Travel agency cruise concerns

Travel agents preparing for backlash after Carnival Triumph incident


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Travel agents and investors have been preparing for possible backlash after the Carnival Triumph was stranded for days, catching worldwide attention.

Some fear it could rival the shake-up felt after the Costa Concordia ran aground and capsized in Italy.

There have not yet been any cruse cancellations, but many think that is a possibility in the near future.

Cruisemax is a travel agency in San Marco. Peach Brinkley owns the shop and said she prepares for the worst after things like this, but has not dealt with any skeptical customers yet.

"There's no better value then to have over 20 million people cruising every single year," Brinkley said. "That shows what a good value it is. Every once in a while something like this will happen and they have done an excellent job taking care of them."

Brinkley has owned this boutique travel agency in San Marco for more than 20 years.

Only a few days have passed since the Carnival Triumph disaster, but she's measuring it's effect to her business by comparing it to the Costa Concordia tragedy.

"When the Costa went down and everything, that didn't hurt me," Brinley said. "Some people said it did to them, but I have a loyal following and I have not had a problem with it."

Brinkley said her company hasn't fielded any cancellations over the past week. There's been speculation about the effect this disaster at sea will have on cruise vacation prices, but with daily rates already under $100 per person to the Caribbean, they may not go much lower.

"If anything, it brings attention to the cruise industry and they'll call and I'll explain to them it doesn't happen all the time and get them booked on something else other then Carnival," Brinkley said.

If bookings go down, experts said the cruise lines will respond by dropping prices, but that hasn't been seen yet.

Carnival stock is a different story -- shares are bound to go down as they deal with this public relations nightmare for quite some time.