Luxury cruisers ‘prioritising small ships and high vaccination rates’
Nearly half of luxury cruisers are planning to travel on a smaller ship in 2022 compared to before the pandemic, according to the latest survey from specialist agency Mundy Cruising.
The report found that 46% of respondents would size down on their next cruise, while 42% expect to splash out on a higher grade of accommodation than before.
The findings - gleaned from Mundy’s Cruise Expert Panel, which launched in October 2020 to coincide with the company’s 50th anniversary - showed that luxury cruisers are feeling cautiously optimistic about travel in 2022, with 93% set to take at least one cruise this year.
The ongoing impact of Covid-19 continues to influence travel plans, with 62% of respondents saying they will avoid countries with low vaccination rates and 92% ranking Covid-19 policies as either very important or somewhat important when choosing a cruise ship.
However, 47% thought that the risk from Covid-19 was lower on a cruise ship than on an aeroplane, compared to 18% who disagreed, and 37% said that cruise ships were safer than hotels, versus 25% who disagreed.
They survey also found that short haul destinations were the most popular, with 49% of respondents planning to visit the Mediterranean and 23% eyeing a European river cruise. The Caribbean, Baltic and British Isles also features prominently on cruisers’ wish lists for 2022.
Sustainability continues to be an important factor when booking a luxury cruise holiday, with 41% of respondents saying hybrid or low carbon propulsion was important when selecting a ship, compared to 19% who disagreed.
Mundy Cruising managing director Edwina Lonsdale said: “Our latest survey shows that travellers are unperturbed by the recent media frenzy around the omicron variant and their plans and priorities for 2022 reflect a growing sense that we are over the worst of the pandemic. While Covid policies on board and vaccination rates in destination countries are of course still front of mind, cruisers are also looking to the future, with more emphasis placed on sustainable travel and excitement around the next generation of luxury ships.
“It’s also no surprise to us that our clients believe cruising to be safer than other forms of travel, given the industry-leading protocols that the cruise lines, port authorities and other key players have put in place over the last two years to ensure that a cruise ship is the very safest place to be. We are confident that the burning desire of travellers to get back to normal, along with the news that the UK government has overhauled its onerous and unnecessary testing regime for overseas travel, mean that cruise will come roaring back in 2022.”