace, strong support from travel agent partners, and a new "Moments that Matter" advertising campaign launched last fall, which is currently in heavy rotation in broadcast and digital channels. Cahill also cited increasing recognition among consumers that Carnival cruises provide a truly exceptional vacation value.
"Now is the time of year when many people focus on their upcoming vacation plans and the cruise industry typically sees an escalation in booking activity. We are definitely observing a strong uptick in reservations with bookings coming in at unprecedented levels," said Cahill. "We are seeing heavy sales growth in all channels, particularly via our travel agent partners, and we would like to express our tremendous appreciation for their support," he added. Cahill also pointed out that Carnival did not introduce any new ships in 2013 so added capacity would not account for the stronger booking activity. "More than anything, I believe consumers are increasingly recognizing that, when it comes to an exceptional vacation experience at a great value, Carnival easily comes out on top."
Among the new initiatives introduced over past several months are a one-of-kind vacation guarantee that gives consumers the option of ending their voyage early and flying home at Carnival's expense if they are dissatisfied for any reason, a comprehensive revamp of the line's main dining room offerings, and a fun and exciting partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to enhance the activities programming for Carnival's youngest guests. Last month, the line announced an enhancement to its live music offerings through upgraded house bands and the Carnival LIVE concert series which features performances by many of today's top artists including Jennifer Hudson, Gavin DeGraw, Lady Antebellum, Olivia Newton-John, Daughtry, Styx, Martina McBride, Jewel and many others.
Additionally, the line has continued to roll out its $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement program across the fleet, which includes a variety of hugely popular new dining, bar and entertainment upgrades. In 2014, a total of 11 Carnival ships will feature major Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements, including vessels that sail from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Tampa, New Orleans and Galveston.
Carnival, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), is "The World's Most Popular Cruise Line®" with 24 ships operating three- to 23-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Panama Canal, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Tahiti. The company's 25th ship, the 135,000-ton Carnival Vista, is scheduled to enter service in 2016.
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