Royal Carib Boss Bayley says, "The more the positivity rate drops, the more the bookings increase. It's becoming quite typical."
A recent article in Travel Weekly reports that even though cruise sales are up because Omicron cases are down, no one in the industry is celebrating just yet.
Michelle Fee, the CEO of Cruise Planners, said that as the Covid-19 omicron variant wanes, some people aren't ready to hop on a ship right now. But her company's bookings show that they still plan to. Fee said that bookings for close-in travel and the Caribbean are dragging but voyages further out, for Alaska and Europe, are strong, making up 24% of all purchase destinations. Bookings on luxury ships were up, too, 24% higher than average in January.
During their earnings call, Royal Caribbean cruise line President Michael Bayley said, "The more the positivity rate drops, the more the bookings increases. It's becoming quite typical."
The article quotes Truist stock analyst Patrick Scholes as being skeptical. He said, "Our proprietary research strongly suggests that omicron is having a bigger impact on business than delta." Noting conversations with senior executives at large, cruise-focused travel agencies, and data on future booking and pricing, he said, "For the moment, cruise lines are holding their breaths on [the second half of 2022] and do not want to cut pricing until they have to."
The possibility of war in Europe between Russia and Ukraine also has travel experts nervous. Anthony Hamawy, President of Cruise.com said, "If there's a war, what size will it be? Will it spread into Europe? Will the fear be enough in neighboring countries that it affects demand there? We're a fragile industry right now because of the hell we've been through."