A survey conducted by leading cruise booking company Cruise Compete has reported that the vast majority of cruise passengers, 86.6%, are likely to cruise again in 2021.
The optimistic outlook from the cruise market is an encouraging sign for cruise lines amid growing debt and ever more extreme measures being taken to conserve cash flow amid the global shutdown of the cruise industry.
In the survey, Cruise Compete asked its customer base if COVID-19 has changed how they will choose their next cruise.
While 58.7% said they will compare the onboard policies of cruise lines before booking, 86.6% said they were likely to cruise in 2021, while 62.3% said they definitely would, if travel restrictions allow.
In another encouraging sign for big ship cruise lines, which face a potential economic downturn when it does return to cruising, only 12.8% expect to have less money to spend, and just 10.3% have an increased interest in river cruising.
“CruiseCompete members as a whole have been on far more sailings than the average cruise consumer,” said CruiseCompete CEO Bob Levinstein. “They know the onboard experience that they’re looking for, and they will definitely consider how COVID-19 mitigation will affect that when choosing their next cruise vacation.”
However, the survey did reveal a change in cruise habits, with 20.8% saying they would prefer to book cruises that require no or fewer flights, while 17.7% expressed a preference for smaller ships.
Top destinations (respondents were encouraged to select all that apply) are Caribbean/Mexico (57.2%), Europe (43.5%) and Alaska (13.7%).
Other destinations of interest include Hawaiian Islands and South Pacific, Canada / New England, World, Transatlantic, Antarctica, Galapagos Islands, Panama Canal and Asia. Respondents also expressed a “write-in” interest in river cruises and small ships.
“CruiseCompete’s model of empowering consumers to research and select a sailing, and then compare multiple, competing custom offers from the top agencies in the business attracts the most-sophisticated cruisers out there,” added Levinstein.
“They need the least hand-holding and have talked to enough people on previous cruises to know just how much you can save by shopping around. That educated consumers are so ready to start cruising again speaks volumes for the health of the industry.”