Is Carnival seeing a boom in demand for its first cruises as it looks to return to sailing?
It certainly appears that way. A spokesperson for the company described demand for the cruise line’s limited inventory as “very high,” and November cruises are no long available for booking.
Earlier this week Carnival made a tough decision to cancel most of its sailings through the end of 2020. The only exception was a handful of ships sailing from two major ports: Miami and Port Canaveral.
“Following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) decision to extend its no-sail order for cruise operations, Carnival Cruise Line is notifying guests and travel agents that it has cancelled cruises from all U.S. homeports except Miami and Port Canaveral for November and December 2020,” the company said in a statement.
However, the popular cruise line also made it clear that the sailings from Florida were not a sure thing.
“While operations from Miami and Port Canaveral in November and December are still not certain, Carnival is focusing its initial return to service from those two homeports, whenever that might occur.”
In fact, given the uncertainty, the cruise line is even allowing passengers to cancel if they are on these sailings. If they do so, passengers will get their money back, or they can put what they’ve paid toward a later cruise and receive onboard credit.
“Demand for Remaining Inventory on Cruises out of Miami and Port Canaveral Has Been Very High”
If there was any worry about mass cancellations, however, it seems to be unfounded.
We just checked Carnival’s website, and noticed that there are no sailings from Miami or Port Canaveral available for booking in November. A search for both ports returns a message stating “There aren’t any cruises with the details you searched for.”
Take a look:
This message has appeared before during the pandemic. Many times it pointed to an upcoming announcement about further cancellations or modifications to the schedule.
Thinking it was possible that more cancellations could be in order, we contacted Carnival to ask if November’s sailings were being axed.
In response, a company spokesperson sent us this message:
“Following our decision to cancel all other operations in November and December, the demand for remaining inventory on cruises out of Miami and Port Canaveral has been very high. If a ship or itinerary is not available, it is because it has reached booking capacity.”
While it’s likely that capacity on the first cruises back is limited to help with social distancing constraints, there have also been a number of updates across the industry that point to strong demand for cruises, whenever they do return.
In fact, back in August Carnival CEO Arnold Donald told Bloomberg “there is a lot pent-up demand for travel in general and especially for cruise.”
In the meantime, the CDC’s recent extension of the “No Sail Order” was for just 30 days, seeming to signal that cruising could be on the cusp of returning to the United States. As well, lines have continued to introduce more concrete plans for returning to sailing safely while sailing in Europe has already restarted in limited capacity.
While no one can be sure, there seems to be more reason than at any time in the past to be optimistic cruises will return in the weeks ahead.
Judging from the demand that Carnival is seeing for its first cruises, many passengers also seem more optimistic and ready to get back to sailing.