Exclusive: More cruise passengers are ready to sail and want Aussie cruising to resume

More cruisers are ready to set sail again, with 37 per cent of Cruise Passenger readers saying they want to sail as soon as the Australian Government allows the resumption of domestic cruising.

This is seven per cent more than last month, when only 30 per cent said they were ready to sail.

Another 30 per cent said they would be ready to cruise next year, according to the latest Cruise Passenger sentiment survey conducted in May.

An overwhelming majority of CP readers –  89 per cent –  said that vaccinations should be compulsory for both the crew and fellow passengers before they board a ship. This hasn’t moved since last month.

The majority of readers, 89 per cent, also said the Australian Government should only allow the resumption of domestic cruises with healthy passengers, provided the ships and crew are regularly tested.

No sign of the concerns deterring others among our readers – almost 87 per cent of Cruise Passengers readers are ready to be vaccinated once the vaccines are available – five per cent more than last month.

When asked what was the most important factor influencing their decision to book a cruise holiday, 47 per cent said all crew and passengers must be vaccinated. Another 19 per cent cited hygiene and safety protocols onboard as the next important reason while 15 per cent nominated flexible change and cancellation policies.

This survey showed that cruise lines would have to deal with passengers’ fears about onboard healthy and safety protocols in order to lure them back to cruising.

More than 86 per cent of readers said that ships should provide free medical facilities and treatment if passengers get infected with COVID-19 virus.

Cruise Passenger readers are also loyal cruisers who will stick by their favourite brand. More than 53 per cent said they would not change their regular cruise line when booking a holiday. This is similar to last month’s sentiment survey which showed that 55 per cent would stick to their favourite cruise brand. Less than 10 per cent said they would be willing to change to another cruise line.

Among those who would be willing to change to another line, more than 39 per cent said they would switch to a smaller ship with 11 per cent opting to cruise with a luxury line.

Once cruising restarts, the majority of readers, 81 per cent, said they would only cruise around Australia and New Zealand with 24 per cent picking Europe and 17 per cent Asia.

When asked to rate how cruise lines have handled the pandemic, more than 57 per cent said they handled as best as they could.

More than 43 per cent of readers surveyed also said the cruise industry handled refunds of cancelled cruises as best as they could.

Another 53 per cent said they have a cruise credit from cancelled cruises and more than 75 per cent said they have not used their Future Cruise Credit.