While cruise ships were adversely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic as it spread globally earlier this year, forcing the entire industry to shut down, there remains strong demand from passengers for future cruises.
According to Royal Caribbean, cruise demand for 2021 is within historical ranges when compared to the same time last year, with 2021 prices up compared to 2020. Demand for cruises throughout the rest of the year is “meaningfully lower” though, due to the shutdown.
This contradicts speculation by many commentators that the cruise industry’s recent vulnerability to the Coronavirus pandemic will put off many cruise passengers in future.
Norwegian Cruise Line, meanwhile, has opened up 2023 cruise itineraries for booking due to customer demand. With the Coronavirus pandemic expected to remain a concern into at least the first quarter of 2021, many passengers are looking further ahead when booking.
“At this moment, we are in our respective corners of the world destination daydreaming,” said Harry Sommer, Norwegian Cruise Line president & CEO. “We’re giving our guests more time to plan their long-awaited vacations as well as additional extraordinary ports-of-call.”
Norwegian Cruise Line’s itineraries include more than 20 new destinations, including Antarctica, Greenland and South Africa, as well as more than 300 destinations already popular with its passengers.
The British cruise line Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) has also reported strong demand for future cruises beyond 2020.
“Our experience over the last two to three weeks is that the UK is thinking again about a cruise holiday in 2021. Those itineraries that offer a sense of discovery and exploration are leading in popularity,” said Mike Hall, Marketing Director at CMV.
“It looks like we all want something to look forward to after lockdown and when cruise operations resume. Having the chance to see the fantastic natural display of the Northern Lights is high on many wish lists,” he added.
The river cruise line AmaWaterways, meanwhile, has opened up its entire 2022 season itineraries, a full six months ahead of normal, due to demand.
“We are excited to open our 2022 bookings six months earlier than originally anticipated, given the heightened demand from individuals and special interest groups for sailings in 2021 and beyond,” said Rudi Schreiner, President of AmaWaterways.
AmaWaterways said demand was especially strong for its new offerings, the new ships AmaSiena and AmaLucia, and AmaDahlia which is launching on the Nile in Egypt in September 2021.
“As pent up demand has already started to surface, I anticipate 2022 will emerge as a very strong travel season and look forward to welcoming our guests onboard,” Schreiner added.