(4:30 p.m. GMT) -- Cruise lines including Saga, Fred. Olsen and Seabourn have seen a surge in bookings from older customers which is being put down to the roll out of the coronavirus jab and increased consumer confidence.
Travel companies including TUI -- which owns Marella Cruises and TUI River Cruises -- said they had seen a huge surge in bookings in the past few days as the vaccine reached the over-80s and over-70s and consumer confidence in travel started to return.
This is despite the fact that the UK is still in Tier 4 lockdown with no clear indication on when travel restrictions will ease.
"The development and roll-out of the vaccine is a very good thing, and in December when news of the vaccine was first announced we did see a boost to consumer confidence for travel, and hence to bookings too," said Peter Deer, Managing Director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
"If the roll-out of the vaccine continues at the rate as predicted by the Government we expect to see a steep rise in bookings as people feel more certain for their holidays for 2021 and beyond."
"We have seen the UK luxury traveller to be a bit more resilient ....they cannot wait for us to return to service," said Lynn Narraway, UK Managing Director for Seabourn
"We are already having a strong dialogue with our guests, have brought our 2022 itineraries out earlier and are seeing good demand for 2022.
"All vaccine good news helps our industry and I do believe there will be a pent up demand of travellers wanting to cruise."
Saga is seeing an increased interest in once in a lifetime adventures and seen a spike in people going away for longer periods, according to a statement released by the Group.
Chris Simmonds, Saga’s Chief Executive of Holidays, said people over 50 are "hungry to travel", with once-in-a-lifetime trips next winter to destinations such as Uzbekistan and Uganda proving particularly popular, adding that Saga’s customers are "very adventurous and thinking about spoiling themselves".
Tui's UK managing director Andrew Flintham said the over-50s accounted for more than half of bookings received on the tour operator's website in the past two weeks, though he did not break that down to specific cruise bookings.
Meanwhile, river cruise operator APT said sales are strong for late 2021 and 2022, and particularly from September onwards, once the vaccination roll out is anticipated to be complete.
"It's a welcome picture; the confidence in an active vaccination roll out and that fact that our core audience will be amongst the first 15 million people to be inoculated by mid-February will help to drive this spike up further," said Paul Melinis, Managing Director, APT.
Despite the almost complete shutdown of cruising globally, cruise bookings are still strong for later this year and 2022 and 2023.