High Time for Expedition Cruising

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The announcement of the vaccination program in the U.S. greatly coincided with the wave season, which led to a good start of 2021 for expedition cruise lines, said President of ExpeditionTrips travel specialist Ashton Palmer, according to 2021 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News.

“The first part of the year is the wave season. With the news of the vaccines and things getting moving – that really spurred business. It's been quite busy with people inquiring and booking since the first of the year, in contrast to the latter part of last year when it was fairly quiet as people were waiting for the vaccines. And also, with the election here and things like that,” Palmer said.

Over in the UK, the interest in expedition cruising has been consistently ahead of 2019, Edwina Lonsdale, the managing director of Mundy Adventures (an expedition-specific subsidiary of Mundy Cruising specialist), noted.

“We're seeing average purchases, something like 400 days out. That has always been the case that it's been booked very early, it tends to be a very big purchase. It's a once-in-a-lifetime (experience), very special,” she said.

Lonsdale added that the consumer mentality has changed. No longer are passengers delaying far-flung destination cruises.

“I think that's been a COVID effect, that ‘oh, my God, I'm not in control of everything and, therefore, I need to leap in there and do the things that I want to do.’ So, we have seen a very high level of interest in those iconic destinations. For example, our Antarctica inquiries this year have been higher than ever, really strong,” she said.

Palmer agreed with Lonsdale.

“People are wanting to do these bucket list trips. I think that's driven even more by the pandemic… A lot of bigger trips too. I think that people have saved up money over the last year or two, especially those who prioritize travel,” said Palmer. “So, they have plenty to spend, and they're booking longer trips, more expensive cabins. And I think that the pandemic has pushed people to do things perhaps sooner rather than later because they weren't able to travel for so long.”

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