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US cruise lines say domestic bookings are up in wake of pandemic, Ukraine war

March 08, 2022
3 min read
US cruise lines say domestic bookings are up in wake of pandemic, Ukraine war
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Demand for domestic cruises is up in recent weeks as a result of the waning COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's attack on Ukraine.

That's good news for small-ship cruise lines able to operate exclusively in U.S. waters.

American Queen Voyages -- which, in addition to ocean and Great Lakes cruises that call mainly on U.S. ports, operates river sailings that only call on U.S. ports -- said it experienced record booking numbers on Feb. 25, 2022, shattering its previous single-day record by 10%. The line also said it has seen a marked increase in travel agent inquiries about its sailings.

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"The resounding feedback from guests and our travel advisor partners over the past two weeks is that people want to cruise now, without complications and uncertainty, and our experience checks those boxes," American Queen Voyages Chief Operating Officer Shawn Bierdz said in a statement.

In response to the demand -- and to coincide with its 10th anniversary -- the line has added more voyages, including four new Lower Mississippi sailings in June.

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A representative from the line indicated that the recent uptick is due to uncertainty in Europe, as cruise lines have canceled calls on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

American Cruise Lines -- which offers U.S.-only river and Alaska cruises -- has seen a similar trend and says travel always remains a priority for people, even during uncertain times.

"American Cruise Lines has seen an uptick in bookings and interest as COVID-19 cases have ebbed," American Cruise Lines President and CEO Charles B. Robertson told The Points Guy. "Demand for domestic travel has remained strong over the past week. American Cruise Lines has specialized in domestic cruising for over 30 years and we have repeatedly seen interest remain strong through periods of global uncertainty."

At the beginning of the pandemic, when the cruise industry was shuttered, domestic travel, such as road tripping and camping, was on the rise. Now that cruising has restarted, many travelers are eager to be back on the water while sticking closer to home, even as the number of COVID-19 cases decreases and vaccination rates climb.

Meanwhile, Pride of America -- Norwegian Cruise Line's Hawaii-based vessel and the only mainstream cruise ship able to sail exclusively in U.S. waters -- has delayed its restart until April 9, 2022, according to an update on United Cruises' website.

Featured image by Sean McVeigh
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Build your loyalty to Delta by applying for the carrier's mid-tier card option, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card. The annual fee is quickly recouped by the card's travel perks, such as an application credit to Global Entry or TSA Precheck, annual companion certificate and so much more. Plus you can fast-track to elite status simply through card spend.

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  • Enjoy a per-visit rate of $50 per person for Card Members and up to two guests to enter the Delta Sky Club when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
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  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees