TORONTO — Cruising is back in a big way, says First in Service Travel (F1S), so much so that it’s back to pre-pandemic levels among clientele in Canada.
The independent travel agency asked Canadian travel advisors to compare their cruise bookings to the same time in 2019. According to survey results, 64.7% said they were even or up compared with four years ago, with a plurality (41.1%) characterizing bookings as ‘up.’
When the same advisors were asked to compare their cruise bookings for this year versus 2022, a whopping 64.7% said they were ‘up.’
The Mediterranean ranks as the most sought-after itinerary among F1S’ Canadian clientele, with 58.8% of advisors naming it among the top three cruise destinations they are booking in 2023. The rest of the top five includes: Caribbean (41.2%), Alaska (29.4%), European river (13.0%), and Maritime Canada/New England (8.7%).
Other cruise itineraries that were named include: Antarctica, Arctic, Baltic, Greenland, Japan, Mekong, South America, and world cruises. F1S advisors also named Barcelona as the most popular pre- or post-cruise destination (18.8%), followed by Fort Lauderdale and Miami (tied with 14.7% each).
“While the cruise industry was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, it is now proving its tremendous resilience among our Canadian clients, who are literally seeking out opportunities around the world and from pole to pole,” said Fernando Gonzalez, CEO of First in Service. “Although many of our customers are taking to the sea on some of the latest, greatest mega-ships, a large cross-section is opting for the smaller, more intimate ships, whether for river or seafaring cruises.”
When F1S advisors across Canada were asked to share the style of cruise they were booking for their clients with the option of selecting all options that applied, an overwhelming 76.5 percent named “ocean” among their choices. The following selections were made:
- Ocean – 76.5 percent
- River – 47.1 percent
- Small Ship – 47.1 percent
- Expedition – 23.5 percent
- Specialty – 11.8 percent
- Yacht – 5.9 percent
According to the survey, 8-14 night cruises are the most popular length of cruise itineraries booked by a huge majority (88.2 percent), followed by 7 or less (5.9 percent).
F1S advisors were also asked to name any additional cruise trends they are experiencing, with a consensus noting the increase in demand for high-end, luxury cruise experiences.
“Clients are booking higher cabin categories to truly enjoy the onboard experience, including priority dining reservations, private transfers, access to exclusive lounges and pools, and enhanced in-room features with spa-like bathrooms,” notes Linda Montemarano, F1S Canada advisor. “Luxury cruising is very popular, specifically on Silversea, Seabourn, Oceania Cruises, Windstar Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises,” adds Vivien Rethazy, F1S Canada advisor.
First in Service surveyed advisors across the three segments its serves: business, luxury/premium leisure, and entertainment travel; 79.3 percent of the advisors who completed the survey actively book and sell cruises.
For information on joining F1S, email Fernando@F1S.com.