The majority of Americans prefer to spend most, if not all, of their cruise exploring the destinations of call, a surprising 34.3% have reported preferring to stay on the ship the entire or majority of the time.
The main reason for not wanting to disembark at the ports of call was safety concerns with the destination (36.2%). This was followed by disinterest in the destination (17.7%), fear of not getting back to the ship on time (16.8%), inclusive food/drinks on the ship (9.4%), not having pre-booked an off-board activity (8.3%), having visited the destination previously (6.8%) and lack of internet/mobile connectivity (4.8%).
In addition to where Americans want to spend their time while cruising, the survey posed questions about current cruising trends such as themed, river and adventure/expedition cruises.
One-quarter (25.5%) of Americans indicated they would be more interested in taking a cruise if it was themed – such as a music, food or pop culture cruise – while 26.6% stated being less interested and 48% remained unchanged.
Most respondents (73.9%) preferred the attributes of a river cruise to ocean cruising (26.1%) citing the following reasons: scenic view/ ability to see the shore line (22.4%), shore excursions included in the price (13.5%), lack of waves (12.3%), easier to disembark/ being on land every day (12.2%), smaller ships (7.6%) and more socializing opportunities (6%).
Adventure and expedition cruising is gaining popularity with an almost even split of respondents interested in taking the exploration route (48.9%) versus a sunny beach cruise (51.1%).
A big misconception found in the survey by Allianz Global Assistance was that many Americans (59.2%) believe their cruise line would be equipped to handle serious medical emergencies, when in actuality, cruise lines often require passengers to be transported to the closest medical facility for treatment.
Often local medical facilities may not be equipped to handle major medical problems and some cruisers may need to be evacuated by air ambulance to the U.S. for treatment.
Being airlifted back to the U.S. via air ambulance from Mexico or the Caribbean due to a serious medical issue can cost up to $20,000, which was another misunderstanding found in the survey, where more than half of respondents (56.1%) believed that it would cost less than $20,000.
The right travel insurance policy may pay for medical bills incurred and a medical evacuation or cover non-refundable payments if a customer must cancel their cruise due to a reason covered by their policy.
It may also cover the cost to catch up to a cruise if a connection is missed, which may be more common since most Americans reported planning on arriving in the departure city of their cruise either the day before (38.5%) or the day of (21.5%) their cruise, leaving them more susceptible to uncontrollable factors such as flight cancelation or bad weather.