Will disaster off Italy's coast affect San Diego's cruise indust - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Will disaster off Italy's coast affect San Diego's cruise industry?

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - After the cruise ship disaster off the coast of Italy, some are wondering if it will have an affect on San Diego's cruise ship industry.

The cruise ship industry faces an uphill task of restoring confidence among customers spooked by the images of the capsized cruise ship Costa Concordia.

"Some might have though about canceling, and we reassure them," Gerry Eide of Cruise Planners said.

Eide doubts the tragedy, which was extremely rare, will scare off travelers.

"I don't think it's a big issue how many accidents we have had like this, not too many. I still think cruising is the safest way of travelling," she said.

The first quarter, January through March, is considered a critical booking period across the tourism industry. Experts say because of the timing of this latest catastrophy, it will likely have a short-term affect on the industry. And while some may be putting off cruising for now, Gerry says the group she's most concerned with are the first-time cruisers who were already on the fence about booking.

"We're still trying to reach out to those that have never cruised before. Some people are afraid that they might get sea sick," she said.

On November 9, 2010, the Carnival Splendor, carrying 4,500 passengers, was stranded off the coast of Mexico when the engine room caught fire. Eide says that incident, along with the one in Italy, are extremely rare, and San Diegans should not be afraid to take a cruise. Gerry herself is leaving for her cruise in a week.

"The way that people can travel so easily and travel from port to port without having to pack and unpack, and it's a different way to touch different countries to see is this a place you might want to spend a week at," she said.

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