Photo by Seth J.

Are you having second thoughts about taking a cruise after hearing about the recent cruise ship mishap? It’s understandable, but don’t rule it out just yet – the recent troubles present an opportunity for would-be cruisers.

The troubled Carnival Triumph left thousands of passengers with a very disappointing experience. What would otherwise be a fun filled, pampered and relaxing vacation turned sour when an engine fire left the ship without power for five days. This caused a multitude of problems including being adrift in the Gulf of Mexico, disrupted sanitation systems, water outages, and food shortages. What’s more, this PR nightmare comes in the wake of the Costa Concordia disaster last year where a cruise ship ran aground and sank off the coast of Italy.

Although the passengers of the Triumph are being compensated with refunds, cash, transportation expenses, and cruise credit, I am guessing that some onboard wished they had never stepped foot on the ship.

Not to minimize the ordeal of the Triumph passengers, but incidents such as these are relatively rare. The cruise industry has a very good record considering the hundreds of ships that are out there sailing at any given time. Meanwhile, delays and malfunctions are not uncommon among airlines. Anyone who have done much airline travel has experienced this. The more you travel or just walk out your front door to experience life, the more opportunities you have for both adventure and misadventure.

So, should you book a cruise? I say yes! Consider this a buying opportunity. We know that the best time to buy something is when the demand and price is low. Take a lesson from the stock and real estate markets. When an otherwise good company’s stock is priced low due to temporary setbacks, smart investors buy. Similarly there have been amazing buys in the real estate market the last couple of years.

Now, there are amazing cruise deals out there. My inbox is filled with specials from various cruise lines. The industry is offering powerful incentives such as reduced cruise and airline fares along with onboard credit to entice potential passengers. If you want to take advantage, I suggest checking with individual cruise line websites first. Travel agencies and websites selling cruises often have their own blocks of rooms and deals to offer as well. A couple of sites to try are vacationstogo, lastminutecruises, and cruises.com.

It takes a leap of faith to do something in the face of bad press. Seasoned cruisers can put the mishaps into context because they have a wealth of positive experiences to draw on. New cruisers don’t have that same perspective.

I have to say that in my four years of cruising, I have never experienced a problem that I could blame on the ship or its crew. I recall a delay returning to Southampton, England at the end of a cruise a few years back – but this was not due to a ship problem. One of the passengers onboard had a severe health issue, so the ship diverted to a port in France where the traveler could be admitted to a hospital. On a few cruises, weather made conditions too dangerous to attempt to dock at a pier causing the ship to bypass a scheduled port. In all cases, the ship was doing what was safest for the passengers onboard.

So, if you like being at sea, enjoy traveling to new destinations, and like the idea of a staying on a floating hotel with amenities, then this is an opportune time to make plans to go on a cruise.

What do you think? Are you still worried about cruising? Do you think you’ll take advantage of the great deals available now? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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