Cruise lines have finally started to roll out cruises that passengers can seek much needed time away. Royal Caribbean just announced seven cruise liners that will start setting sail in September and October.
Local travel agents believe that if these test trips go well there will be an increase in demand for those who want to travel during the winter months.
“If September and October go well, it will for sure be busy in November, December and January,” Wendy Eidmann, owner of Round Tuit Travel. “If the fall goes well, it should lead into a successful and high-demand cruise season.”
Numerous hurdles needed to be jumped through to figure out where to go and what to do. For example, those leaving from port in Florida are not required to be vaccinated. But those leaving on ships from Washington need to be vaccinated.
There are rules and regulations that the Centers for Disease Control enforces as well as cruise ship companies.
“You get some people that don’t want to mess with that, but you also get some people that are die-hard cruisers that have their vaccinations and will deal with it,” Chad Cotter, manager at Totally Trips, said.
Because of the uncertainty of when cruises will return to normal, many people are opting for the 2022 season in hopes there will be fewer restrictions.
“I have actually already booked the 2022 cruises,” Eidmann said. “So I think people are very optimistic going into 2022. The rooms are filling up extremely fast.”
Eidmann also mentioned that those with travel credits from canceled cruises are opting for those trips in 2022. She also mentioned that people need to be aware of rule changes as well. The time you book a cruise, the company might have a set of rules that are completely different when it is time to set sail.
The current state of travel highlights how important it is to work with a travel agent to navigate the waters with all of the rules and regulations. Land vacations are still popular methods for those who want to get out of town right now.
“Right now, we are doing a lot of land vacations and seeing people that do only cruises go to land based vacations because they want to get out,” Cotter said.
2022 could look somewhat normal again for the cruising industry, but it all depends on how the next couple of months go with these cruise ships setting sail.