Posted by: cruise2 | 24 June, 2013

Is CLIA Off Message?

by Kevin Griffin of our London office

As we reported on June 10, former Carnival Cruise Lines president Bob Dickinson has been engaged by Carnival Corp & plc as a consultant to try to help its American brands Carnival, Princess, Holland America and Seabourn to improve their business outlook with travel agents.

Carnival Triumph

Carnival Triumph

In his first interview after this news was announced, with Seatrade Insider on the same day, Dickinson is said to have“ventured an opinion about the cruise industry as a whole after ‘watching CLIA and all the stuff that’s been happening in the last year and a half,” with the message focusing on safety.

“Safety is a given,” he is reported to have told Seatrade.

And as we reported on May 28, “last Wednesday, when no one was expecting it, the new global Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) made one of the most astonishing announcements ever to come from what is supposed to be a marketing organization. It announced a so-called bill of rights for cruise passengers.”

That action came out of the recent travails of Carnival Cruise Lines with the Carnival Triumph.

These are subjects that should be dealt with more behind close doors and not in public press releases. Talking in public about the industry’s problems simply attracts its attention to its shortcomings, and it is probably time that a more positive outlook was taken. The lobbying, which was always carried out from Washington and still consumes about $1.5 million a year, should probably be done with less noise. Previously conducted by the International Council of Cruise Lines, that body was merged into CLIA in 2006, when it became its Washington office.

Meanwhile, on the announcement of the so-called cruise passengers bill of rights, we said, “this idea is nothing more than a cruise line code of conduct dressed up in other clothing. Cruise passengers are not downtrodden masses needing protection, as CLIA seems to portray them. And there are far more important things for CLIA to be doing than over-reacting to the press releases of a single senator.”

If we are to judge from what Dickinson told Seatrade Insider, he agrees. CLIA should long ago have switched back from talking about safety to concentrating on the cruise product and what amazing value it is. It’s been a year and a half since the Costa Concordia tragedy and all the talk about safety, while possibly reassuring, has also probably cost the cruise lines a lot of first timer cruisers, who have been scared away by the discussion.

If one is to judge from the releases from CLIA over the past year and a half it takes itself far too seriously. First, by acting in unison, CLIA and its global partners “rescued” the cruise industry from the ignominy of Captain Schettino’s incompetence on the Costa Concordia.

This event in turn provoked the coming together of all these global cruise organisations into the hegemony of a global CLIA. And now, it’s a so-called cruise passenger bill of rights,

Dickinson is right, of course. As he told Seatrade, “the main message is that we offer really terrific vacations and strong satisfaction at a very high value, and we’ve gotten away from that.”

In adding that this had likely cost the industry in fewer first-timer cruisers, he told Seatrade “we’re a vacation industry. We need to get back to our core values and be much more dynamic.

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  1. 1. if the cruise lines want us to use travel professionals than stop refusing to give us information when you call a cruise line, instead they INSIST you call ‘your agent’
    2. start making solo travel affordable. there is a point when value and price must cross

    • 1. According to my records you have never contacted me despite many requests to so do.

      After 50 years in this industry I do not understand why you don’t.

      2. Do you subscribe to our e-mail single offers?

  2. In 2010, the cruise industry continued to experience growth and its contribution to the U.S. economy. Direct purchases by the cruise lines and their passengers totaled $18.0 billion. This spending resulted in $37.9 billion in total impact. The spending generated 330,000 jobs paying $15.2 billion in wages to American workers.

  3. Carnival Triumph is now stranded without power about 100 miles off the coast of Mexico. (I have been on this ship 3 times so far.) Have you ever been on a stranded ship? Would you take a cruise that ship again? Did the cruise lines treat you right when the ordeal was over. So glad everyone is okay on the Carnival Triumph and wish them a quick trip home.

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