Following the announcement that the UK domestic cruises can recommence from 17 May 2021, the prospect of a staycation cruise is likely to be popular this year. Cruise firms will be placing their bets on the UK market as they set their sights on generating some much-needed income while international cruises look to be off the cards for the foreseeable, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Gus Gardner, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Cruises have always been a popular holiday option for many UK travelers. GlobalData’s Q3 2019 consumer survey* revealed that over 1 in 10 UK respondents typically undertook a cruise rising to 14% for baby boomers and 18% for the silent generation. Considering these generations are most likely to be fully vaccinated by the summer, staycation cruising could be an extremely popular option within the general UK market.”
Given the high level of uncertainty as to when cruises can fully return, travelers will be very excited at the prospects of a partial return to the waters. The announcement of itineraries from P&O and Royal Caribbean further shows companies are hedging their bets and have a strong feeling that demand from the UK market will be high.
Gardner continues: “COVID-fatigue has not dampened the travelers’ desire; cruisers remain one of the most loyal customers within travel. The prolonged suspension of the industry has resulted in high levels of pent-up demand, waiting to be unlocked by cruise companies. Coupled with the increased likelihood that travelers will be looking for trips closer to home, the industry may just have the right ingredients to make UK cruise staycations a success.”
Pandemic-cautious consumers will still be extremely hesitant to step onboard a cruise ship. Even though enhanced health & safety procedures are in place, the prospect of being stuck at sea with a potential COVID-19 outbreak may be enough to deter some. Companies must focus their efforts on promoting the robust protocols put in place to gain customer confidence.
Gardner concludes: “Only time will tell whether the prospects of the UK staycation cruises will generate enough interest to make the venture worthwhile. COVID-fatigue has risen in the UK, and travelers will likely opt for exciting and novel holiday options once restrictions begin to ease. The unknown aspect of a cruise staycation could be an exciting prospect for many and could prove to be a success for the industry before international sailings can recommence.”
* Data taken from GlobalData’s survey of 907 UK respondents – Fieldwork undertaken Q3 2019
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