Cruise ship holiday bookings up 9 per cent despite coronavirus outbreak

It seems travellers are prepared to batten down the hatches and sail close to the wind, as cruise bookings for 2021 are on the rise. Analysts at UBS say booking volume for 2021 cruises has "gone up 9 per cent in the last 30 days versus the same time last year," despite many cruise ships currently quarantined amid the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Post[1] reports. "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," UBS equity analysts wrote in a March 31 report on cruise lines.

RELATED: Follow the latest coronavirus updates[2] RELATED: The ticking time bombs off Australia's coast[3] The analysis doesn't show how much of the reported increase is actually people just optimistically rebooking their cancelled cruise for next year, though.

Voyages to Asia and Alaska are seeing the highest numbers, according to the report. The unlikely plot twist comes as numerous ships have been quarantined over the last couple of months as COVID-19 rapidly spread. Banished to the seas, cruises are without ports, unwanted and forgotten, meandering aimlessly along the coasts looking for someone, anyone, to take them in.

Holland America's Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships, which have 133 Australians on board between them, have finally been allowed to dock Florida after having been denied entry at other ports through South America. Four elderly passengers died, including two from COVID-19, while 97 passengers and 136 crew on both ships displayed "influenza-like symptoms", Holland America said. Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said an evacuation flight had been arranged for the Australian passengers, who will fly from Florida to the US west coast.

They could then be on another flight two Australia within one or two days, Ms Payne said. It's a relief for the sister ships that have been stuck in limbo, looking for a place to dock. "We started getting turned away by everyone," Emily Spindler Brazell, an American passenger who was on the Zaandam but was later transferred to the Rotterdam, told NBC.

"The world was closing its doors as we sat there waiting."

This article originally appeared on the New York Post[4] and was reproduced with permission

References

  1. ^ New York Post (nypost.com)
  2. ^ Follow the latest coronavirus updates (www.news.com.au)
  3. ^ The ticking time bombs off Australia's coast (www.google.com)
  4. ^ New York Post (nypost.com)

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