Following the announcement that UK domestic cruises can recommence from 17 May, the prospect of a staycation cruise is likely to be popular this year. Cruise firms will be placing their bets on the UK market as they set their sights on generating some much-needed income, while international cruises look to be off the cards for the foreseeable future.
Cruises have always been a popular holiday option for many UK travellers. GlobalData’s Q3 2019 consumer survey revealed that over 1 in 10 UK respondents typically undertook a cruise rising to 14% for baby boomers and 18% for the silent generation. Considering these generations are most likely to be fully vaccinated by the summer, staycation cruising could be an extremely popular option within the general UK market.
The cruising industry has practically ground to a halt since the pandemic arrived. Staycations could be a great option for operators to test the best ways to return to sailing and provide some much-needed revenue.
Avid cruisers are desperate for a break
Given the high level of uncertainty as to when cruises can fully return, travellers will be very excited at the prospects of a partial return to the waters. The announcement of itineraries from P&O and Royal Caribbean cruises further shows companies are hedging their bets and have a strong feeling that demand from the UK market will be high.
Covid-fatigue has not dampened the travellers’ desire. Cruisers remain one of the most loyal customers in travel. The prolonged suspension of the industry has resulted in high levels of pent-up demand waiting to be unlocked by cruise companies. Coupled with the increased likelihood that travellers will be looking for trips closer to home, the industry may just have the right ingredients to make UK cruise staycations a success.
For some cruise-goers, it could be a good test to see whether they feel confident again to take a longer cruise in the future. Safety measures undertaken on UK cruise itineraries will be similar to the ones on international cruises when they are allowed to operate again. This means that cruise customers can get a taste of what’s to come and whether they think the safety measures are adequate or not.
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Safety concerns still remain high
Pandemic-cautious consumers will still be extremely hesitant to step onboard a cruise ship. Even though enhanced health and safety procedures are in place, the prospect of being stuck at sea with a potential Covid-19 outbreak may be enough to deter some. Companies must focus on promoting the robust protocols put in place to gain customer confidence.
Only time will tell whether the prospects of UK staycation cruises will generate enough interest to make the venture worthwhile. Covid-fatigue has risen in the UK, and travellers will likely opt for exciting and novel holiday options once restrictions begin to ease. The unknown aspect of a cruise staycation could be an exciting prospect for many and could prove a success for the industry before international sailings can recommence.