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Next year is shaping up to be exceptional for cruise vacations, with passengers from around the world with varying revenues and budget levels booking trips in excess of pre-pandemic volumes. This is according to the data of US cruise operators and travel agents, quoted by Reuters and BTA.
Passengers have turned to cruises in 2024 as they are still cheaper than land-based alternatives. With employment rates approaching pre-pandemic levels, operators plan to increase prices in the coming months.
"Overall, the market is extremely strong, especially in terms of high-end luxury cruises," said Bob Levinstein, CEO of Cruise Compete.
More than 270 ships with cruise tourists have docked in Vidin by the end of October
Although passengers have cancelled or postponed planned vacations in the Middle East, cruise bookings will still reach record highs in 2024, said Truist Securities analyst Patrick Scholes.
Before the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, the number of bookings was about 25 percent higher than in 2019 for bookings for 2020, and in November 2024, bookings were about 20 percent higher than in the same period in 2019, Scholes said.
"Demand for 2024 continued to accelerate, with bookings significantly exceeding 2019 levels," Jason Liberty, CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, said in October.
About 35.7 million passengers are expected to travel on cruises, up from 31.5 million in 2023 and 6 percent more than the volume of passengers sailing in 2019, according to the Association of International Cruise Lines (CLIA).
Growth of cruise ships and tourists in the Cypriot port of Limassol
According to Carnival CEO Josh Weinstein, volumes for 2024 fell in September as the company has no more vacancies to sell despite a 5 percent capacity growth from 2023.
The Royal Caribbean told investors that in the third quarter, two-thirds of guests either cruised for the first time or used the Royal Caribbean for the first time.
According to Liberty's data, the number of people who made rebookings doubled, writes "24 hours".
Online travel companies have seen the cruise boom. "Cruise travelers are loyal, with data showing that the majority of people who have once been on a cruise do so again, which is a prerequisite for sustainable growth," said Ben Harrell, managing director at Booking.com.
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