Bolsover Cruise Club managing director Michael Wilson on the lifting on the international cruise ban

Domestic cruises: Why demand shows optimism is not misplaced

Booking patterns for domestic cruises departing this summer give weight to what industry executives have been saying for months – there is plenty of pent-up demand, says CTN editor Gary Peters.

I wrote on these pages in March that the cruise industry could look to the future with optimism following the release of domestic itineraries from several cruise lines.

In the weeks since, clients have rushed to secure their places on these voyages.

Today (14 April), Saga revealed that a majority of its summer UK cruises have sold out and it now has limited space on one itinerary.

The inaugural sailing of Spirit of Adventure and three of the four British Isles cruises on Spirit of Discovery sold out within two weeks of officially going on sale on 29 March.

This is not some anomaly.

Earlier this month, Celebrity Cruises reported a “phenomenal response” from guests for its domestic cruises departing this summer.

The line, which is running six to eight-night itineraries from 3 July on Celebrity Silhouette, said it had received “huge support from travel partners”, with VP and managing director EMEA Jo Rzymowska adding that “holidaymakers are just as keen for a return to cruising as we are”.

Then there’s Viking. The line has added two additional UK sailings this June following positive feedback from clients.

Within hours of its ‘summer soirée’ coastal cruises going on sale, Virgin Voyages was celebrating, as associate VP of international sales Shane Riley highlighted on Twitter.

Meanwhile, P&O Cruises said in late March it had received an “overwhelming” number of bookings for its staycation voyages.

President Paul Ludlow said: “It is very demonstrable evidence that a holiday at sea, with all that it has to offer, is a popular and much longed-for option this summer.”

As for international operations, it’s not all bad news.

Following the release of the Global Travel Taskforce report, CLIA and the UK Chamber of Shipping welcomed the news that the government intends to restart international cruise operations alongside the wider restart of international travel, stating that the report was a “signal of confidence” in cruise sector.

Roll on the summer.

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