The cruise sector has been urged to get across its messages about Covid-19 safety measures and the “world-class” experiences onboard in order to resume sailing effectively.

Kelly Craighead, the president and chief executive of Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) encouraged the sector to shout about how it has managed the pandemic and the new protocols it has put in place.

She told a Travel Weekly webcast: “Cruising is a critically important part of many countries’ economies and so we need to continue to tell our story about the measures that we have taken and to be able to really demonstrate that we are an extraordinary part of this experience.

“There is this pent-up demand; there is a pressing economic need.”

She added: “It is frustrating to not be first at the table with many of the other sister industries in the larger travel and tourism world.

“But cruising really is a leader in how we have addressed the enhancements that are in place and the experience that passengers and guests will have on cruise ships.

“I’m optimistic in our ability to convey that information.”

Cruisers already know the extent to which cruise companies implement health and safety measures, she commented, and said the efforts made by the sector during the pandemic are “a point of pride”.

MoreTest voyages are part of phased return for cruise industry

Lobbying new US administration is ‘top priority’ for cruise industry

Cruise restart is a ‘priority’ for maritime minister

Clia boss says vaccine is ‘no silver bullet’ for return to cruising

Craighead said anecdotal evidence suggests that cruisers are booking fresh cruises for 2021 and 2022, as well as rebooking cancelled voyages.

“There’s so much appetite,” she said, pointing to Clia’s recent State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report, which highlighted how millennials see cruising as “such a great way to see the world”.

“We do have a number of new ships on order so that need to meet demand is really going to require the industry to tell their story, to get the word out about the measures that are in place and start to attract those new cruisers,” she told the webcast.

“There’s confidence in the idea that cruising is the best way to see the world, whether you’re a multi-generational family, a millennial; older, younger or single.

“I’m hopeful that resumption brings the opportunity to point to all of the exciting new additions…and these world-class one-of-a-kind experiences.”

However, she remains cautious about the impact of vaccinations on the market, although it will be beneficial to have “a multitude of vaccinated people” on board ships.

“It’s not something that we’re relying on,” she said.

“I hate to get a little too far out in front…this is all still rolling out and some of the highest rates [of infections] are in front of us.

“We look forward to welcoming everybody…it’ll be mature audiences and it’ll be millennials and it will be great.

“I am really hopeful for a new year and a new restart to cruising.”