Report: Cruise Line Booking Numbers Look Strong for 2021

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Published Apr 2, 2020 7:03 PM by The Maritime Executive

Investor confidence in the cruise sector may have dropped relative to last year, but that sentiment does not seem to be shared by the cruising public, according to a new report from equity analysts at UBS. 

“Booking volume in the last 30 days for 2021 is actually up nine percent versus the same time last year,” UBS analysts wrote in a client memo on March 31. “That includes people applying their future cruise credits from sailings that were cancelled this year, but still shows a surprising resilience in desire to book a cruise.”

Many cruise passengers who opted to cancel or who were forced to cancel their cruise plans this season due to the coronavirus outbreak were offered the option to receive either a full cash refund or a future cruise credit with extra percentage bonus. Some portion of the future booking activity could reflect rebookings, and some  may reflect customers taking advantage of fare cuts. 

"They're promoting future cruises with tremendous discounts, so I'd be worried before investing in these companies to look at what kinds of margins you're going to get on that 2021 business," said Fox News contributor Liz Peek in an interview Thursday. 

Prof. Christopher Muller of the Boston University school of hospitality administration also predicts favorable pricing for consumers for the coming season. “The logical thing is they will have to have very deep discounts, and those deep discounts will be especially present in the next cycle of cruise seasonality in September,” he told The Guardian. “By August and September the consuming public will be enticed to go back on cruises because the pricing is going to be outrageously good with enormous discounts.”