A new poll published today by Harris Interactive shows a decline in the top cruise line’s Quality, Trust & Purchase Intent scores in the aftermath of the February 10, 2013, engine room fire onboard the Carnival Triumph which resulted in the ship being be towed back to Mobile, Alabama.
As one would expect, Carnival Cruise Line’s Quality, Trust & Purchase Intent scores did drop, an average of 16%, in the poll recorded the week after the Carnival Triumph returned to Mobile. However, other top cruise lines, including Disney Cruise Line, seem to have been affected based the results of this latest survey. The Harris Poll surveyed 2,230 adults familiar with each cruise line, and compared the results to a similar survey taken before the incident.
Overall, Disney Cruise Line was in line with the 7-Cruise Line average in each category. The results placed Disney with the second highest drop in the Quality category, but the lowest drop in the purchase intent category. I am left scratching my head. The perceived quality of a Disney Cruise has decreased, but the intent to purchase does not reflect this mindset. Notably, Holland America saw a 6% drop in perceived quality, but a 1% increase in intend to purchase.
After seeing the scores for Holland America and Disney Cruise Line, I think the key factor indicator in this study is the purchase intent. Quality and trust in a cruise line are important, but it ultimately comes down to a person’s willing to book that future cruise.
Over half of Americans (53%) agree that they’re less likely to take a cruise now than they were a year ago, though this sentiment appears to be stronger among those who have never taken a cruise (58%) than among those who have (43%) – indicating that long term impacts from this incident could hit first-time cruise sales the hardest. – Harris Poll #11 March 4, 2013
Based on results of this survey, I would say Carnival and Norwegian will have to do the most of the grunt work to improve the overall perception of the cruise industry. If you exclude those lines from the purchase intent the average drops in half to -3%. At the end of the day, Carnival Cruise Line took a hit, as expected, in the public opinion polls with the rest of the industry simply getting caught up in the wake.
What do you think? Did the Carnival Triumph incident impact your cruise plans?