To the surprise of many, future cruise bookings seem not to have not been harmed by the fact that the worldwide coronavirus pandemic has hit cruise ships especially hard. At a time when there are still tens of thousands of cruise ship crew members stranded on cruise vessels across the globe, thousands of prospective passengers are nevertheless signing up to cruise as early as August.
A Boston.com article profiled one person eager to return to the sea, 58-year-old Amber O’Hara of Golden, Colorado. Despite previously being stuck on the Azamara Pursuit as coronavirus raged and disrupted the ship's itinerary, O’Hara was so ready to cruise again that she booked a follow-up trip for November before disembarking from the ship. O’Hara used a 125% credit that the company offered to travelers in order to book the cruise later this year.
In an attempt to explain traveler's seeming insatiable appetite to get back to cruising, the article quoted Lin Humphrey, assistant professor of marketing at Florida International University, who said, "We yearn for things that make us feel like our life prior to March. There will be people that will be looking forward to that cruise.”
This sentiment was echoed by a Cruise Critic poll in which nearly 75% of respondents reported that in the future they would cruise as much as before the pandemic or more.
It seems that the key for the cruise industry to rebuild a sustainable business is to reassure travelers that the cruise lines will do everything to protect their safety.
“We are seeing a strong interest from those cruisers to return to the sea once they are able to do so and once they are comfortable that it’s going to be a safe experience and the vacation they love,” said Colleen McDaniel, editor in chief of Cruise Critic.