Travelers still booking cruises

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Those horrifying images out of Italy are difficult to forget so NBC12 wanted to know whether or not they are stopping travelers from choosing cruises for their next vacation.

We've learned cruising has a reputation for being one of the safest modes of travel and is possibly about to get safer. Thursday, the parent company of the cruise line involved in the Costa Concordia accident and nine others announced an extensive review of all emergency procedures to make sure a tragedy like this isn't repeated.

James and Sandra Morrison have booked their fair share of cruises.

"We have been to Alaska, the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Hawaii," Sandra recalled.

They're heading out on a 14-day cruise to the Caribbean in March and were watching closely when news broke of the Costa Concordia's wreck off the coast of Tuscany broke.

"I never one second said 'oh I'm not gonna cruise,'" Sandra told us.

15 million passengers set sail each year and Sandra is one who's keeping the tragedy in perspective.

"I worry more about getting to the airport that I'm gonna have a wreck than I do the safety on a cruise," she said.

We called numerous travel agencies across our area and that seems to be the thinking among travelers planning vacations. In fact, at Crossroads Travel Dan Smith explained few potential tourists have mentioned the disaster. Thursday, agents booked four cruise vacations.

"Most people realize it's a very, very rare occurrence and cruising still continues to be one of the safest ways to vacation," he said.

We've learned the Coast Guard conducts announced and surprise inspections of all ships leaving U.S. ports.  James Morrison believes that coupled with news of an audit of safety procedures could put new cruisers at ease.

"It's always good to go over all your plans and stuff to do because you never know when something like this is going to happen," he said.

Smith explained only time will tell what the true impact of the Costa Concordia wreck may be. If we see sales on cruises in the next two to three weeks, that's an indication demand has gone down.

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