Cruise Lines Call for Passengers to Resume Travel as Demand Increases

By Bruce Harpham Monday, March 29, 2021

Cruise ship.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), a business association representing more than 90% of the world’s ocean’s ships, is pushing to resume travel. The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the cruise business. In April 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, issued a no sail order on all cruise ships with more than 250 passengers. CLIA points out that more than 300,000 cruise passengers have sailed over the past eight months worldwide as the cruise business gradually resumed operations.

Demand for Bucket List Cruise Increases

The long dark days of the pandemic have prompted more people to book unique cruises. “The biggest cruise business trend in 2021 is the desire to book bucket list trips. My clients are planning to cruise again in 2022. Still, the majority are not booking Caribbean cruises. I’m seeing a huge demand for expedition cruises to Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands,” Denise Ambrusko-Maida, owner of Travel Brilliant (a company that sells cruises), told Startup Savant in an interview. Ambrusko-Maida started selling cruises in 2016 when the cruise business had 24 million global passengers.

Increased demand in the cruise business is not limited to cruise ships either. Cruise On, a cruise accessories company, established in 2017, has seen a 70% increase in purchases in March 2021 compared to the previous month. "I'm confident that this is a turning point in the business,” said Jeremy Camosse, owner of Cruise On, during the interview.

Major Cruise Company Stock Price Recovers

Carnival, a cruise business, reported an annual loss of $10 billion in 2020 compared to a profit of $2.9 billion in 2019. A sharp decline in revenue drives the business loss. The company had $3.6 billion in passenger tickets in 2020 vs. $14 billion in 2019.

“The Carnival stock price is up 17% over the previous three months," said Jeremy Camosse, owner of Cruise On.

Cruise Line Flexibility and Higher Vaccinations

Demand for cruises is growing thanks to several factors, including pent-up demand, vaccination progress, and savings. According to an Expedia survey, 64% of Americans felt vacation deprived in 2021, and 26% had not taken a vacation in more than a year. Expedia is an online travel booking company.

In 2019, there were twenty million cruise passengers worldwide, according to Statista. Many of those past travelers are keen to sail again. A September 2020 survey commissioned by Panache Cruises, a luxury cruise business, found that 26% of people surveyed are planning to book a cruise as soon as possible. Cruise lines are responding by offering more flexibility.

“The cruise lines are offering low-cost deposits from just 5% and have incredibly flexible booking conditions, meaning that customers can move their cruise to another date if they wish,” James Cole, founder and managing director of Panache Cruises, told Travel Weekly.

COVID-19 vaccinations are also making steady progress around the world. According to NPR, 15% of the US population (i.e., 50 million people) have been fully vaccinated as of late March. Also, US President Joe Biden has set a goal to deliver 200 million COVID-19 shots in his first 100 days in office (i.e., by April 30). If that goal is met, a majority of Americans may be vaccinated and ready for travel for the 2021 summer traveling season.

About the Author


Headshot of Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book, "Project Managers At Work," shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.

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