Cruise Demand Is Soaring to a Pre-Pandemic High Right Now

New data shows that travelers haven't been this interested in cruising since 2020.

Cruises are having a moment right now. We've got the TikTok-famous nine-month Royal Caribbean cruise that's currently enjoying views of Antarctica, all of these impressive wave season deals that just launched, and plenty of chatter around how ships are traversing the infamous Drake Passage. This increased popularity isn't just a news cycle, either. Cruise popularity is genuinely on the rise.

According to new data from InsureMyTrip, the demand for cruises is the highest it's been since before the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Four years later, even though the rate of COVID infections is still high, the memory of people being trapped on an illness-ridden ship early on in the global health crisis seems to be a distant memory.

Now, people are more interested in getting out there and sailing around the world. If you are planning on taking a cruise in 2024, InsureMyTrip shared a few top tips to make sure your aquatic adventure goes as smoothly as possible.

1. Book your cruise during wave season
If you're unfamiliar with wave season, think of it sort of as the shopping holiday specifically for cruises. It runs between January and March, and is the time when you can find major price reductions on your fare, plus tons of thrown-in bonuses like cabin upgrades, credits, and gratuities. If you don't know where to start looking, Thrillist has you covered with tthe best 2024 wave season cruise deals ight here.

2. Make sure you're choosing the right cruise for you
There are some really niche cruises out there—you can take a Taylor Swift cruise or a Hallmark Christmas movie cruise—and there are also major stylistic differences between cruise offerings. You can go on a classic-style sailing on a big ship that makes stops at Caribbean ports and offers activities like dancing by the pool deck and sunset yoga. Expedition cruises, which are more nature-focused and typically on much smaller ships, are another option. Whatever your speed is, find a ship that meets your travel needs, or you could find yourself stuck at sea on a ship that's filled with kids when you were looking for a peaceful escape.

3. Know what's planned off the boat
As much as the ship and what’s happening onboard is important, your docked days matter too. Make sure you're stopping at places you'd genuinely want to explore and would enjoy during a non-cruise vacation too. Plus if you're booking excursions in advance, you might be able to snag a lower rate, and won't have to worry about losing your spot on the excursion.

4. Get all your visa and passport requirements covered
Not all ports are created equal. Make sure you know exactly which documents you'll need when you stop at each port on the itinerary. If you don't have a passport, you can also consider taking a closed-loop cruise, which often has more options for domestic-only itineraries. (Also, right now is a good time to get a passport, as processing times are finally getting better.)

5. Strongly consider travel insurance
It feels pretty obvious for a travel insurance company to suggest travel insurance. But InsureMyTrip isn't the only one harping on this advice. Carnival Cruise Line's senior cruise director and brand ambassador John Heald recently made a post pleading with cruise passengers to insure their trip. Cruises have different cancellation policies than airlines and hotels, and you could end up being out of a lot of money if you cancel at the last minute and your trip is not insured.

Looking for more travel tips?

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Journalism from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She's worked in digital media for eight years, and before working at Thrillist, she wrote for Mic, The Cut, The Fader, Vice, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.