Cruise vacations are still a favorite choice among Americans, according to new consumer research from AAA. Forty-one percent say they are considering a cruise in the future, with over half (52%) of millennials saying they are ready to return to the open seas. AAA Travel booking data shows that cruising is making a strong comeback, with 2022 bookings nearing pre-pandemic levels. Of those Americans who say they are likely to cruise again, 41% cite a better understanding of the risks presented by COVID-19 as influencing their decision.
“The cruise industry has done an excellent job of prioritizing the health and safety of its guests while still creating a memorable onboard experience that makes cruising so special. This includes every major cruise line continuing to exceed CDC guidance, even though it is now voluntary,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “As things continue to improve, travelers are eager to return to the high seas to unplug and relax with those they love most.”
Something for Everyone
AAA found that 58.3 million (23%) Americans are considering a cruise in the next two years. The all-inclusive experience, quality time with family and friends and shore excursions top the list as the most attractive aspects of a cruise vacation. Younger generations, like Gen Z, are most excited about spending time with family and friends (57%) and outdoor activities such as the pool and other similar amenities (44%).
“Cruising is a unique experience because it’s as much about the journey as it is the destination,” said Twidale. “In one sailing, you may visit new corners of the world. And the best part – there is something onboard that appeals to every age.”
When it comes to cruising, international destinations like the Caribbean and Mediterranean are the most popular choices. Demand for all things travel – including cruising – is increasing, which means travelers should start planning their next trip. Cruise lines open up reservations as early as two years ahead of sailing and sometimes offer better rates for booking early.
Let the Experts be Your Guide
Whether you are new to cruising or an avid sailor, an experienced and trusted travel agent can help. Seasoned agents have many resources at their fingertips to help plan and organize a trip that fits a traveler’s specific needs and budget. They have access to added benefits and offers that may not be available directly to consumers.
Travel agents can also take the stress out of making travel arrangements, especially when traveling as a group or navigating any challenges related to itinerary changes due to things like weather delays, natural disasters, flight cancellations, lost luggage and much more that can quickly derail a vacation.
The travel landscape is quickly changing as pandemic-related restrictions are lifted and more people look to get out and see the world again. A travel agent is an invaluable resource who will serve as your advocate before, during and after a trip, including keeping you apprised of global events or conflicts that may interrupt travel plans. These individuals can explore available options for cruising plus provide counsel on:
- What to expect while onboard and while visiting ports or participating in offshore excursions
- Vaccine/testing requirements and safety protocols for individual cruise lines
- Cancellation policies
- Travel insurance options
- How positive COVID-19 cases are handled (for yourself, other passengers and crew)
AAA found that Americans view cruising as safe as resort vacations and safer than exploring large cities. In fact, 43% of Americans who plan to cruise in the future are satisfied with the cruise industry’s overall response to the pandemic. Cruise lines have implemented several safety protocols onboard, such as vaccination and testing requirements for passengers and crew; enhanced medical facilities; upgraded ventilation systems; hand washing and hand sanitizer dispensers in high traffic areas; contactless room service; use of medical-grade cleaning supplies and virtual safety briefings.
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