Celebrity Eclipse sailed into Sydney this morning on her penultimate journey of the season. Majestic Princess has already sailed away.
The 2022/23 wave season has been an amazing comeback for just about every cruise line – and has been applauded by Cruise Passenger readers in an exclusive poll.
We asked our readers: who was best at bringing back cruising to Australia? The answers were a nice surprise for cruise lines, who haven’t had many pats on the back of late as they wrestled with health protocols and vaccine mandates.
Almost 70% per cent of 300 readers who responded to our poll said they felt cruise lines had done well or every well in handling health protocols and getting their ships back into local water, and just 1.7% thought they had handled things badly.
That’s one of the strongest endorsements for the big cruise return ever.
Local lines faired particularly well, with Princess well ahead in the approval stakes at 30% of the vote, while Royal Caribbean and P&O were almost tied at 12.4% and 13.8% respectively.
Viking also scored well at 7.6%.
Joel Katz, MD of Cruise Lines International Association Australasia, said of the poll results: “Cruising’s return to Australia has been very successful and the response from cruise fans has been fantastic. Over the summer peak, we welcomed around 40 different cruise ships to Australian waters, which is a very solid first season.
“Many thousands of Australians have already sailed here and overseas, and the feedback has been excellent – cruising remains as popular and rewarding as it has ever been and we’re seeing strong bookings well into the future.
“It’s very encouraging to hear that so many cruise guests have been pleased with the industry’s efforts, and this is in line with CLIA’s own research which shows public enthusiasm for cruising is now back at pre-pandemic levels.
“Cruising is undergoing a renaissance worldwide and by the end of this year, we expect global passenger numbers to have returned to 2019 levels. Australia is likely to follow a similar trajectory and by next summer we will see around 60 international ships sailing in local waters – putting the local industry back at pre-pandemic scale.”
Cruise Passenger readers aren’t planning to cut back on cruising despite the state of the economy, the survey also reveals.
Over 34% said they would continue to cruise, as it’s better value than most other holidays. Another 31% said the economic downturn and cost of living wouldn’t affect their holidays at sea, and almost 16% said they would be upgrading to upper premium or luxury.
Only 12 per cent said they would move to a more economical line and 5.5 per cent said they would book shorter cruises to save.