Carnival Cruise Lines saw January bookings rise by 17% to a record for the month of more than 565,000.
The 24-ship line, which was plagued with onboard technical problems last year, also saw traffic to the Carnival.com website hit an all-time high of 13 million visits last month.
The company did not give a breakdown of where the bookings were sourced from, but the vast majority of Carnival’s business is from the US.
But it said bookings were at “unprecedented levels” across the line’s 24-ship fleet, which operates three to 23-day cruises from a range of North American homeports as well as cruises from Australia.
President and chief executive Gerry Cahill attributed the record booking activity to a number of factors, including continued product enhancements and innovations being introduced across the fleet, attractive promotions, strong support from travel agents and a new ‘Moments that Matter’ US advertising campaign.
“Now is the time of year when many people focus on their upcoming vacation plans and the cruise industry typically sees an escalation in booking activity,” he said.
“We are definitely observing a strong uptick in reservations with bookings coming in at unprecedented levels.
“We are seeing heavy sales growth in all channels, particularly via our travel agent partners, and we would like to express our tremendous appreciation for their support.”
Cahill also pointed out that Carnival did not introduce any new ships in 2013 so added capacity would not account for the stronger booking activity.
“More than anything, I believe consumers are increasingly recognising that, when it comes to an exceptional vacation experience at a great value, Carnival easily comes out on top,” he added.
Among the new initiatives introduced are a vacation guarantee that gives US consumers the option of ending their voyage early and flying home at Carnival’s expense if they are dissatisfied for any reason, a revamp of the line’s main dining room offerings, and a partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
The line announced its Carnival LIVE concert series last month featuring performances by artists including Jennifer Hudson, Gavin DeGraw, Lady Antebellum, Olivia Newton-John, Styx and Jewel.
The company is continuing to expand its $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement across the fleet, including new dining, bar and entertainment upgrades.
A total of 11 Carnival ships will feature major Fun Ship 2.0 improvements this year, including vessels that sail from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Tampa, New Orleans and Galveston.
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