Saga has reported high load factors for its cruise ships ahead of the planned resumption of sailings on 27 June.
In a trading statement covering 1 February to 13 June, Saga said average load factors for 2021/22 stood at 77%, “with per diems ahead of plan”. Bookings for 2022/23 are at 48% of capacity.
Saga suspended cruises in March 2020 and will resume initially with UK itineraries. The inaugural cruise of Spirit of Adventure takes place on 26 July and European sailing are planned from mid-August.
However, Saga said: “With continued uncertainty surrounding the timing of the full easing of government restrictions and the implications of that for the travel sector, we have put in place contingency plans to manage any potential impacts. This includes plans to potentially operate for a short period with fewer guests than typical load factors, if necessary.”
Saga travel division’s monthly cash burn for the four months to 31 May 2021 “was at the lower end” of previous guidance of £7-£9 million per month, the operator said.
It added: “Customer loyalty and demand throughout the suspension period has been outstanding, with 73% of cancelled cruise bookings retained and sailings through to the end of September seeing exceptionally high demand.
“Customer retention in tours remains stable at 42%. Bookings are also strong with 60% of the revenue target booked for 2021/22 and 27% for 2022/23, with the latter ahead of pre-pandemic levels.”