The future of expedition cruises is uncertain. How will they fare once the pandemic is over? That’s a question that plenty of cruise lines are asking right now. Before the onset of COVID-19, it seemed like there was nowhere to go but up for expedition itineraries. But now, as you all know, everything in the industry has changed. Is the trajectory of this industry segment still the same, or has it taken a turn for the worse? Let’s look.
Many expedition cruise lines have had trouble finding their footing again. This is because of the difficult logistical issues that are now present in certain areas. For instance, cruising to Alaska restarted far later than most other locations in the U.S. This caused many expedition lines to take a serious hit. Similar issues have existed in certain South American countries, making Antarctic expeditions tricky as well. Expeditions are much more complex than regular cruises, and all of the logistics need to be perfect for them to work. While other companies could find work arounds, the same wasn’t true for expedition lines.
A new outlook on cruising
On the contrary, though, there are lots of positive signs that expeditions could gain a lot of popularity in the post-pandemic world. Many insiders within the industry are noting that there is a change in the general populace of cruise travelers. They are wanting more out of their vacations. The shock of the pandemic has made them realize that life is fragile. What better way to spend a fleeting life than going on trips of epic proportions? As Theresa Gatta, the Vice President of Sales for Ponant, noted: “People really want to travel in a purposeful and responsible way. They want a deeper destination of the destinations where they are travelling and there’s no better way to do it then on small ships.”
The industry feels good
There is perhaps no better sign of the future health of expedition cruises than the industry’s general feeling. And, luckily, that feeling is quite optimistic! The combination of travelers wanting purposeful itineraries and the safety of small ships has expedition cruise line officials feeling good. According to the SVP of Expeditions for Silversea, “there’s huge demand” for expeditions. He claims that they “see it from consumers, other operators and destinations.” That’s definitely a good omen.
If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that we can’t really predict the future of the cruise industry. But there are lots of factors at play that suggest that expeditions may actually have a lot of potential going forward.