New survey reveals the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on first-time and long-time cruiser sentiments.
U.S. News & World Report revealed new data that takes an in-depth look into traveler sentiments around cruising. Announced exclusively during a webinar at the Seatrade Global Conference, results disclose that cruisers are eager to travel again. Almost a quarter of those surveyed are already booked for a future voyage – a number that is higher than pre-pandemic levels.
"The coronavirus pandemic has had an outsized effect on the travel industry, especially the cruise sector, and the public's appetite for travel," said Erin Evans, managing editor of Travel at U.S. News & World Report. "However, interest in cruising has barely wavered over the past year and a half, and veteran cruisers are itching to get back out on the water while many travelers are interested in taking their first cruise ever."
The website survey ran over the past year and half, collecting data in January 2020, August 2020, June 2021 and August 2021. About half of the 6,000 respondents have never been on a cruise, allowing editors to compare results not only over the past year and a half, but also between seasoned cruisers and potential first-time cruisers. Insights offer glimpses into the effect of the pandemic on the cruising industry, how people plan to book their trip and what amenities, entertainment and destinations excite cruisers.
- Appetite for cruising is making a swift comeback. Among those who have cruised before and indicated they may cruise in the future, more than 20% are currently booked for a future voyage (some of whom are likely using credits from trips booked pre-pandemic), which is higher than pre-pandemic levels. Even people who have never taken a cruise before are booked at higher levels.
- Cruisers care about COVID-19 safety. More than 80% of past cruisers say vaccine requirements are important, while just 9% are against vaccine policies.
- First-time cruisers are still excited to get out on the water post-vaccine. The total number of people who have never cruised before, but would be interested in cruising, sits at almost 61%, just one percentage point down from the same group polled before the pandemic.
- Some long-time cruisers say they won't be returning to the seas. The percentage of previous cruisers who say they would "never cruise" again increased – but only slightly – from 2% in January 2020 to 4% in August 2021. Meanwhile, about 10% of travelers who haven't yet been on a cruise responded they would "never cruise" pre-pandemic. That number increased to around 17% in June 2021 then fell, with about 14% of respondents in August 2021 saying they would "never cruise."
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