Here’s a sentence that we all need to keep in our minds as best we can: there will be a day when the coronavirus is in the past. Sure, it’s hard to believe now, but we’ve gotta keep our eyes on the prize, folks! Scientific developments on COVID-19 are made almost daily, and our societies are slowly coming to terms with the changes necessary to help curb the spread of the virus. This means that it isn’t unrealistic to look forward to a day when things are back to normal – and that means that it isn’t unrealistic to look forward to a day when we can all cruise again.
The demand for cruises
With cruises of any sizable capacity not currently being allowed in the United States, it can feel hard to gauge just how much demand there is for cruises. We know that the coronavirus has had a measurable effect on several cruise lines and the bookings that they have, and the beginning of the pandemic was a very dark time for the industry. But is this going to be a lasting change? Are people really going to be scared off of cruises for years to come?
Cruise lines the U.S.
There are a number of places we can look to try to answer this question. For cruise lines in the U.S., we need to be looking at the number of future bookings that people are making right now if we want to get an idea of demand. Back in May, several cruise lines reported that many customers who had their voyages cancelled requested future cruise credit despite not knowing when they could sail again. Norwegian and Carnival have also both reported that customers are booking lots of sailings in 2021, meaning they definitely have a customer base that is excited to sail when the virus is less prevalent.
Europe is just now starting to get back into cruising, and we can look at them as a model for what will likely happen in the United States once our infection rate begins dropping. The TUI Mein Schiff 2 recently sailed with an enthusiastic crowd of 1200. We also know that Greek cruise lines like Variety are starting to sail again, seemingly due to high demand. Azamara also recently announced that they are seeing many customers excited to sail around Europe in 2021. According to Cruise Industry News, they sent out a survey to 6000 of their loyalty club members, with “almost 50 percent” saying that they “are eager to take a cruise in the next 12-months.”
Despite all the suffering the cruise industry has had recently, it seems that the customers will still be there when the world is ready for cruises once again. This seems like a great sign that the industry will be able to bounce back stronger than ever.