New research by Mundy Cruising also reveals that the majority will wait until they have been vaccinated before travelling
Research by Mundy Cruising has revealed that 81 per cent of luxury cruise passengers plan on taking a cruise next year, although the majority will wait until they have been vaccinated first.
The findings were the first to be gleaned from Mundy’s new Cruise Expert Panel, which was launched to coincide with the cruise agency’s 50th anniversary.
Just under half (47 per cent) of the survey respondents said that they would only cruise once they had been vaccinated and the majority of the population had been vaccinated, while a further 39 per cent said they would cruise once they had been vaccinated, even if the majority of the population had not.
“Our most recent survey has given us a lot of food for thought,” said Edwina Lonsdale, Mundy Cruising managing director, “but the overriding sentiment is one of cautious optimism regarding the resumption of cruising in 2021. Mundy clients are a well-travelled, well-informed and pragmatic bunch, so it’s no surprise to us that their responses are grounded in a realistic appraisal of where things stand.
“We know that a vaccine will take time to roll out, which is why the cruise lines are pressing ahead with their detailed and exhaustive plans to ensure that cruising post-Covid is safer than ever. Nevertheless, the recent flurry of good news has clearly given our clients a much-needed boost, with bookings significantly up since the vaccine announcements from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and now Oxford-AstraZeneca.”
The results also revealed that nine per cent of respondents would go on a cruise regardless of a vaccine, while three per cent said they would go on a cruise without being vaccinated, provided the majority of the population had. The survey also showed that most guests (51 per cent) would prefer to sail on a ship carrying between 50 and 500 guests, compared to 37 per cent before the pandemic.
The amount favouring a ship carrying 1,000 guests or more dropped from 15 per cent to just seven per cent.
The head of sales at Fred Olsen Cruise Lines shares his predictions for the ex-UK market in 2021
This has been a strange and challenging year for us all. I don’t think any of us could have predicted quite how it would unfold and the impact it would have on our lives. But what it has done is make us all stop and think about the things that are really important to us, and the things that we are missing the most.
For months we have been cooped up indoors, whether we’ve been working from home, in various elements of lockdown or shielding for our own health or that of our loved ones. And now, more than ever, people are thinking about their next holiday and the kind of experiences they are looking for.
There is a strong sales opportunity in ex-UK cruising as we return to some form of normality next year. Customers will come to you with a whole host of questions amid their excitement to travel again. Some will want to stay in the UK. Some may want to venture further afield, to feel that European sunshine, or embark on a short city break. Others will want to feel the real and the raw and really immerse themselves in something different and adventurous. And there are ex-UK cruises that tick all of these boxes.
The added bonus with ex-UK cruises is they offer all of these opportunities without the worry and hassle of airports at either destination, and your customers’ holiday can start as soon as they step on the ship. At Fred Olsen, the majority of our cruises are ex-UK, and we have six regional departure ports in Southampton, Dover, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Newcastle and Rosyth in Edinburgh, which means guests are always within a few hours of a port.
What cruising also does is allow people to visit multiple destinations all in one trip, while bringing reassurance that at the end of each day they can return to their ship, enjoy a delicious dinner and some evening entertainment in a comfortable and familiar environment rather than having to negotiate trains, buses or other modes of transport to reach their next destination.
There is such a demand for travel right now, and we are seeing that reflected in our bookings. What we are also seeing is that seasoned travellers who perhaps previously would go abroad three or four times a year are looking at destinations that are right on their doorstep in a whole new light. There are places in the UK just waiting to be explored that previously had been overlooked. Visiting them by cruise adds that extra sense of adventure, that real sense of going on holiday.
It also gives guests the option to enjoy a holiday without needing to leave the ship at all if they choose. There will be those who aren’t quite ready to explore again yet, but would be quite happy enjoying some time away with a good book and the many activities that a cruise brings on board. For some, they simply want a change of scenery and a break away from the homes they have spent so much time in this year. Of course, there are many scenic cruises, such as sailings into the heart of the Norwegian fjords, which are completely designed around the spectacular scenery that guests will witness straight from the ship.
While 2021 will be exciting for all cruise lines, as we get our ships back into service and start cruising again, it will be extra exciting for us as we will be doing so with our new-look fleet, with our new flagship Bolette and sister ship Borealis a part of the family. Like the rest of our ships, these will be providing ex-UK itineraries from Dover, Southampton and Liverpool, and with so many people keen to get on board and explore them for themselves they bring another unique sales opportunity, too.
So when your customers come to you looking for advice on their holidays for 2021, especially if they haven’t considered a cruise, just remind them of all the incredible things that we as an industry have to offer with our ex-UK cruises. There really is a wealth of opportunity. Here’s to happier travels in 2021.