Rising fuel costs are prompting Carnival to position ships in markets where cruisers can drive to ports, said Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Gerry Cahill.

Cahill, speaking onboard the new Carnival Splendor last week, said Carnival was aiming to make cruising more attractive to prospective customers who find the cost of flying prohibitive. He cited Carnival's plan to sail cruises year-round from Baltimore, a first for the line, as an example.

However, the decision to base the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride in Baltimore means the ship must travel farther to reach Caribbean ports.

"We're going to consume more fuel on that ship," Cahill said. "So that's a little counterintuitive."

But, he added, "Fares are expensive and airlines have cut back. I'm trying to position my ships close to my passengers. We are reviewing itineraries but there's only so much you can do. From a guest perspective, they want to go to certain ports."

Meanwhile, working groups within Carnival Corp. are focused on identifying ways to cut the company's fuel consumption, said Carnival Corp. CEO Micky Arison. He said the groups were working on 180 fuel-consumption-related projects.

"Each one is small, but collectively they can save a significant amount of fuel," Arison said. "It's not something you can do overnight."


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