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COVID-19

The cruise industry is still riding the ups and downs of the pandemic

Savannah Maher Mar 22, 2022
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The early days of the pandemic were rough for the cruise line industry, and recovery is coming back in fits and starts. Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

The cruise industry is still riding the ups and downs of the pandemic

Savannah Maher Mar 22, 2022
Heard on:
The early days of the pandemic were rough for the cruise line industry, and recovery is coming back in fits and starts. Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The early days of the pandemic were brutal for the cruise line industry. The CDC issued a no-sail order for the ships. That brought a lot of negative publicity, said Assia Georgieva, who focuses on the cruise industry as principal of Infinity Research. 

“People were calling cruise ships ‘petri dishes,'” Georgieva said.

And who wants to vacation in a petri dish? With the CDC ban lifted and vaccines widely available, she said cruise loyalists have been returning. “There seems to be so much pent-up demand.”

But the recovery is coming in fits and starts, according to Rob Kwortnik, a professor of marketing at Cornell. For example, 2021 holiday cruise bookings were strong

“Consumer demand was there, and then omicron just crushed that,” he said.

Cruises are typically booked farther out than other types of travel, he added. “Three, six, nine months in advance. And the unpredictability with the pandemic makes that more challenging for consumers.”

Cruise ships will continue to fill up, but he said a full financial recovery for the industry is a longer haul. 

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