Despite the trends in the recent months, it seems that Carnival bookings have increased by a massive amount for August. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the main trends in the cruise industry was a large decrease in bookings. This makes sense, but it appears that travelers are just chomping at the bit to get cruising again. Current August bookings for Carnival are up by 600% compared to normal.
If you’re surprised by this, we don’t blame you. The cruise industry has been more or less plagued by negative story lines for a while now. It all started with outbreaks of coronavirus on certain ships like the Diamond Princess and the Holland America Zaandam. This was followed by dramatic tales of enforced quarantine on ships, difficulties with docking and public backlash against safety measures (even the U.S. government has raised an eyebrow at how outbreaks were handled aboard certain ships). Ships were then forced to get off the water and cruise lines have not been allowed to sail since then. The obvious result of this was financial instability for various cruise lines, with one worrying question left to answer: when can we start sailing again?
With the summer coming, that question has become more important than ever to answer. Most cruise lines aren’t expecting to open in May, with many even opting to wait until July or August. Carnival itself opted for August, and it seems that may be the magic date for consumers. With bookings up by such a wide margin, it suggests that travelers feel that they will be safe to cruise come August. It should be noted, though, that many of the bookings are from healthy, young individuals, perhaps meaning that the elderly don’t yet feel safe getting on a cruise ship. Either way, this is a huge positive for Carnival, and it tentatively points towards the darkest times for the company fading.
Carnival isn’t the only cruise line that seems to be doing alright, either. American Cruise Lines reported high bookings, among a few other cruise lines. Whether or not this is indicative of a larger trend for the industry is yet to be answered. Will bookings stay high if Carnival has to push back their re-opening? Will people keep booking with them or other lines if there is an outbreak come August? Is this all just a result of very low prices at Carnival, or will other cruise lines see a resurgence as well? We’ll have to wait and see.