Cruise specialist agency Iglu Cruise reported its highest volumes of traffic and online bookings since the start of the coronavirus crisis this morning.
The spike followed the launch of P&O Cruises’ UK itineraries including the maiden voyage of the line’s newest ship Iona – which led to P&O’s site temporarily crashing due to the “unprecedented” level of demand.
Iglu Cruise said its traffic was up by 300% by 9am, shortly after Iona went on sale at 8:30am.
The agency said the traffic spike also resulted in a surge of bookings, “emphasising the pent-up demand for travel and a buoyant return for cruises”.
Simone Clark, senior vice-president of global supply, said: “Many of our cruise line partners are responding to the current situation by releasing cruises for the British market sailing in UK waters for summer 2021.
“We were confident that travellers would return to cruising as soon as the guidelines allowed, but were not sure about the appetite for booking a UK cruise. The response this morning has been resoundingly positive”.
Clark added: “Given the ongoing uncertainty around international travel, these cruises are a great option for people looking for a change of scenery and eager to experience all of the things they have been missing during lockdown, from fine dining in restaurants to enjoying a show in the theatre.
“Whilst a Covid-19 vaccine is required on these P&O Cruises sailings, this hasn’t diminished the interest in planning or booking the itineraries. It is worth noting that there will soon be other cruises on sale where a vaccination isn’t mandatory, but rigorous testing will be in place, opening up cruising to families and those who have not yet been vaccinated.”
Iglu Cruise said it is “working around the clock” to keep the information on the website up to date with its team loading new cruises as they become available.
Along with P&O Cruises, other lines to have announced UK domestic sailings include Princess Cruises, Fred Olsen, Cunard, Saga, Riviera Travel, Hurtigruten, MSC Cruises, Viking and Tradewind Voyages.