CLIA UK & Ireland managing director Andy Harmer explains why it’s important to put things into perspective and outlines how the cruise industry continues to adapt to changing situations.
With the wave period well under way, we’ve been encouraged to hear that CLIA members are reporting positive passenger demand.
The success of last summer’s round-Britain sailings was a key achievement, and great credit must go to the trade for expertly highlighting to customers the advantages of travelling on a domestic sailing.
We’re now seeing repeat demand from past cruisers who were delighted to simply return to the water again, while guests who sailed for the first time are clearly keen to get back on board.
Previously, around nine of out of 10 people who have taken a cruise will do so again within 12 months, and with this level of repeat bookers we’re confident we’re seeing those opportunities for agents once more.
With a further 16 new ocean cruise ships and 10 new river ships set to enter the market this year, there are further reasons for optimism, with agents able to offer their customers more choice than ever before.
Meanwhile, nearly six million passengers have, since August 2020, sailed worldwide on the 200+ ships that are currently in operation. Week on week we are seeing more and more ships take to the seas, giving greater choice to holidaymakers in terms of ships and destinations.
Putting the situation into perspective
We are aware of some media reporting on Covid-19 and cruise in the past few weeks, but it is always important to put those reports into perspective.
We have seen some itineraries change, but at time of writing this represents around 14 per cent of overall activity and it is certainly not “the majority”. The rate of occurrence of Covid-19 continues to be less than 1 per cent – far lower than on land.
As previously, CLIA ocean-going member cruise lines are sailing today with some of the highest levels of Covid-19 mitigation of any industry.
Protocols encompass the entirety of the cruise experience, incorporating a multi-layered approach to testing, vaccination, mask-wearing, enhanced ventilation, sanitation and other science-backed measures.
We have much to be proud of in cruise, and the industry should be held up high for demonstrating leadership in its health and wellbeing protocols.
While no setting can be immune from Covid-19, cases identified on cruise ships are consistently a slim minority of the total population on board – far fewer than on land – with the majority of those cases being asymptomatic or mild in nature.
And while Covid-19 is currently impacting some ports of call and visits, CLIA cruise line members will always look to adjust their itineraries accordingly.
We continue to work closely with the ports and local health authorities in all destinations that our cruise line member ships visit.
Thanks to each and every one of you for your continued support. Let’s all feel assured by the protocols we have in place and continue to offer the best holiday experiences in travel.