Breaking: Carnival booking record signals improving economy with eye on value

Carnival Cruise Lines set a one-week reservations record booking 165,308 guests between Feb. 7-13, 2011, topping the previous one-week reservations record set nearly four years ago. Recent moves made by the line suggest an improving economy but cautious consumers are still seeking value.

“Clearly, consumers are taking advantage of the incredible value that a Carnival cruise provides, not only in terms of our fun on-board experience but also our many convenient close-to-home departure points and wide variety of short itineraries,” Cahill said. “This activity reaffirms that even in today’s economic climate, consumers still want to have fun and view their vacations as an important part of their lives,” he added.

Carnival did not just stumble in to a record-breaking week. They have been working on it for quite some time.Kicking off the year in a socially engaging way, Carnival threw its signature “Fun” hat in the ring as official confetti sponsor of the Times Square New Years Eve 2011 celebration. The sponsorship included multiple opportunities for the line to infuse its version of fun into the festivities including a free-cruise giveaway.

Indeed, Carnival took the lead steering the cruise industry through uncharted social waters introducing their “Hey America, DidJa Ever?” campaign where the line is collecting the “Top 100 Firsts” from over 420,000 Facebook fans. Fans are encouraged to tighten up relationships by sharing experiences through photos and videos aimed to create events and memories. Carnival will help make those dreams come true for fans giving away anything from cruise vacations for four to appearing on stage with a favorite band.

Value is the name of the game when it comes to cruise pricing and Carnival’s Early Saver Fare, guaranteed by the line to be the lowest available, has become wildly popular. Ranking high on top cruise value lists, the fare is much like a restricted air fare. The Early Saver fare requires a non-refundable deposit and no changes can be made without penalty. But the trade-off is the best value offered by the line, even beating past-guest, military and senior rates.

The big question: Why don’t other lines offer a similar program?

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