MIAMI - Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2024 World Cruise officially sold out within 2.5 hours when ticket sales launched this week. The price: a whopping $73,499 per guest.
The booking for the 132-night cruise began at 8:30 a.m. on July 14 and sold out by 11:00 a.m., with prices ranging from $73,499 per person all the way up to $199,999 per person for a master suite.
"With a waitlist longer than we have ever experienced, we knew that the 2024 World Cruise was going to be popular, but this outstanding response has surpassed all expectations and is without a doubt our strongest world cruise launch day ever," said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
The cruise line’s previous world cruise opening day record was set in September 2020 when the 2023 World Cruise went on sale.
In March 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placed a no-sail order on all American cruise ships in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Since then, the CDC has implemented strict guidelines for cruise lines to resume sailing after the COVID-19 pandemic. Operators must conduct mock test cruises simulating the real excursion and demonstrating they can comply with requirements or demonstrate that 98% of crew members and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated.
On May 20, Carnival Cruise Line announced the cancellation of all voyages until the end of July 2021 and the Disney cruise line postponed its simulation cruise due to inconsistent COVID-19 test results from employees.
The booking for the 132-night cruise began at 8:30 a.m. on July 14 and sold out by 11:00 a.m.
Two passengers tested positive while on a fully vaccinated Celebrity Millennium cruise on June 10, according to a Royal Caribbean Group news release. The asymptomatic passengers were isolated and contact tracing was conducted. Prior to departure from St. Maarten, all passengers and crew required proof of a negative COVID-19 test and proof of vaccination.
Celebrity Edge departed Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. on June 26 with 40% capacity and 99% of passengers vaccinated — becoming the first cruise ship to leave a U.S. port since the beginning of the pandemic.
Starting in July, Royal Caribbean required unvaccinated guests 15 or above to purchase a $136 COVID-19 test and follow CDC guidelines for unvaccinated people while on board. Children under 15 who cannot be vaccinated at this time would receive a free test.
Travel has increased dramatically since COVID-19 restrictions began to ease and vaccination rates continue to rise. In turn, the demand and pricing for travel has increased 9.5%, according to the April 2021 U.S. Travel Association Travel Price Index.
With hotel and airfare rates rising higher than pre-pandemic prices and the rental car industry suffering from low supply, Americans are turning to alternative forms of travel.
The Master Suite, which sells for $199,999 per person sold out for the 2023 World Cruise.
"For our guests, the 2024 World Cruise represents so much more than just a cruise vacation - it’s a return to a normality," Montague said.
Montague said interest in the cruise wasn’t just from past passengers, but from a large number of first-time travelers who booked higher-end suites this year.
Over 132 nights, the 2023 World Cruise ship will visit 66 ports across 31 countries and four continents with multi-night docks where passengers can explore the Taj Mahal in India, the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or Ayers Rock in Australia.
Passengers will explore 34,000 nautical miles beginning on Jan. 6, 2024 in Miami, Florida and travel to Central American, the West Coast, Hawaii, South Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Bermuda over the span of five months.
This story was reported from Boston.