Photo: Delaney Brown / WUSF Public Media
WUSF Public Media
Cruises leaving from Florida are getting more crowded as bookings are twice as strong as last year
After nearly two years of pandemic restrictions on cruises, the industry is coming back as more travelers book trips with cruise lines.
According to AAA Travel, cruise bookings during the past four weeks have nearly doubled as compared to this time last year.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Celebrity Cruises are all sailing out of Port Tampa Bay.
The study points to several indicators for this increase in booking — including the Center for Disease Control’s recent decision to lower its cruise travel warning to a level 2.
This describes a “moderate” level of COVID-19 and encourages travelers to be up to date on vaccines prior to travel and avoid cruise ships if they are immunocompromised.
AAA’s research shows that over 20% of Americans are considering a cruise in the next two years, with 41% of those people claiming that they better understand the COVID-19 risks presented by cruises.
Additionally, Americans are more confident in cruise lines and their responses to the pandemic.
The study showed that 43% of Americans planning to cruise are confident in the cruise industry’s pandemic responses.
This includes measures such as vaccine and testing requirements for crew members, better ventilation systems, and more thorough cleaning practices and handwashing stations in high traffic areas.
Some popular destinations AAA anticipates cruisers to book trips to include Alaska, the Caribbean, and Europe.
Other destinations, including Africa, Australia, Iceland, and Tahiti are destinations Americans may begin to frequent more, the group adds.
AAA agents encourage those considering cruising to book soon, as factors such as volatile oil prices and general inflation in travel industries may lead to increasing prices for cruises as well.
The survey includes that 50% of Floridians are now more likely to purchase travel insurance than before the pandemic, partially due to the possibility of illnesses like COVID-19 before the cruises.