Stinking ship saga unlikely to pull cruise industry far off course
The accident could add to concerns about safety in the industry, where towering ships the size of floating cities have become the norm. But maritime attorney Michael Winkleman said calls for higher safety standards, more oversight and other regulatory changes that might affect cruise lines have fallen on deaf ears in Washington for decades.
"The cruise lines as a whole are spending a tremendous amount of money on lobbyists and doing a very effective job of it," Winkleman said.
"I don't lose sleep over this," said David Crooks, a Boston-based executive with World Travel Holdings, which owns huge travel cruise agencies including CruisesOnly, Cruise Inc and CheapCruises.com.
When asked about the possible impact on consumer demand after the problems of the Triumph drew media scrutiny, he said: "If the price is right, people will travel."
The worldwide cruise industry took a hit last year, due to the Costa Concordia and European debt crisis. But Crooks said the industry was essentially "bullet-proof" to something as relatively minor as the Triumph, which late-night comic Jon Steward described on Thursday as the "Ship of Stools."
Stewart was referring to a virtual feeding-frenzy in the U.S. media after it was first reported that Triumph passengers had been told to use red "biohazard" bags as toilets when backed up toilets and plumbing overflowed.
"Those clients that actually cruise quite often can recognize the value in situations like this," Crooks added, referring to likely discounting and consumer incentives to counter any short-term drop in demand.
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