Cruises benefit from air traffic chaos, shipowners are setting records
Airport strikes, delayed flights, and flight cancellations lead to more people starting their vacations on cruise ships now. After the prolonged coronavirus pandemic that almost paralyzed the cruise world, shipping companies can relax again and are showing a rush of bookings. As a result, Holland America Line, among others, is expanding the number of sailings in the Netherlands, de Telegraaf reports.
The cruise industry is booming in 2023, after the chaos at European and especially Dutch airports during the May holidays, which resulted in travelers either delayed or unable to take their vacations at all, comes in handy for the cruise world. Now that airline tickets have become more expensive, vacationers are being drawn to cruise ships.
Shipping companies, such as Holland America Line, which sails from the Netherlands to more northern regions in the summer, are seeing an increase in bookings, according to managing director Nico Bleichrodt, "The number of beds is up from 57,000 to 63,000," he told the newspaper.
For Bleichrodt, it is clear that flying is a critical issue for many at the moment. "Flying is a question mark for many, the ship is on their doorstep," explains the Holland America Line managing director. That is why a cruise to the Canary Islands will be offered in April 2024, as a counterpart to the traditional vacation in the countries of southern Europe during the May holidays.
MSC Cruises, the world's third-largest cruise line, is also benefiting from increasing requests. About three years ago, MSC Cruises carried 2.7 million people, according to CEO Gianni Onorato, while 4.2 million are expected this year. In addition, the cruise line is now focusing more on sustainability, as demonstrated by Euribia's sustainability cruise in Amsterdam last week.
The international cruise industry association CLIA had previously calculated that the cruise industry would set a growth course compared to 2019. Even though there was stagnation during the pandemic, the industry retained one-sixth of passenger numbers. In 2023, CLIA expects a 6 percent increase, representing 31.5 million additional passengers. By 2027, that number is expected to rise to 40 million.
According to de Telegraaft, the increase in cruise bookings is not only due to the annoying flight chaos but also to inflation. After all, for the many early bookers that are common in the cruise industry, it pays to pay in advance to avoid sitting on additional charges later.