Cruise ship bookings up for 2021 despite Coronavirus

   April 2, 2020 ,   Cruise Industry

For much of February and March 2020, cruise ships were associated with Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections outbreaks and itinerary cancellations.

First, it was Diamond Princess, held off Japan's coast for nearly a month as the deadly virus spread among its cruise passengers and crew members. Another ship, Grand Princess, accumulated infections off the coast of California. In an ongoing saga, Holland America's ms Zaandam is en route to Fort Lauderdale FL with 200 sick and 4 dead passengers. 

HAL ms Zaandam cruise ship

In spite of these accidents, investment analysts at UBS say that their conversations with large US cruise companies show people are still "feeling dreamy about sea-bound escapes."

UBS equity analysts wrote in a March 31 report on cruise lines that booking volume in the last 30 days for 2021 was actually up 9% versus the same time last year. That includes people applying for their future cruise credits from sailings that were cancelled this year but show surprising resilience in the desire to book a cruise.

Major cruise companies have temporarily suspended sailings as a response to the virus. In cases of cancelled voyages, lines are giving guests the option to have cruise credits valued greater than the original purchases (some at 120%) or full refunds. It is unclear how much of the 9% increase in bookings is comprised of people rebooking cancelled trips.

Cruises to Alaska and Asia are up more than usual. The Caribbean tours are also performing well. The only bookings that are underperforming are to the Mediterranean Sea, the analysts revealed.

For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.