Costa disaster did not dent cruising's popularity, poll finds

Costa disaster did not dent cruising's popularity, poll finds

The Costa Concordia disaster has failed to prevent UK consumers from continuing to take cruises, new research shows.

A poll found that 96% of those considering a cruise have not been put off by January’s tragedy, with almost half (45%) saying that the accident has had absolutely no impact on their attitude towards cruising whatsoever.

The Travelzoo survey of 1,865 subscribers revealed that 41% of people who had never taken a cruise said they would think more about safety in future, compared to 25% of seasoned cruisers.

Of those new-to-cruise, only 5% said the accident had put them off cruising altogether, compared to just 2% of cruisers.

More than 70% of respondents said they were currently considering taking a cruise holiday.

Any damage to Costa’s reputation seems to have had more impact on experienced cruisers, with 20% saying the accident has led them to avoid the Costa brand, compared to 14% of non-cruisers.

The study also revealed that 57% of people aged 44 and under find the biggest barrier to cruising is the perceived lack of independence and a desire to go “at your own pace”.

In turn, 32% of those aged 35 and over said the number of people and size of the ship is the biggest deterrent, an issue that does not appear to bother younger travellers.

When asked to pick their three most important features when choosing a cruise, more than a quarter of under 44s rated the price as very important, followed by the itinerary (19%). Respondents aged 45 and over gave equal importance to price and itinerary (23% respectively).

The brand and reputation of a cruise line was only the third most important factor (16%) while ship amenities came in fourth with 8%, reinforcing the fact that travellers are looking for good value and adventure, as opposed to sticking with a brand they know well, according to Travelzoo.

More than half (52%) of respondents said that the global economy and problems in specific destinations had absolutely no influence over where they choose to spend their holidays.

The Mediterranean and Caribbean topped the list as the most desired cruise destinations for all age groups (17% and 15%).

Mote than three quarters (78%) said they are happy to go on either a fly/cruise or an ex-UK cruise. Of those who favoured no-fly cruises, 85% were aged 45 and over.

Travelzoo UK managing director Joel Brandon-Bravo said: “Earlier this year many critics felt that the cruise industry had been damaged irreparably; however this survey has proved just how positive attitudes are towards cruising.

“Cruise lines should take note that consumers are clearly looking for excellent value and exciting itineraries, with even the most seasoned cruisers putting this above travelling with a specific company.

“Over the last eight months we have seen some of the most competitively priced cruise deals ever, which have really tempted people into travelling with different cruise lines, as well as encouraging a younger audience to try out cruising for the first time.”

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