Stats: 87 Percent of Travel Leaders Agents Report Strong Cruise Bookings

Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas
Royal Caribbean reported its forward bookings are at record levels in its 2016 earnings report.

Travel Leaders Group has released a new survey with some more strong signs for cruise bookings in early 2017. 

According to the report, nearly 87 percent of Travel Leaders agents who book cruise vacations surveyed say that their 2017 cruise bookings are equal to or higher than the previous year. 84 percent of those surveyed said that their Mediterranean cruise bookings have increased or are on par year over year. 

Actual booking data also shows year-over-year increases of 8 percent or more for key cruise segments, Travel Leaders said. The survey data is based on responses from 1,062 Travel Leaders Group travel agent experts who book cruise vacations.

“Cruise bookings for 2017 have been on the upswing since last year, and a substantial percentage of our travel agents’ leisure bookings are in this crucial segment. In fact, our latest data show a 10 percent increase in year-over-year revenue for luxury cruise bookings, and premium cruise bookings are trending higher by 8 percent,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko

Travel Leaders reports that these are the most popular types of itineraries:

1. Caribbean – Western
2. Alaska
3. Caribbean – Eastern
4. Europe – River Cruise
5. Europe – Mediterranean
6. Caribbean – Southern
7. Panama Canal
8 (tie). Mexican Riviera
8 (tie). Hawaii
10. Europe – Baltic

“The allure of a Caribbean cruise is undeniable for millions of Americans. However, what’s truly impressive is the tremendous growth, over the past 24 months, in Alaska cruises. Consumer demand has been nothing short of phenomenal,” said John Lovell, president of Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group.

In terms of overall 2017 bookings, 86.4 percent of survey respondents said that bookings were higher than or the same as the year before (44.7 percent said “Higher” while 41.7 percent said “They’re even”). Zooming in on Europe, 84.5 percent of those polled said that their Mediterranean bookings were even or higher than the previous year (39.8 percent said “Higher” while 44.7 percent said “They’re even”). Top Mediterranean itineraries were:

  1. Barcelona to Rome: 25.4%
  2. Barcelona Roundtrip: 25.1%
  3. Rome Roundtrip: 21.9%
  4. Rome to Barcelona: 14.2%
  5. Rome to Venice: 13.1%

In terms of Europe river cruise bookings, 78.2 percent of respondents said that they were on par with or higher than last year (34.3 percent said “Higher” while 43.9 percent said that “They’re even”).

The trends are part of Travel Leaders Group’s 2017 Travel Trends Survey, and track with other recent reports on the state of cruise bookings as the new year continues. Cruise wholesaler Tourico Holidays recently reported that the company’s cruise bookings had increased by 38 percent year over year in January, driven primarily by growth in outbound bookings from the U.S. That same day Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) reported that its 2017 booked position was at a “historic high,” which the company also credited to demand from North American guests for European voyages, as well as continued strength in Caribbean, Alaska and Hawaii. Royal Caribbean had also said that “forward bookings are at record levels” for early 2017 in its 2016 earnings report — again, citing strong demand from North America, plus a positive outlook in Australia and China

What will draw North American cruisers this year? Don’t miss our roundup of the cruise industry’s “class of 2017” new ships.