After 15 months stuck in port, cruise ships are starting the tourist season with increased reservations. On board, vaccinations are compulsory for all, while companies are adjusting health protocols on a daily basis depending on the destination.
Cruises haven't lost their luster for many tourists. On Thursday, June 24, Carnival Group announced that bookings for the second quarter of 2021 were up 45 percent over the first quarter of this year, without disclosing the exact numbers. These results bode well for the future, according to Carnival Group's president and CEO.
"[W]e continue to experience an acceleration in booking trends globally, including capturing significant latent demand for our new sailings this summer. This strong demand affirms confidence in our future," outlined Arnold Donald.
With about a dozen brands, including Costa Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines, the Carnival group remains the largest in the industry. In 2020, it owned 102 ships, or nearly 50% of the world's cruise fleet.
According to the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) 2021 projections, 270 ships will set sail this summer, starting in June 2021, two less than 2019 projections. A stable figure despite the pandemic.
Except for Canada, which has decided to maintain a level of 100 passengers per cruise until spring 2022, the number of vacationers on the ships is growing. On June 12, 2021, the Royal Caribbean International group's first cruise to the Caribbean this year set sail with nearly 1,000 people aboard the ship Adventure of the Seas.
While vacationers don't seem to be fearing crowds, they still want to be reassured about health protocols. According to a study commissioned by Cruise Copenhagen, conducted among 3,000 tourists who have already taken a cruise, 48% of people feel they can book if all health precautions are in place to limit the spread of covid-19.
For tour companies such as Royal Caribbean International, vacationers over the age of 16 must be vaccinated in order to board. As of August 1, children 12 years and older must also be vaccinated to board the ships
Despite the different guidelines regarding health protocols depending on the destination, companies are updating their health rules accordingly.