Cruise ships had a less-than-stellar reputation during the pandemic, but it seems all is forgotten in the world of tourism, and passenger demand is roaring back.
Once dismissed as Petri dishes for COVID – and not without justification – cruising has returned to record levels of popularity.
According to CruiseHive, many ships are reporting 100 per cent occupancy rates and even overbookings (mostly due to parents sharing a cabin with children).
And as CruiseHive reports it’s not just an older demographic, with millennials and gen Z showing the most interest in cruising.
So what’s happening, why are we falling in love with cruising again?
Well, the industry has a few answers.
Cruise companies have been trying to attract passengers back to their products with affordable fares and it has worked.
Some cruises were advertised at about $80 a day during the Australian season, and while that is the base rate without shore excursions, tips or drinks packages, it still represents astonishing value. Certainly, cheaper than almost all hotels, or any hotel where you would want to stay anyway.
Prices will inevitably go up as demand goes up, but at that price, the appeal is in-your-face obvious.
A great deal of the appeal for cruise ships has always been the ease of booking and the holiday itself. And that does not seem to have changed.
The all-in-one experience appeals to many people who no longer want to plan a complicated holiday by themselves.
Everything is done for you. Food, offshore excursions, itinerary, it’s all pre-planned. All you have to do is pay and turn up.
Whole families, or generations of families are going on cruises for these reasons mentioned.
Also, the broad range of activities and attractions appeals to families who want to keep young ones entertained, but also lets the grown-ups have their fun as well.
This is probably best shown in Disney cruises, which naturally have plenty of children’s activities but also several ‘adults-only’ spaces including bars and restaurants. I imagine everyone over 18 flocks to these places with a great deal of relief. I feel relieved just thinking about them.
There’s probably also appeal in the fact that you are spending time with your family, but not all on top of each other like at a holiday rental where it’s hard to get away from each other, meals can be a drama and travelling offsite a stressful exercise in logistics.
Cruises can go to places you probably would find hard to do on your own.
Arctic Circle cruises, remote Kimberly locations and Asian river adventures are all very popular cruising destinations. But let’s face it, left up to you, there’s almost no way you’d want to organise those destinations yourself.
Cruising very effectively provides access to destinations that would otherwise be dismissed as too hard or too expensive.
If you are ticking a destination off your bucket list, there is probably a cruise there.
So much choice
Cruising has a probably deserved reputation as an older person’s dream holiday, but in reality, that’s no longer true.
There are cruises, and cruise lines, out there for everyone. Sure, you can spend $1.3 million on the Seven Seas Explorer cruise, but you can also just take a few days with some mates around the South Pacific.
You can cruise almost all waterways, there are hundreds of itineraries to choose from and themed cruises for almost all passions and hobbies.
So, it’s no longer the last resort for snoozing oldies on their sun lounges, but instead for everyone from Disney-loving toddlers to adventure-bound Arctic explorers.
Have you been on a cruise since the pandemic? Would you consider one now if you haven’t been cruising before? Why not share your opinion in the comment section below?