American Cruise Lines, the small Connecticut-based company known mostly for excellent river itineraries, is reporting some surprisingly optimistic figures for their foreseeable future. According to a press release from the company, they are currently seeing a pretty significant increase in the number of bookings for later this year and into next year. In fact, there are about 25% more bookings for 2021 than there were for 2020 this time last year.
We won’t fault you if you’re surprised to hear this – we are too. This news is coming in a time when cruise bookings are struggling, to put things in relatively charitable terms. Thanks to social distancing and quarantine rules currently being put into practice across the world, people can’t go on any cruise vacations right now. People aren’t too keen on making advance bookings on cruises, either, as evidenced by the sorry financial state of most cruise lines out there in the world. (Although, if you’re perhaps interested in booking a cruise right now, we’ve outlined the pros and cons over here). This is all coupled with a few outbreaks of coronavirus on cruise ships in the past few months, which have obviously made travelers a bit wary of cruises at the moment.
So, why is it that American Cruise Lines is doing so well? According to them, it’s two separate reasons. They chalked up their increase in business to “the increased awareness of U.S. cruise options along with guests’ desire to support all-American businesses.” This second point could definitely work in their favor, as many cruise lines fly under foreign flags for a variety of relatively complicated reasons. It also doesn’t hurt that American Cruise Lines is named in such a way that anyone Googling for cruise lines based in America will stumble upon them pretty quickly.
However, there is another factor under the hood that could perhaps be contributing to American Cruise Lines’ success. The company is dedicated to growth. This is particularly in the river cruise market, which is a market that is already neglected by many other major competitors. They have one new riverboat slated for this year, as well as two more coming in 2021. Their building program is still on the exact same schedule it was on before coronavirus. Internally, they show no signs of slowing down, and this may be inspiring a feeling of confidence in certain travelers.
Regardless of what the reasons are, it’s great to see that not all cruise lines are struggling too hard right now. Perhaps this is a sign of trends to come: as people grow weary of quarantine and start dreaming of vacations, bookings will increase. Fingers crossed!