Carnival takes hit in Harris poll

A Harris Interactive poll taken just after the crippling engine fire on the Carnival Triumph found a 13% decline in people's intention to vacation on Carnival Cruise Lines

The survey, when compared with poll data from January, also found single-digit declines in intention to cruise with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line.

"While purchase intent is dropping for some brands, those lost potential sales are not being captured by any of the other tested cruise lines," said Harris Poll Insights Vice President Deana Percassi.

That could be trouble for the cruise industry. But the results of the online poll of 2,230 adults taken Feb. 19 to 21 may be swayed by how closely it followed publicity about the event, which occurred a little more than a week before the poll was taken.

Last year, Harris waited four months after the fatal Costa Concordia accident to inquire about it. The polling data from May 2012 found it had "very little impact" on how likely people were to take a cruise.

The latest poll, titled "Choppy Waters Ahead," found that perceptions about quality at Carnival and other cruise lines had dropped, as had scores on questions about trust.

The poll found 53% said they were less likely to take a cruise than a year ago. Only 35% agreed that cruises are "worry-free." Among people who had taken at least one cruise, however, the worry-free number rose to 53%.

In another finding, 57% agreed that air travel is "much more reliable" than cruising, although only 50% agreed it was safer.

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