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The Return to Cruising

Cruise by Roderick Eime
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Tiffany Stanley, Public and Community Relations Manager
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AAA: Americans are Eager to Get Back to Cruising
Spending quality time with loved ones and the all-inclusive experience of cruising is driving interest

Cruise vacations are still a favorite choice among Americans according to new consumer research from AAA. Forty-one percent say they are considering a cruise in the future, with Millennials even more eager as over half (52%) say they are ready to return to the open seas. AAA Travel booking data shows that cruising is making a strong comeback with 2022 bookings nearing pre-pandemic levels. Of those Americans who say they are likely to cruise again, 41% cite a better understanding of the risks presented by COVID-19 as influencing their decision.

“Cruising is as much about the journey as it is the destination, making it a wonderful opportunity to create long-lasting memories with family and friends,” said Bevi Powell, senior vice president, AAA East Central. “And as travel opportunities continue to expand, the cruise industry is doing an excellent job of making the health and safety of guests a top priority while maintaining experiences that make cruising so special.”

Something for Everyone
AAA found that 58.3 million (23%) Americans are considering a cruise in the next two years. The all-inclusive experience, quality time with family and friends and shore excursions top the list as the most attractive aspects of a cruise vacation. Younger generations, like Gen Z, are most excited about spending time with family and friends (57%) and outdoor activities such as the pool and other similar amenities (44%).

When it comes to cruising, international destinations like the Caribbean and Mediterranean are the most popular choices. Demand for all things travel – including cruising – is increasing, which means travelers should start planning their next trip. Cruise lines start taking reservations as early as two years ahead of sailing and sometimes offer better rates for booking early.

Let the Experts be Your Guide
Whether someone is new to cruising or an avid sailor, an experienced and trusted travel advisor can help. Seasoned advisors have many resources at their fingertips to help plan and organize a trip that fits traveler’s specific needs and budget. They have access to added benefits and offers that may not be available directly to consumers. Travel advisors can also take the stress out of making travel arrangements, especially when traveling as a group or navigating any challenges related to itinerary changes because of weather delays, natural disasters, flight cancellations, and lost luggage.

The travel landscape is quickly changing as pandemic-related restrictions are lifted and more people are deciding to get out and see the world again. A travel advisor is an invaluable resource before, during and after a trip to keep travelers apprised of global events or conflicts that may interrupt plans. Advisors can explore available options for cruising plus provide counsel on:

  • What to expect while onboard and while visiting ports or participating in offshore excursions
  • Vaccine/testing requirements and safety protocols for individual cruise lines
  • Cancellation policies
  • Travel insurance options
  • How positive COVID-19 cases are handled (for passengers and crew)

Safer Sailing
AAA found that Americans view cruising as safe as resort vacations and safer than exploring large cities. In fact, 43% of Americans who plan to cruise in the future are satisfied with the cruise industry’s overall response to the pandemic. Cruise lines have implemented several safety protocols onboard, such as vaccination and testing requirements for passengers and crew; enhanced medical facilities; upgraded ventilation systems; hand washing and hand sanitizer dispensers in high traffic areas; contactless room service; use of medical-grade cleaning supplies and virtual safety briefings.

To learn more or book your next cruise, click here.

Survey Methodology
The survey questions were administered as part of NORC’s biweekly AmeriSpeak® survey of 1,101 US adults, between December 16 to December 20, 2021. Funded and operated by NORC at the University of Chicago, AmeriSpeak is a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population. Randomly selected US households are sampled using area probability and address-based sampling, with a known, non-zero probability of selection from the NORC National Sample Frame. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. While most AmeriSpeak households participate in surveys by web, non-internet households can participate in AmeriSpeak surveys by telephone.

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AAA East Central is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.