Stats: 54% of Advisors See Most Lines Sailing Before Year's End

Cruise ships docked in St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands
Cruise ships are shown docked at St. Thomas, USVI. But when do advisors believe most cruise lines will sail once again? (Photo by sorincolac/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

End of year 2020 looks like “a go” for most cruise lines to be back sailing on global oceans and rivers, at least in the minds of 60 front-line travel advisors and travel agency owners who completed a Travel Agent survey last week.

Answering 10 survey questions, 54 percent of all advisors responded that they expect most cruise lines to begin sailing once again this year. Another 17 percent believe that return to global oceans and rivers will come by the end of January 2021; however, 29 percent see by February 2021 and beyond as a better scenario—and, of those, 5 percent stretch the return of most lines until June 2021 or beyond.  

While results are anecdotal, they show the current mindset of professional travel advisors and agency owners in what’s proven to be a very challenging year. 

Here's a look at results from three survey questions. Additional results will be posted this week and early next.  

Return of Most Lines

Question: When do you believe most cruise lines will be sailing again?

  • By the end of October – 17 percent
  • By the end of November – 14 percent
  • By the end of December – 23 percent
  • By the end of January 2021 – 17 percent
  • By February or March 2021 – 12 percent
  • By April or May 2021 – 12 percent
  • By June 2021 or beyond – 5 percent

New Cruise Booking Trends

One survey question asked advisors and agency owners about what time frame their clients were booking a new cruise (without using a Future Cruise Credit).

Nearly two-thirds of all advisors said if their clients are booking a new cruise, it’s for spring/summer 2021. When considering spring or beyond, the total is 82 percent.

Few say clients are booking a new cruise for later this year, and only 14 percent said their clients were booking for the first quarter 2021. Here’s the full breakdown:

Question: If clients are booking a new cruise (and not using an FCC) what time frame are they booking?

  • Now through the end of 2020 – 4 percent
  • January through March 2021 – 14 percent
  • Spring and summer 2021 – 62 percent
  • Fall and winter 2021 – 17 percent
  • 2022 or beyond – 3 percent

Question: If clients are booking a new cruise, what region of the world is most popular for these new bookings? Tell us how each region ranks.

  • Caribbean - 50 percent
  • Alaska – 21 percent
  • American rivers – 19 percent
  • European rivers – 10 percent

What region placed second in the same question? Alaska was tops for second-most appeal as chosen by 36 percent of advisors, the Caribbean cited by 25 percent of advisors and American rivers garnered 17 percent, followed closely by European rivers at 14 percent.

In the third spot for most consumer appeal was the Mediterranean with 23 percent of advisors citing that region, followed by Alaska (21 percent) and American rivers (18 percent).  

Broad Survey Group

Advisors and agency owners completing this survey represent independent agencies, host-affiliated entities, franchise agency members, luxury travel/cruise agencies, consortia affiliated top sellers and other travel selling groups. 

Some of those taking the survey operate brick-and-mortar agencies, others are home-based. Some hail from big cities, including Chicago, Houston, Orlando, Baltimore, New York, San Diego and Phoenix, to name a few. Other were in smaller cities, towns and villages across America. Responses to this survey were received from advisors/agency owners in 19 states.

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