Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, has released the 2018 Cruise Travel Report. The comprehensive analysis of cruisers and non-cruisers provides an annual overview of attitudes, behaviors and travel preferences. This year, key highlights of the study found almost all income brackets are cruising. A third (33 percent) of cruisers surveyed have a household income less than $80K, while 50 percent have a household income of at least $100K or more. The report also reveals a new generation of luxury travelers has emerged. Millennials are seeking out luxury cruises at a record pace with almost a quarter surveyed (24 percent) having sailed on a luxury cruise line within the past three years.
“Industry research efforts, like the 2018 Cruise Travel Report, offer valuable insight to how and why cruise vacations are on the rise and becoming the vacation choice for millions by charting changes in the preferences and behaviors of both cruisers and non-cruisers,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “The study confirms, cruise travel continues to break down income and generational barriers proving that today there is a cruise for every travel preference, style and budget.”
Findings of travel behaviors of cruisers and non-cruisers from Cruise Travel Report: Attitudes, Behaviors and Travel Preferences of Cruisers and Non-Cruisers report include:
- MILLENIALS RAISE THE SAILS: The percent of Millennials who “definitely will” book a cruise for their next trip increased from 63 percent last year to 70 percent this year.
- FRIENDSHIP: Last year marked the Year of FriendSHIP for cruisers, who enjoy traveling in groups. In fact, travelers who take a cruise are 40 percent more likely to travel with friends, partners/companions or children than land-based peers. In 2017, more travelers took vacations to spend time with family than they did in 2016.
- CRUISING ACROSS INCOMES: Income plays little role when choosing cruising as the better of the two vacation options—66 percent of people making less than $100K name cruises as a preference over land-based options, as did 70 percent of those making more than $200K.
- HIGH SATISFACTION = LOYAL CRUISERS: Cruisers are loyal to cruising. In fact, more than half of cruisers (58 percent) believe a cruise is the best type of vacation, a perception that remains consistent. They find high satisfaction in river cruises (81 percent) and ocean cruises (73 percent), followed by land-based hotels and resorts (62 percent). Nine out of 10 say they “probably or definitely will” cruise again.
- KIDS ARE JUST THE HOOK: On average, about 41 percent of cruisers say they are interested in childcare services, including babysitting, and programs for children and teens. But only 13 percent are reporting that they use these services. In contrast, only 32 percent say they want onboard entertainment while more than twice that many (70 percent) attend once onboard. Overall, entertainment, including shows, musicals and comedy, is the most used feature on cruises.
- DESTINATION SNACKING: Cruisers see cruising as a great way to sample different destinations and cities for future vacations. Millennials are inherent samplers and love to try new things before committing. They are increasingly likely to return to destinations visited first via a cruise. Indeed, all ages (except Gen X) show a greater likelihood of returning to a destination visited on a cruise than reported last year.
- AGENTS PROPEL CRUISERS: Travel agents are the most likely influencers of vacation-planning and decision-making for cruisers, who are twice as likely (70 percent) to use a travel agent when booking a vacation than non-cruisers (37 percent). *
- TOP 10 CRUISE STATES: A large percentage of cruisers hail from Florida (17 percent), but California (11 percent), Texas (9 percent) and New York (6 percent) are also big players in the marketplace. To a lesser extent, so are Georgia (4 percent) and North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois (all 3 percent).