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Despite pandemic complications, 30 percent of travelers would consider cruising next year, a survey from the University of Florida shows, with fans of cruising even more willing to get on board.

Among avowed cruise lovers, 29.6 percent were ready to set sail in April 2021, while nearly half (46.3 percent) would cruise next year. Among those who didn’t identify as cruise lovers, 6.5 percent were willing to cruise in April 2021 and 23 percent would consider cruising in 2022.

“Cruise lovers are eager to sail again,” said Rachel Fu, Ph.D., director of the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute at the University of Florida and chair of the Department of Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management in UF’s College of Health and Human Performance. “They’ll come back as soon as they feel it’s safe.”

In the online survey of 1,540 U.S. citizens in February-April 2021, cruise lovers were defined as people who have a high intention to take a cruise when the industry reopens, with the majority having cruised previously. Across all respondents, willingness to cruise was linked to vaccine acceptance, with those open to the vaccine reporting a higher intention to take a cruise.

The self-contained nature of cruise ships and their private islands (shore excursions remain a question mark) essentially creates a bubble, Fu points out.

“If handled correctly, cruising could be very safe, since it is a controlled environment,” she said.

For travelers uncertain about when to jump into cruising, Fu recommends getting specific with your concerns. “What questions need to be addressed for you to come back to cruising? What are your barriers,” she said. You might want to know whether and how the ship will verify that passengers are vaccinated, or how it will handle any cases that might arise during the itinerary, for example. Share those questions with the cruise line, Fu suggests.

“Providers want to be sure they deserve customers’ trust by having the proper resources and well-trained employees,” she said. “Cruise lines want to spread happiness, not coronavirus.”

This article was written by Alisson Clark for UF News.