Carnival Cruise Lines Is Doing Okay Because Of Umbrella Drink Upsells

Things could have gone terribly wrong for the business prospects of Carnival Cruise Lines since the public-relations disaster and actual disaster that was the sailing of the Triumph. They’ve made it through okay, offering rock-bottom cruise prices and even offering to fly unhappy cruisers home. How did Carnival manage to earn more than Wall Street experts thought they would? Pricey umbrella drinks, mostly.

We mean that literally. In its latest financial report, Carnival reports that cruisers are spending more on board than in the past. Spending is up 10% compared to this time last year.

Last year, in the post-Poop Cruise haze, Carnival was charging less per night to vacation on one of their ships than you would pay at the average Motel 6. Once passengers are on board, after all, they might be inclined to pay more for souvenirs, more fun entertainment options, snacks, higher-end food, and other upsells.

Carnival’s Recovery: Selling Lots of Drinks and More Cheap Cruises [Businessweek]