It is in some ways hard for us to grasp that it’s already been 12 months since the world stood still mid-March 2020, when cruise lines voluntarily suspended all operations globally. Few of us could have predicted that it would take 15 to 18 months before a single cruise ship would depart with happy guests on onboard filled with adventures and relaxation in mind.
Well, we are excited to report that the gradual return to cruising has finally been announced. Last week, three major cruise lines announced that they are getting ready to return to operations by early June. We shared this news with you via email over the past weekend and saw a lot of interest and inquiries. This tells us that the long-anticipated notion of “pent up demand” is not just a concept, it is a reality for many of you. Choices consist of 7-night sailings in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean to begin and will undoubtedly spread across the globe as more and more destinations open up for tourism.
A lot has happened behind the scenes over the past months that we believe will make your cruise experience even better than before. Innovations and enhancements port-side with touchless boarding procedures are the first major change. Once onboard, ship operators have expanded hand washing stations; added touchless servicing options; and updated dining with table-side service in lieu of the traditional buffet.
All this and more will make your next cruise vacation more enjoyable, safer, and rewarding. We have seen record interest in cruising and demand for 2022 and 2023 sailings has picked up in such a “wave” that many dates are selling out, thus creating a supply shortage. We strongly suggest that if you are interested in a cruise vacation in the next 18 months that you speak with your travel advisor as soon as possible. Booking policies are still flexible and we expect reduced inventory to lead to higher prices sooner rather than later.
We have lots of fantastic options available, both for this summer and as far out as fall 2023. It is worth noting, that never in my 30 years of managing travel have I ever seen this many seasons for sale at once. So much so in fact, that we observe many clients planning multiple trips and many are selecting longer sailings to make up for lost time.
Rene Schneeberger, Vice President, Direct Travel
For more information, speak to your Direct Travel Advisor today!