Stats: Cancellation Fees Most Important Factor When Booking a Cruise

"The desire to travel is still intact,” a Cruise Copenhagen survey conducted in December 2020 has revealed. Some 3,322 past cruise guests or those on cruises cancelled during the pandemic were asked: “Assuming that travel restrictions are lifted, how likely is it that you will go on a cruise holiday in 2021?” Some 44 percent said they’re "likely" (29 percent) or “very likely” (15 percent) to cruise this year, while 22 percent were undecided. Those saying “unlikely” or “very unlikely” were 17 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

Survey participants hailed from Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Top Takeaways

Cruise Copenhagen promotes cruising to Denmark and the Baltic Region. Prior to the pandemic, Copenhagen was expecting its longest cruise season ever with a record number of guests in 2020. But 98 percent of those expected cruise calls were cancelled. So, the organization launched a "Cruise Comeback" project to support its cruise partners. This survey to reveal potential cruiser preferences was one initiative. More "takeaways" from that poll include: 

No Cancel Fees Are Critical: Survey participants said the most important factor for choosing to book a cruise vacation is the ability to cancel their reservation with no cancellation fees.

Preferred Region of Sailing Has Shifted: More than half of the respondents said the virus has changed their preferences for a choice of cruise region/destinations to a large extent (25 percent) or a very large extent (29 percent). Another 20 percent said the pandemic had changed their preferences to a modest extent, while 12 percent said the pandemic had little effect on their preferences and 14 percent said “not at all.”

Shorter Booking-to-Cruise Timeline: When asked about the length of the timeframe from when they’ll book to when they plan to cruise this year, 61 percent cited six months or less. That compares with 2018 and 2019 survey results of 56 percent and 58 percent, respectively.

How to Feel More Comfortable Cruising: Cruise Copenhagen asked survey participants about what steps the cruise destinations can take to make people feel more comfortable about visiting during the pandemic. Key factors were:

  • Transparent protocols for how the cruise lines will handle infections and quarantining—cited by 57 percent of all respondents
  • Regular and clear schedules for testing guests and crew members for COVID-19—cited by 56 percent of all respondents
  • More information about the status of the virus at the cruise destination—cited by 52 percent of those surveyed

Most Sought-After Experiences?: What are the sought-after cruise experiences that potential guests in 2021 desire to have? Guests were asked to list all those that interested them. Experiencing the local atmosphere in the destination (67 percent) and visiting cultural or historic attractions (66 percent) were the most popular. In addition, 57 percent listed dining and experiencing the local cuisine, while visiting tourist attractions such as theme parks, boat rides and sightseeing tours, was listed by 56 percent.

Safest Region to Visit: Across all four nationalities of survey participants, Norway was cited as the “safest region to visit,” closely followed by Alaska/Western Canada.

Not surprisingly, the German and British respondents ranked the Baltic Region as the second safest to visit during a pandemic era—showing their familiarity with a close-to-home choice and local government rules/regulations—while Australians and Americans voted it as the fifth safest to visit.

Source: Cruise Copenhagen

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