In a Cruise Critic survey that received more than 1,700 responses, 36% said the CDC's 'do not cruise' warning made them decide not to cruise right now.

‘This high figure was a bit of a surprise as we’ve seen loyal cruisers committed to cruising throughout the pandemic. It’s clear the weight of the CDC voice is important to our cruisers,’ said Colleen McDaniel, editor-in-chief.

The Dec. 30 warning by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deemed cruising a Level 4 risk, advising Americans against it despite their vaccination status.

Besides the 36% deterred, an additional 23% told Cruise Critic the warning might impact their decision to cruise, and they will use it as one factor in determining whether to cruise. A further 26% said it has not impacted their decision and they will continue to cruise as planned.

Greatest consumer worries

Those who have reconsidered or are reconsidering plans to cruise are most worried about being quarantined at sea (83%), contracting COVID from their cruise (73%) and being quarantined on land (61%).

One-third comfortable/very comfortable with cruising

The survey further found that 33% of respondents are ‘comfortable/very comfortable’ cruising.

Respondents feel more comfortable taking a cruise than flying on an airplane (29% comfortable/very comfortable), attending an indoor wedding (18% comfortable/very comfortable), attending a house party with 10 guests or more from outside their family (18% comfortable/very comfortable) or going to an indoor concert and/or sporting event (16% comfortable/very comfortable).

Respondents feel less comfortable cruising than going shopping in their neighborhood (61% comfortable/very comfortable), staying at a hotel/resort (46% comfortable/very comfortable) or dining at a land-based bar or restaurant (38% comfortable/very comfortable)

Some 37% of respondents would feel comfortable cruising within the next three months. Specifically, within the next month (20%), two-three months from now (17%), four-six months from now (24%), seven-12 months from now (21%), a year or more from now (18%).

Shopping trends up after a ‘bleak’ stretch

Year-end and holiday period cruise sales looked ‘bleak,’ Cruise Critic said, with booking and activity very low. Around Jan. 5, things started to turn around, with Jan. 9 breaking traffic and shopping records dating back to just before COVID really took hold in early March 2020.

‘Over the first two weeks in January, we are well over double the shopping activity compared to January 2021. This is really welcome news, and a great sign that COVID fatigue is wearing thin and cruisers are actively planning their return to the seas,’ McDaniel said.

Shoppers are expected to turn into clickers and then bookers, but some time will be needed to move them through the buying process. ‘We are just now starting to see the uptick in bookings, which should continue,’ McDaniel said, adding the numbers are not reflecting that yet.