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CEO: Disney Cruise Line bookings down, too

Entertainment giant Disney is the latest cruise ship operator to note a drop in cruise bookings in the wake of the Costa Concordia accident.

Disney CEO Bob Iger told CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo and Julia Boorstin on Tuesday that the company saw a slowdown in calls to its reservation centers after the Jan. 13 event.

“Overall, the entire cruise ship business was affected by the crash in Italy,” Iger said. “And I know that — we can speak for ourselves, but we know this is true across the business — that our call centers have decreased in volume. And our bookings for the week were down somewhat because of that.”

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Still, Iger noted that overall Disney’s cruise business remains very strong. The company’s ships, including the soon-to-debut, 2,500-passenger Disney Fantasy, already are 75% booked for the year, he said.

“We have added 40% more inventory (with the new ship), so we’re selling many more rooms,” Iger noted. “We’re about 75% booked, (and) that’s a very good sign. I think that says a lot about the business and about the economy.”

Royal Caribbean Cruises, the parent company of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and several other cruise brands, said on Thursday in a quarterly earnings report that booking volume from North American customers had fallen by the “low to mid-teens,” percentage-wise, since the Costa Concordia accident. Industry giant Carnival Corp., the parent company of Costa, Princess, Carnival and more than half a dozen other brands, on Monday noted a similar decline in bookings.

Cruise executives have said they expect the downturn to be relatively short-lived, and so far major cruise operators generally have been holding the line on fares.

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