Surveys reveal strong interest in taking a cruise after lockdown
As the UK starts to look at life beyond lockdown and travellers dream of their next holiday, two surveys show people are keen to get back to life on the ocean waves and the world’s waterways. In the same week one of the leading river cruise lines has announced new health and safety measures in preparation for the return to sailing planned for this summer.
The findings in the report compiled by Silver Travel Advisor, a travel review, information and advice website for the over-50s, showed that 81% are keen to travel again; with cruising being a popular option.
The survey involved 800 mature travellers who were asked how the coronavirus pandemic had affected their holiday plans and future travel intentions.
Of those who answered the questions on ocean cruising, a total of 43% had either enjoyed cruising before and already booked a cruise for later this year or 2021 (a total of 10%); had sailed before and would like to do so again when things return to normal (21%); or had yet to go on a cruise but would like to (12%).
River cruising was viewed positively with 55% having either taken a river cruise before and already rebooked; and the remainder looking to return after lockdown or wanting to take one for the first time (37%).
Comments from respondents included: “I do like the idea of a river cruise on a smaller boat” and “have only done two, loved it, would be happy to do another”.
The Cruise Lines International Association UK & Ireland (CLIA), which is part of the world’s largest cruise industry organisation, conducts twice yearly surveys where consumers who have taken an international holiday in the last two years are asked how likely they would be to cruise in the next few years.
From 500 respondents questioned for the spring 2020 report, a total of 75% that had cruised before said they would be “very likely or likely” to do so again, a drop of 4% on the autumn 2019 study. Out of the 66% who had never cruised, they said they would be “very likely or likely” to go on a cruise in the future, a 5% decrease in the pre-coronavirus autumn survey.
Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland director, said: “Our findings show a remarkably small divergence in responses between these times and suggest a very modest shift in sentiment. This could be largely due to cruise guests understanding the industry’s commitment to their health and safety. We will continue to work to earn that trust as we work through this global crisis, putting public health and safety at the heart of our response.”
Meanwhile, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has announced enhanced health and safety protocols in preparation for the line’s expected return which is currently set for 1st July.
New measures will include all guests completing health screening prior to embarkation; snacks served by crew members instead of being self-service; disinfecting wipes available throughout the ship; gloves, face masks and bottles of hand sanitiser available for all passengers; reserved restaurant seating with passengers allocated the same table for the duration of their holiday; items that are normally shared, such as bread and butter, served to each person individually and a reduction in the number of passengers on excursions buses to reduce the number of people together at one time.
“At Uniworld, the health and wellbeing of our guests and our crew are paramount”, said Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “As we prepare to join the world community in reopening our homes, businesses, ships and lives to one another, we have carefully reviewed protocols and procedures to ensure that the touch points between the people we care about the very most are managed with intention, respect and utmost care.
“We have been scrupulous in our process to consider every moment that may present an unnecessary concern and why all coffee table books, magazines and brochures for example, have been removed from public use. Instead, guests will be able to access these reading materials via our complimentary PressReader app on their personal devices.
“The world is changed and as we start to welcome guests just beginning to step back into travel, we want them to know that we understand and are anticipating their concern and taking careful and deliberate steps to protect their safety, health and wellbeing, which will come in the form of a broad smile instead of a handshake.”
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of Uniworld River Cruises, MSC Cruises and Amadeus River Cruises