(9:30 a.m. EDT) -- Cruise Critic readers are watching the Delta variant to see how it will affect travel in the next few months, but it's not stopping them from booking cruises or causing them to cancel their plans.
A survey of 2,965 readers found that nearly 59 percent believed the health protocols being put in place by the cruise lines made cruising safer than other forms of travel.
More than 60 percent of the respondents said they felt comfortable with both masks onboard and testing before cruises -- the safer the better. Slightly more than 24 percent said they were fine with testing, but not masks, while 4 percent said they would wear a mask but not take a COVID-19 test. Less than 12 percent said wouldn't cruise if mask and testing requirements were in place.
The Delta variant has caused some concern among Cruise Critic respondents. About 31 percent said they would prefer to wait to cruise until COVID-19 cases are lower in the U.S. Another 35 percent said they were watching how the Delta variant affects the cruise experience. Thirty-four percent said they were comfortable sailing right now.
Despite the variant, Cruise Critic readers are planning and booking cruises. Nearly 54 percent said they were comfortable booking a cruise now. About 38 percent said they wanted to see how things go over the next few weeks, while less than 9 percent said they would not book right now.
Almost 58 percent had a cruise already booked over the next six months. The majority of those -- nearly 57 percent -- said they planned to keep their booking. Almost 37 percent said they might cancel, depending on what happens in the next few weeks, with only 6.5 percent saying they would cancel the booking.
Cruise Critic has been keeping tabs on how the Delta variant could impact upcoming cruises. In the past few weeks, lines have placed new masking and testing requirements on passengers because of the case surge. For a full list of what cruise lines require, read Which Cruise Lines Require a COVID-19 Vaccine?