Published March 22, 2022 at 9:08 AM EDT
TAMPA, Fla.-Mar. 22, 2022: AAA Travel says cruising is making a strong comeback after the pandemic temporarily put a hold on sailings. The Auto Club Group’s travel agency reports that cruise bookings during the past four weeks are twice as strong as this time last year and expects that positive momentum to continue through the travel season.
“We are seeing a resurgence in travelers who are eager to vacation again and that includes cruising,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Cruising is more available now than it ever was during the pandemic. Destinations are loosening travel restrictions and cruise lines hope to reach full capacity in the second half of the year. As a result, our travel agency is seeing a wide mix of bookings that include everything from short weekend excursions to worldwide voyages.”
According to new AAA research:
• 58.3 million (23%) Americans are considering a cruise in the next two years.
• Millennials are even more eager, as over half (52%) say they are ready to return to the open seas.
• 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.
CDC Lowers Cruise Travel Warning
AAA has noted an increase in traveler confidence as COVID-19 cases trend lower. Another positive indicator came last week, when the Centers for Disease Control lowered its cruise travel warning to a level 2. That’s the lowest level since the CDC began tracking coronavirus statistics. In the downgraded travel warning, the CDC encourages travelers to be up-to-date on their COVID vaccinations when cruising.
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 numerous safety protocols:
• 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
• Virtual safety briefings.
Alaska, the Caribbean, and Europe are among the most popular cruise destinations. While some of these cruises require an international flight to reach the first port of call, Americans may be surprised to learn there are growing options to sail out of the U.S. to exotic destinations like Africa, Australia, Iceland and Tahiti.