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Carnival cruise prices trend down as Coronavirus fears loom over industry

1 month ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Markets

Cases of coronavirus around the world continue to grow, and the travel industry is already seeing a direct impact. The US announced new travel restrictions and advisories throughout Asia this week, and "staycation" is trending on social media and search engines. It was the cruise industry that was at the center of virus fears from the outset. Princess Cruises' Diamond Princess sat quarantined in a harbor in Japan as cases on board the "floating prison" seemed to grow exponentially.

Speculation is that, at least for 2020, travelers may be staying home rather than taking their chances on a cruise. If that happens, cruise lines may need to lower prices to fill staterooms. So, far, though, that hasn't really happened

But data from February shows that Carnival ($NYSE:CCL) did make some adjustments that appear outside normal seasonal change that we've seen in the past. The first indications of this happening are beginning to show up in-stateroom pricing and inventory data tracked via Carnival Cruise Lines' website, at least when we compare year-over-year pricing trends for this time period. Here's what we're seeing.

Suite prices haven't seen much of a downtrend this year, although at the early part of February prices were down 1.6% compared to last year. However, inventory — along with all staterooms — is up.

Balcony staterooms are seeing a relatively steep downtrend in terms of the year-over-year percentage change. On February 6, prices were down more than 4% year over year on average. As of this week, they're down 2.15% compared to this time last year.

Oceanview staterooms were down more than 5% in the first week of February 2020. As of this week, prices are down 2.4% compared to this time last year.

Interior rooms saw the largest price differential compared to last year, with the average price down 6.7% compared to last year on February 6. As of this week, prices are down an average of 4% compared to this time last year.

Overall, Carnival hasn't made any extreme moves when it comes to stateroom pricing. It's more likely that the line will take the up-front revenue hit rather than change pricing scales for years to come. As always, though, we'll be keeping an eye on the data.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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