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Expert: Problems aren't causing people to cancel their cruise

PHOENIX -- A Valley travel expert said despite recent problems on Carnival cruises, people don't appear to be having second thoughts about getting on board.

Louie Thiele is the co-host of KTAR's Sunday afternoon travel show. He said very few people have cancelled their cruise.

"They're all thinking, as many people did on the last two ships that got into trouble, ‘they had that terrible problem on the Triumph, what are the chances of it happening again?'

"The problem that Carnival is very concerned about is their company image going forward, and their future bookings," Thiele said.

Thiele said three percent of the American population has taken a cruise in the past year, and that's a lot of people. Bookings were up overall in 2012, but dipped in the later part of the year.

Carnival's president recently announced the cruise line will go through a complete mechanical review of its ships.

Thiele said the company must improve the damage to its image that has been caused by the recent mishaps, and may have to lower prices to lure more people in.

"Carnival is beginning a brand perception problem, and that could cause the company to have to look at a price reduction," Thiele said.

He does not know when that might happen.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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