Carnival Cruises offering great deals after Triumph fiasco

April 18, 2013 3:05:44 PM PDT
The recent troubles out on the sea may have you leery of booking your summer vacation. Most cruise liners remained strong in sales, but Carnival is now offering rock bottom prices to fill their ships.

Carnival took a public relations beating after a series of problems, including the most recent Triumph Cruise that was described as "the cruise from hell." But now, for those looking for a bargain cruise price, this might be a way to try one for a small price.

Normally, a cruise priced anywhere around $100 per person per night is considered a deal, but for almost half that, you can set sail.

At Carnival.com, the company is advertising a Family and Friends Sale Event. Out of Galveston, we saw prices in the fall for as little as $52 a night.

"I would do it. I mean if I got a good deal on a cruise, I wouldn't let what's already happened affect me," one consumer said.

And out of Port Canaveral in Florida, the prices are even cheaper. They start at $40 a night for several four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas if you travel in September or December.

"I definitely would take a cruise and do that, because at that price -- $280 a week -- you couldn't beat it," said Ray O'Connell from Port Author.

In the peak summer season, cruises start at $62 a night. That's a little bit more than a Motel 6.

Out of New Orleans in May, we found a seven-night cruise to the eastern Caribbean for $55 a night. Summer peak cruises start at $79 a night.

We checked the competition online and found prices were double on Royal Caribbean. But if you want to book early for a 2014 cruise, Norwegian Cruises has a rate of $64 a night for a seven-night cruise.

But not everyone is sold on the prices featured on Carnival.com. The image of Carnival's cruise ship Triumph left stranded out at sea has left its mark on consumers.

"Why? I don't want to get stuck," consumer Michal Hood said.

Partha Krishnamurthy, associate professor of marketing at UH Bauer College Of Business says Carnival's tactic to win over consumer confidence with low prices may help its reputation.

"They are giving you an opportunity to sample it at the rock bottom price," Krishnamurthy said. "So I think what it might do is bring people who never thought about cruising into cruising."

But Carnival Cruise runs the risk of discounting their brand name permanently.

"They become a low-cost carrier," Krishnamurthy said.

Still at rock bottom prices, some travelers could be lured.

"It is tempting, it is tempting," another consumer said.

Keep in mind, the pricing is fluid. We noticed one cruise was not available today but it was advertised a couple of days ago. We also found cheaper rates this morning versus earlier this week.

The more flexible you are on your travel dates, the better bargain you are going to get. Look for deals in September, October and the first two weeks of December.
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Find Patricia on Facebook at ABC13PatriciaLopez or on Twitter at @patricialopez13


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