While countries like Israel and the United Kingdom are beginning to prepare for new cruises, albeit slowly and with appropriate security measures in place, demand for cruises in the United States continues to grow.
Earlier this year, two cruise lines broke sales records with two world cruises. Silversea’s South Side Story – All the World’s a Stage cruise and Oceania’s 180-day Around The World cruise, both scheduled for 2023, were sold out the day they went on sale.
Cruiseline.com partnered with Shipmate to survey 11,000 travelers as part of its Return to Cruise survey. Questions were asked about when travelers would feel ready to go on a cruise and whether they would feel comfortable on a cruise if passengers were vaccinated.
Ninety-three percent of those surveyed said they were considering sailing in 2021 or 2022. More than half of them said they wanted to take a cruise as early as 2021, with the Caribbean and Alaska being the two most popular destinations.
Although there is no official CDC statement on the vaccination needs of cruise ship passengers, the issue has been discussed by both travelers and industry representatives. Seventy-two percent of those planning to travel in 2021 or 2022 said they would also travel if a vaccine was needed, while 17 percent said they would not.
Valerie Dorsey, VTA, MCC, a Cruise Planners franchisee, has noticed a strong demand for longer cruises among her clients: People are planning cruises and we are getting more and more calls every day, especially this month. Those who have vaccines call and reserve them for 2021 and 2022. 2021 fills up very quickly as it is sometimes difficult to find cabins in certain categories.
Opinions are more divided on possible mask requirements on board cruises. If masks were still needed when they resumed the cruise, 22% said they would not take the cruise, while more than half said they would. Perhaps this is evidence of fatigue from the pandemic and a desire to return to normalcy, more so than among those who would have refused to go had vaccination been mandatory.
The biggest concern is the swimming requirement, Dorsey said. Many are happy to have received the vaccine and are willing to wait for more details as the swim approaches. Others are upset about the need for the vaccine and don’t want it. Most of those I have booked feel that the cruise lines go to great lengths to protect them and are eager to get back to sea.
Americans clearly want to go back to swimming like they did before the pandemic, and they are hopeful that they will be able to do so again very soon.
frequently asked questions
Is the cruise industry growing?
Cruises were until recently the fastest growing sector of the travel industry. Over the past five years, demand has increased by 20.5%. Statistics show that about 26.7 million people opted for a cruise in 2017, followed by 28.5 million in 2018 and an estimated 32 million in 2020 1.
Why are cruises becoming increasingly popular?
Many people choose to holiday on a cruise because of the value for money, the food, the care and the family atmosphere. Romance, variety, reunion, new experiences and simplicity are also high on the list of reasons to take a cruise holiday.
Why is the cruise industry growing?
Key trends that will shape the industry over the next decade include an emphasis on maintaining capacity and reducing waste, the use of single cruise ships, the growing number of two- and three-day micro-cruises and the continued growth of luxury expedition cruises.
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