Earlier this year, two cruise lines broke sales records with two world cruises. Silversea’s South Side Story – All the World’s a Stage world cruise and Oceania’s Around The World in 180 Days world cruise, both for 2023, sold out the day they opened for sale.
Cruiseline.com, together with Shipmate, surveyed 11,000 travelers in their Return to Cruising Survey, asking questions about when travelers will feel ready to cruise and whether they’d feel comfortable cruising if cruises require guests to be vaccinated.
Ninety-three percent of those surveyed responded that they’d consider cruising in 2021 or 2022. More than half of these said they’d cruise as soon as 2021, with the Caribbean and Alaska being the top two desired destinations.
While there has been no formal statement from the CDC regarding vaccine requirements for cruise travelers, it has been debated among both travelers and those within the industry. Seventy-two percent of those who’d like to travel in 2021 or 2022 reported that they would cruise even if a vaccine is required, while seventeen percent said they would not.
Valerie Dorsey, VTA, MCC, franchise owner at Cruise Planners, noticed a strong demand for longer cruises among her clients: “People are planning for cruises, and we are getting more calls each day this month in particular. Those that have their vaccines are calling and booking for 2021 and 2022. 2021 is actually filling up very fast and finding cabins in certain categories is sometimes difficult.”
People are more divided about the potential for mask requirements onboard cruises. If masks were still required when cruising resumed, twenty-two percent said they would not cruise, while more than half indicated they would still go on a cruise. Perhaps an indication of pandemic fatigue and a desire to get back to normal, the number is still greater than those who would refuse to travel if vaccinations were required.
“The main concerns are the requirement to sail,” said Dorsey. “Many are happy they have had the vaccine and are willing to wait for other details as we get closer to sailing. Others are upset about the need for a vaccine to sail and don’t want to get them. Most I have booked feel that the cruise lines are bending over backwards to keep them safe, and can’t wait to sail again.”
Americans are clearly eager to get back to cruising as they did prior to the pandemic and have hope that they will be able to do so once again very soon.