Sustainability is being ranked by half of people as an important factor when booking a cruise holiday, the latest survey results from specialist retailer Mundy Cruising reveals.
This compares to just 14% who thought it was not important and 35% agreeing that the cruise industry needs to do more to appeal to a diverse range of travellers, compared to 24% who disagreed.
While 65% thought that the cruise sector’s image has been damaged by the pandemic, 79% of respondents believe that the industry is working hard to operate more sustainably. And 57% they trust the industry to do the right thing on green issues, compared to just 12% who don’t.
The findings were the latest to be gleaned from Mundy’s Cruise Expert Panel, which launched in October 2020 to coincide with the company’s 50th anniversary.
Although there has been much talk of ‘building back better’ and a green post-Covid recovery, the survey suggests that cruisers were already engaged with sustainability even before the pandemic.
Just 16% said that the events of the last 16 months had changed their attitudes towards sustainability, compared to 31% whose views are unchanged.
More than half (55%) believe that small ship cruises are more sustainable than bigger vessels.
On the question of diversity, 64% of respondents agreed that most people they had met on cruises were from a similar background to them, though 80% said that they believe there is a cruise holiday to suit everyone, suggesting that there is a significant opportunity for the cruise industry to cast the net wider.
The survey showed that some things remain unchanged by the pandemic, with 74% of respondents still preferring a physical brochure or magazine to online alternatives.
Mundy clients are also fed up with communicating by Zoom calls, with only 23% expressing an interest in speaking to their travel agent via video chat rather than in person or over the phone.
Mundy Cruising managing director Edwina Lonsdale said: “Once again our survey has shown that cruisers cannot be easily pigeonholed, with a far greater interest in sustainability than you might expect if you were to listen to the industry’s detractors in the media.
“We have seen a growing demand from our clients for concrete technical details of what the cruise lines are doing on board to minimise their impact on the environment, and this is reflected in our survey findings.
“We also agree with our clients that there is a huge opportunity for the industry to attract a broader mix of clientele thanks to the fabulous diversity of product now on offer, whether it’s building a stronger offering for solo travellers, appealing to a younger demographic, or making it clear that a cruise ship is a friendly and welcoming place for travellers from backgrounds that have traditionally been under-represented on board.”