Survey: Carnival Poop Cruise Has Scuttled Public Perception Of Entire Cruise Industry

Image courtesy of No Carnival news ever seems to be good.

No Carnival news ever seems to be good.

No Carnival news ever seems to be good.

The bad times continue for Carnival Cruise lines, following a number of ugly high-profile profile incidents on their ships — most notably the “Poop Cruise” aboard the stranded Carnival Triumph, consumer sentiment about Carnival and the entire cruise industry is sinking.

According to a new survey of seven major cruise lines by Harris Interactive, public perception of cruise quality dropped for every single company in the wake of the Triumph calamity.

Harris looked at its Quality index scores for these cruise lines before and after a fire in the Triumph’s engine room left it stranded hundreds of miles off the coast and without functioning plumbing. In the two weeks between Feb. 8 and Feb. 21, the Quality index dropped for each of the seven cruise lines. Obviously, Carnival’s took the hardest hit, dipping 18% from an index score that was already the worst of the bunch. Celebrity did the best at maintaining its pre-Poop Cruise score, only dropping 2% during those weeks, while Princess (which is actually a Carnival brand) and Royal Caribbean fared okay with only a 4% decline in score.

Lest you think that time heals all wounds, Harris says that scores continued to take on water two months after the Triumph was towed back to port.

According to data from mid-May, Quality scores for each of the seven cruise lines had dipped even further. Since January, Carnival’s score is now down an astounding 28%, while Princess (-10%), Holland America (-11%), and Disney (-11%) have all had double-digits declines in the first half of 2013. Royal Caribbean remains the least scarred by the negative publicity, showing only an 8% drop in score, enough to maintain a second-place ranking behind Disney.

Similarly, the public’s trust of cruise lines has dropped like an anchor in recent months. Once again, Carnival leads the way with a 26% nosedive in its Trust index since January, followed by Norwegian (-12%), Celebrity (-11%), and Holland America (-10%). Overall, the trust index for the cruise lines is down 12% so far this year.

But while survey respondents seem to be more concerned about cruise lines than they were only a few months ago, the survey shows that they are divided on whether or not this has affected their likelihood of booking a cruise vacation.

When asked if they were less likely to book a cruise now than they were a year ago, 51% agreed, though only 28% strongly agreed. Meanwhile, 49% of respondents disagreed with that statement.

Of course, some of those people probably had no absolutely no desire for going on a cruise a year ago, so the subsequent headline-making incidents couldn’t change their opinion.

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