If you’re one of the 303 million Americans who won’t take a cruise this year, you might want to reconsider your vacation plans. This may be the time to head out to sea.
The reason has little to do with cruise prices, which are rapidly sinking. The average cabin for two costs just $143 per night, according to Priceline. That’s down 13 percent from last month and a four-year low.
It isn’t even the barrage of bad publicity from a series of embarrassing mishaps, including last year’s sinking of the Costa Concordia and Carnival’s infamous “poop” cruise earlier this year, which some say is pushing prices downward as cruise lines vie for your business.
Maybe it was the string of customer-service disasters, starting with the Costa Concordia tragedy last year and leading up to the recent Carnival Triumph “poop” cruise, on which passengers were left adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for five days without working toilets.
Maybe it was the threat of government regulation from Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.), a vocal critic of the cruise industry, that made it move.
I was thrilled when I heard that a coalition of travel professionals was meeting in Washington for a what they called a “stakeholder hearing” on passenger rights. Finally, after years of virtually no representation in the nation’s capital, passengers appeared to be organizing.
Some of the folks who are involved in this effort seem to be genuine advocates for travelers, and I wish them well.