Sentiment around the new-to-cruise market has “turned pretty negative” in recent months, but cruising will “ultimately be the safest vacation” in the world, according to the boss of Celebrity Cruises.

Joining a Travel Weekly webcast from Miami, president and chief executive Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said: “Ever since the pandemic started, we have been gauging and doing consumer research, and clearly, new-to-cruise has been impacted.

“That will be a market that will take a little time to recover and for us to get the numbers of new-to-cruise that we that we were targeting for many, many years – not only for Celebrity but for the whole industry. That’s a fact.”

But she added: “I do believe that in some period of time when we do this right, because we will – we’re putting too much time and energy and we’re engaging with the best people in the world about this – that cruising will ultimately be the safest vacation that you can take, because we do have the ability to control our environment.

“That is the benefit of cruising and I do believe over time, new-to-cruise will start coming around again. When that is, I don’t know. Again, we need science to catch up with us. We need therapeutics, we need a vaccine, we need rapid, reliable testing.”

Lutoff-Perlo said: “The sentiment around new-to-cruise has really turned pretty negative over the last few months [but] the thing that’s really encouraging is that we are booking cruises. People want to get on the ships again, and yes, a lot of them are loyalty guests, but a lot of them are not.

“I think that one of the things that we’ve proven over time is that we will get this right and we will provide a safe and healthy environment. I believe people believe that and they’re already booking their vacations for next year, because in addition to some hesitancy, there’s a lot of pent up demand as well.

“We’ll focus on that positive and we’ll continue to work hard to convert those people who are probably sceptical about cruising right now.”