The most popular places and itineraries Australians, Americans and Europeans are booking for 2021 are starting to emerge.
Aussies are still looking further afield for cruises next year, like rebooking Alaskan summer voyages and even sailings in the Mediterranean.
But some are playing it more cautiously, rethinking 2021 and others are changing itineraries, so they sail closer to home.
Our American and British counterparts are looking for cruises closer to home, but comments from cruisers show that Brits are looking at Alaska for 2021.
Here are some of the trends that the agents and lines are seeing with future bookings.
Cruise Passenger readers have sent in a mixed response for their 2021 plans. Some, who have booked 2020 sailings, will move their voyages to next year.
Julie Gregory said, “We will wait to see what the lie of the land is until any decisions. We were going to Alaska with Holland America Line this year but unlikely to be in a position to travel until 2021,” she wrote.
“We’ve tried twice to see Milford Sound in New Zealand but fogged in one day and our Celebrity cruise bypassed the sounds because of a medical issue out of Melbourne. So might be NZ again.”
Many others, like Beverly May said she will continue her booking with HAL through Greece and the Mediterranean in August 2021.
Gail Molloy and Dominic Papa have cruises booked from Dubai sailing to Rome and Venice respectively.
Kathy Pavlidis from Travel Associates said that while many Australian cruisers are taking this time to plan, some have already booked cruises for September and October this year.
“We have seen some cruisers taking the chance and booking mainly South Pacific and Fiji for later this year. While there might be the chance that the cruise ban extends, they just want something to look forward to,” she said.
Ms Pavlidis also said that most of her clients are rebooking their cruises for 2021.
“We are seeing most people looking to rebook their 2020 itineraries for next year. Places like the Mediterranean, river cruises as well as Alaska are still extremely popular.
“Bookings for next year show there is also an increase in demand for smaller ships, but also for Antarctica. Expedition and adventure cruising was already on the rise, but we are now seeing a greater interest for next year.”
With American river cruising looking to resume by June, the trend is that Americans will look to sail closer to home. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention currently has a no sail order for ships larger than 250 guests.
But American Cruise Lines, which sails the Columbia and Snake Rivers, will start its first cruise with the American Song on June 20.
American Cruise Lines says it’s getting back on the water because passengers are clamouring for vacations.
“Our guests want to cruise,” said Charles B. Robertson, president and CEO of American Cruise Lines, told Travel and Leisure.
“There is a resurgence of demand to begin exploring this country, and as the largest American cruise line, we look forward to responsibly resuming travel.”
The Mississippi River is also looking to be a popular pick and Americans are also looking to Alaska, the Caribbean, and small-ship coastal cruising, like around the Baja area on the country’s west coast have seen increased bookings in 2021.
Many of America’s homeports like Miami and Port Canaveral are considered as ‘drive to’ ports where travellers can park their cars and cruise. What many agents are seeing is that travellers are coming from regional and neighbouring states of major cruise homeports.
Ben Bouldin told Cruise Critic British cruisers are looking for more far-flung destinations like the Caribbean and Alaska.
“I think people are waiting to see what’s happening in Europe, understandably so, and I think there’s definitely signs of interest creeping back,” he said.
“We’re doing quite a lot of work at the moment to just understand what the demand is in the industry and what the demand is for our products.”
But what still remains popular amongst the British cruisers are local sailings from Southampton, Dover, Portsmouth and Liverpool.
A number of cruise lines homeport their ships out of these seaside towns and cities, and local cruises are attracting UK residents.