Intentions to take a cruise vacation not hampered by safety concerns

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In the wake of several recent cruise industry accidents and the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, concerns over cruise ship safety have not yet translated into a drop in Canadians intentions to take a cruise.

According to Harris/Decima Vice-President Patricia Thacker, “While Canadians have clearly taken notice of the cruise industry’s recent troubles, they don’t appear to be giving up on the industry just yet.”

While Canadians’ perceptions about cruise ship safety are generally on par with other forms of travel, news of the three recent cruise industry incidents – the Costa Concordia, the Costa Allegra and the Azamara Quest– has obviously reached Canadian shores: nine out of ten Canadians have heard about the Costa Concordia incident, and more than two in five Canadians have heard about all three incidents.

These incidents have resonated with Canadians to some extent; more than eight in ten agreed that “Safety is something cruise lines need to take a lot more seriously” and more than two-thirds feel that “An incident like that is likely to dissuade people from taking cruises.” Canadians also seem to expect that more incidents are on the horizon – half “expect another incident that costs lives will occur on a cruise ship in the next two years”. At the same time, Canadians do not appear to be turned off from taking cruises – more than seven in ten agreed with the statement “These are rare incidents and not something I would worry about if I took a cruise.”

Despite industry troubles, Canadians’ cruise intentions appear to be stable for now. According to Ms. Thacker, “At present, intentions to take a cruise are still favourable, but another incident will undoubtedly tip the balance on Canadians’ willingness to take a cruise.” Nationally, one quarter of Canadians have taken a vacation trip where they spent at least two nights aboard a cruise ship at some point in the past, with just over one in ten having done so in the past three years. Intentions to take a cruise align with numbers for past cruising: one in ten Canadians are definitely or very likely to take a cruise in the next two years.

Nearly one in five intend to take more cruises in the next three years compared with the past three years, while two in five say they will cruise less. But while market outlook shows some room for improvement, cruise industry accidents don’t appear to be a driving factor. Affordability, other spending priorities, and different vacation preferences were the largest barriers for those not intending to take a cruise in the near future. Those Canadians who do plan to take a cruise in the next two years are looking for good pricing and value for money

when deciding which cruises to take – the reputation of a cruise line was the deciding factor for only one in ten cruise vacationers.

Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1,000 Canadians through teleVox, the company’s national telephone omnibus survey. The most recent data were gathered between April 11 and April 16, 2012. A sample of the same size has a margin of error of 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.