SAFETY CONCERNS AND DISINTEREST IN ON-SHORE DESTINATIONS ARE TOP REASONS THAT MORE THAN ONE-THIRD OF AMERICANS PREFER TO STAY ON SHIP DURING A CRUISE
Allianz Global Assistance Wave Season Survey Finds Most Travelers Overestimate Cruise Ships Ability to Handle Serious Medical Emergencies
While the majority of Americans prefer to spend most, if not all, of their cruise exploring the destinations of call, a surprising 34.3 percent have reported preferring to stay on the ship the entire or majority of the time, according to a new wave season survey* conducted by leading travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance.
The main reason for not wanting to disembark at the ports of call was safety concerns with the destination (36.2 percent). This was followed by disinterest in the destination (17.7 percent), fear of not getting back to the ship on time (16.8 percent), inclusive food/drinks on the ship (9.4 percent), not having pre-booked an off-board activity (8.3 percent), having visited the destination previously (6.8 percent) and lack of internet/mobile connectivity (4.8 percent).
In addition to where Americans want to spend their time while cruising, the survey posed questions about current cruising trends such as themed, river and adventure/expedition cruises.
One-quarter (25.5 percent) of Americans indicated they would be more interested in taking a cruise if it was themed – such as a music, food or pop culture cruise – while 26.6 percent stated being less interested and 48 percent remained unchanged.
Most respondents (73.9 percent) preferred the attributes of a river cruise to ocean cruising (26.1 percent) citing the following reasons: scenic view/ ability to see the shore line (22.4 percent), shore excursions included in the price (13.5 percent), lack of waves (12.3 percent), easier to disembark/ being on land every day (12.2 percent), smaller ships (7.6 percent) and more socializing opportunities (6 percent).
Adventure and expedition cruising is gaining popularity with an almost even split of respondents interested in taking the exploration route (48.9 percent) versus a sunny beach cruise (51.1 percent).
“The one product that’s always on trend to put cruisers’ minds at ease is travel insurance,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications for Allianz Global Assistance USA. “A big misconception we found in our survey was that many Americans (59.2 percent) believe their cruise line would be equipped to handle serious medical emergencies, when in actuality, cruise lines often require passengers to be transported to the closest medical facility for treatment. Often local medical facilities may not be equipped to handle major medical problems and some cruisers may need to be evacuated by air ambulance to the U.S. for treatment.”
Being airlifted back to the U.S. via air ambulance from Mexico or the Caribbean due to a serious medical issue can cost up to $20,000, which was another misunderstanding found in the survey, where more than half of respondents (56.1 percent) believed that it would cost less than $20,000.
The right travel insurance policy** may pay for medical bills incurred and a medical evacuation or cover non-refundable payments if a customer must cancel their cruise due to a reason covered by their policy. It may also cover the cost to catch up to a cruise if a connection is missed, which may be more common since most Americans reported planning on arriving in the departure city of their cruise either the day before (38.5 percent) or the day of (21.5 percent) their cruise, leaving them more susceptible to uncontrollable factors such as flight cancelation or bad weather.
“Cruising is a significant travel investment and we agree with respondents that getting travel insurance before a cruise is of equal or more importance than with other types of trips,” said Durazo.
Allianz Global Assistance offers travel insurance through most major U.S. airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies, other travel suppliers and directly to consumers. For more information on Allianz Global Assistance and the policies offered for travelers, please visit: http://www.allianztravelinsurance.com.
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*Methodology: This 10-question survey was administered to the U.S. internet population from March 3, 2017 through March 5, 2017, receiving 1,529 responses. The methodology is explained here and a snapshot of survey findings are listed below:
1. Have the recent announcements of cruise lines adding sailings to Cuba made you more or less interested in visiting the country?
- 16.7% - More Interested
- 7.3% - Less Interested
- 16.4% - Unchanged, I’m still interested
- 59.5% - Unchanged, I’m still not interested
2. If you were to take a cruise anywhere, to what extent would you prefer to stay on the ship versus get off the ship to explore the destinations?
- 6.5% - Entire time on the ship
- 27.8% - Majority on ship with some destination time
- 40.1% - Majority in destination with some ship time
- 25.5% - Entire time exploring the destination
3. When taking a cruise, what would be your main reason for not wanting to disembark at the ports to explore the destinations?
- 9.4% - Inclusive food/drinks on the ship
- 36.2% - Safety concerns with the destination
- 17.7% - Disinterest in the destination
- 16.8% - Fear of not getting back to the ship on time
- 8.3% - Not having pre-booked an off-board activity
- 4.8% - Lack of internet/mobile connectivity
- 6.8% - Having visited the destination previously
4. Would you be more or less interested in taking a cruise if it was themed (ex: music cruises, foodie cruises, pop culture cruises like Star Wars)?
- 25.5% - More interested
- 26.6% - Less interested
- 48% - Unchanged
5. What attribute of a river cruise would make you prefer to take a river cruise over an ocean cruise?
- 12.3% - No waves
- 22.4% - It’s more scenic/ You can see the shore line
- 12.2% - Easier to disembark/ On land every day
- 6% - More socializing opportunities
- 7.6% - Smaller ships
- 13.5% - Shore excursions included in the price
- 26.1% - None, I prefer ocean cruising
6. Would you be more interested in taking an adventure or expedition cruise to destinations like Alaska versus sunny beach destinations like the Caribbean?
- 48.9% - More interested in adventure or expedition
- 51.1% - More interested in sunny beach
7. If you were to take a cruise, how many days in advance would you plan to arrive in the departure city of your cruise?
- 21.5% - 0, I’d arrive the same day
- 38.5% - 1
- 18% - 2
- 6.4% - 3
- 3.1% - 4
- 3.1% - 5
- 9.4% - 6 or more
8. If you were to get sick on a cruise, do you think the cruise line would be equipped to handle serious medical emergencies?
- 59.2% - Yes, I think cruise lines are equipped
- 40.8% - No, I don’t think cruise lines are equipped
9. If a cruise were to disembark you in Mexico or the Caribbean due to a serious medical issue, what do you think it would cost you to be flown to the U.S. via an air ambulance?
- 30.4% - $0-$10,000
- 25.7% - $10,001-$20,000
- 14% - $20,001-$30,000
- 9.9% - $30,001-$40,000
- 4.5% - $40,001-$50,000
- 15.4% - $50,001 or higher
10. Do you think it’s more or less important to purchase travel insurance before a cruise versus any other type of trip?
- 40.3% - I think it’s more important
- 10.9% - I think it’s less important
- 48.8% - I think the importance is equal
Allianz Global Assistance USA
Allianz Global Assistance USA (AGA Service Company) is a leading consumer specialty insurance and assistance company. We provide insurance to over 25 million customers annually and are best known for our Allianz Travel Insurance plans. In addition to travel insurance, Allianz Global Assistance USA offers tuition insurance, event ticket protection, registration protection for endurance events and unique travel assistance services such as international medical assistance and concierge services. The company also serves as an outsource provider for in-bound call center services and claims administration for property and casualty insurers and credit card companies.
** - Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply to all plans. Plans are available only to U.S. residents. Not all plans are available in all jurisdictions. For a complete description of the coverage and benefit limits offered under your plan, carefully review your plan’s Letter of Confirmation/Declarations and Certificate of Insurance/Policy. Insurance coverage is underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: Oakbrook Terrace, IL), rated "A-" (Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: Richmond, VA), rated "A+" (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101-C series or 101-P series, depending on state of residence. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are brands of AGA Service Company. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of these plans and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson Insurance Company. Non-insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company.