An overwhelming number of Cruise Passenger readers have said they want both crew and their fellow passengers to be vaccinated before they step aboard.
Close to 90 per cent of readers said they believe vaccinations should be mandatory for everyone on their sailing and 82 per cent of people will get the vaccine once it is available.
News of the vaccine rollout across the world and in Australia has prompted confidence in the market. Royal Caribbean this week deployed its newest ship, the Odyssey of the Seas which will be sailing from Israel, where all crew and passengers will be vaccinated.
Royal Caribbean, along with its COVID-19 health and safety protocols, will require any guest or crew member above the age of 16 to be vaccinated.
Israeli citizens will be able to sail on Odyssey of the Seas for seven-night voyages to destinations in the Mediterranean including Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos and Athens in Greece as well as Limassol in Cyprus.
The sentiment survey also shows that cruisers are ready to sail now. Compared to the previous month where only 14 per cent of readers were willing to cruise, a staggering 30 per cent of readers are ready to set sail with an additional 15 per cent looking to sail in the next three months.
Around 38 per cent of readers also said they are considering booking a cruise this year, and an additional 40 per cent are keen to book for voyages sailing in 2022.
Asked what the most important factor influencing their booking would be, 39 per cent listed health and safety protocols on board ships would be the deciding factor, followed by flexible cancellation policies (30 per cent) and only 11 per cent nominated low fares.
This result suggests that low fares will not be the driving factor to lure customers back on board, but the cruise lines will need to confront the fears over health and safety.
Last year, 44 per cent of readers said they were unsure whether they would sail with the same lines, but the latest survey shows that around 55 per cent of people would stick with their favourite brands.
While only around nine per cent said they would be switching, an astounding 36 per cent of people said they were still open to switching to a different cruise brand.
The majority of 41 per cent said they would choose cruising with a smaller line, and particularly around Australia and New Zealand.
Just this week, three more lines – Aurora Expeditions, APT and Scenic – revealed that they planned to bring ships Down Under, increasing the scope of small ship cruising in Australia.
They join luxury French line Ponant and Australian-owned Coral Expeditions.