Has The Insatiable Craving For Long Cruises Returned?
The cruise industry may have taken a battering, but it’s coming back strong.
“Consumer confidence has never been higher,” says cruise industry expert Stewart Chiron (a.k.a. The Cruise Guy).
One measure of this growing confidence: Seasoned travelers are booking lengthier cruises allowing them to experience ports in multiple countries and continents with a greater number of laid-back sea days.
“Based on a recent survey of our readers, nearly a third of respondents (30%) said they’ll be booking a longer cruise than usual,” says Chris Gray Faust, Managing Editor of Cruise Critic.
“What we’re hearing from cruisers is that they’re eager to get back to doing what they love,” she says. “We’re also seeing greater interest in more far-flung bucket list destinations—including world cruises—all of which tend to be longer sailings.”
Regent Seven Seas Cruises, a luxury, all-inclusive cruise line with six ships, is also bullish on the return of cruise enthusiasts.
The cruise line recently announced its collection of four dreamy 2024-2025 Grand Voyages that certainly offer ample time for guests to get their sea legs. These itineraries include:
- An 83-day Grand Arctic Adventure from New York to Barcelona;
- A 79-day Grand European Sojourn voyage, round-trip through Northern Europe and the Mediterranean;
- A 63-night Grand Asia Exploration cruise from Tokyo to Sydney; and
- A 70-night Grand Spice Route from Auckland to Athens, with calls in Africa and Asia.
“The recent launch of our 150-night, 2025 World Cruise was met with unprecedented demand, so we know that there is a huge appetite for our longer voyages,” says Jason Montague, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “We are confident that these four inspiring Grand Voyages will also be incredibly popular,” he added.
Each Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship holds no more than 732 guests who enjoy the luxury of all-suite, all-balcony accommodations with a host of extra amenities.
What factors might explain the interest in longer cruises after the Centers for Disease Control put nearly all U.S.-passenger sailings on hiatus for over a year?
“For travelers who have gone years without planning a vacation, longer cruises allow them to check off a number of destinations and experiences in one trip,” says Gray Faust. “People don’t just want to get out of their homes—they want to take advantage of truly incredible experiences.”
“The issues surrounding the unpredictability of air travel in 2022 also play into this a bit. If people are going to take a long flight, they want to do it once and stay longer, instead of taking multiple shorter trips,” she adds.
Gray Faust notes another major pandemic-influenced shift that is affecting cruise length: the surge in the ability to “work from anywhere.”
“Increasingly, people are combining work and travel, a trend has extended to cruises. Even those guests who aren’t of retirement age, who couldn’t take long cruises before without taking off weeks at a time, can now work on board,” she says.
Yet despite the wave of optimism, cruise waters still remain somewhat murky.
Earlier this week, the CDC announced it was ending its voluntary COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships at a time when rates of COVID are increasing worldwide. While cruise lines are still determining what changes will be made to their current policies, some have begun to remove pre-cruise testing requirements.
Chiron and Faust agree that purchasing the right travel insurance is vitally important now, especially when booking a long and costly cruise.
“Cancel For Any Reason coverage not only provides medical and trip protection but will also cover your investment if anything happens ahead of the trip that prevents you from sailing the full or partial cruise,” says Gray Faust.
“The future is getting brighter, but precautions still need to be taken,” says Chiron.