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Special Report: Cruise fans eager to set sail again

Survey of 6,600 passengers by specialist agency Cruise.co.uk finds strong post-pandemic appetite to get back out to sea – Harry Kemble reports

Almost four in 10 cruise customers say Covid has “made little or no difference” to their interest in taking a cruise, according to Cruise.co.uk’s latest data.

The OTA’s 10-minute online survey was completed by 6,600 cruise passengers, including customers from Cruise.co.uk and its German business Kreuzfahrtberater, last month.

Responses suggested 29% (1,914 customers) remain as eager to take a cruise as they were before the pandemic, while 10% (660 customers) indicated their interest in sailing again had increased.

Asked which cruise lines they were most likely to book, 19% (1,250 customers) said P&O Cruises was their “first choice”. Nearly a quarter (1,446 customers) had sailed with P&O Cruises before.

Other first choice options were Celebrity Cruises (13%), Royal Caribbean International (10%) and Princess Cruises (9%).

About a quarter of respondents said they were “fairly likely” to book an ex-UK cruise within the next year or so, while 22% said they were “very likely to” and 7% “certain to”.

One in five (21%) respondents said they were “fairly likely” to book a fly-cruise in the next 12 months or so and 15% said they were “very likely to”.

Nearly 400 cruise customers (6%) said they were “certain to” book a fly‑cruise within the next year.

Cancellation and booking policies were rated the most important factor when booking a cruise, ahead of food and drink in second and health and safety measures in third.

A cruise line’s environmental credentials finished bottom of the list of options, with a mean score of 7.37 out of 10 in terms of importance.

Nearly 60% of those surveyed (3,828 customers) disagreed with the statement “I am planning to take fewer cruises to reduce my environmental impact”, while 8% (528 customers) agreed with it.

About 41% (2,700 customers) indicated they were unwilling to pay more for their next cruise to reduce their carbon footprint.

Respondents believed reducing impacts on marine environments and limiting waste were the most important ways for cruise lines to operate more sustainably.

P&O Cruises lifts trio of awards

P&O Cruises scooped three awards – including for UK’s most popular brand – at Cruise.co.uk’s annual ceremony.

The British line was rewarded for its booking system Complete Cruise Solution and for the helpfulness of its staff.

Celebrity Cruises finished second in both categories at the awards, which took place on the OTA’s annual ski trip, held in Austria last month.

The best mainstream cruise brand award was shared by Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises.

Silversea Cruises was named best ultra-luxury line and Celebrity Cruises was awarded the luxury line of the year award.

Princess Cruises’ Gemma Withers bagged the best account manager award, ahead of Royal Caribbean’s David Hearn in second place.

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