Demographics - Cruise Takers
The typical U.S. cruise passenger is a married baby boomer woman from Florida with a bachelor's degree and an income between $100,000 and $124,999.
- According to the 2018 CLIA Cruise Travel Report, 47% of cruisers are baby boomers, followed by gen-X at 20%, millennials at 18%, and traditionalists (or the silent generation) at 15%.
- However, 70% of millennials say they will definitely book a cruise again compared to 52% of gen-X, 49% of traditionalists, and 47% of baby boomers.
- The average age of a cruiser whose trip lasts for 16 days or longer is 58.
- The average age of a cruiser whose trip lasts for fewer than three days is 38.
- For trips that last between six and eight days, the average age of a cruiser is 52.
- In 2015, the majority of North American cruise passengers were between the ages of 35 and 54 (40.9%).
- Women are more likely to take longer trips, as 56% of females would prefer a cruise that lasts between six and eight days compared to 53% of males.
- However, men prefer shorter cruises, as 23% of men like trips that last between three and five days compared to 21% of women.
- In 2015, the majority of North American cruise passengers were female at 50.9%.
- The majority of cruisers have an annual income of between $100,000 and $124,999, representing 18% of cruisers.
- The second-highest income bracket for cruisers is between $70,000 and $79,000 at 13%.
- Just 9% of people with incomes of $50,000 to $59,000 take cruises and only 5% of people who earn $500,000 or more choose to cruise.
- In 2015, the majority of North American cruisers had an annual income of between $50,000 and $120,000 (50.9%).
- According to a 2015 study, the majority of North American cruise passengers had a bachelor's degree at 34.9%
- The next-highest educational level of cruisers was some college at 31.2%.
- Master degree holders represented 17.9% of cruisers, compared to high school graduates at 11.5% and PhD holders at 3.6%.
- Most cruisers are married, as 78% of cruisers travel with their spouses.
- Just 1% of cruisers travel alone, but 32% travel with their children under the age of 18, 22% travel with their friends, and 17% travel with other family members.
- The majority of U.S. cruisers are from Florida at 17%.
- Cruisers from California follow in second place at 11%, Texas is in third at 9%, New York follows at 6%, and Georgia rounds out the top five at 4%.
- Cruisers from North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois each represent 3% of U.S. cruisers.
The majority of demographic information on U.S. cruise passengers came from a report published by the Cruise Lines International Association in 2018. This report covered age, income level, marital status, and geographical location. There were also some insights into gender; however, the results were broken down by length of cruise rather than overall. There was no information on the educational level of passengers.
To find the gender and educational level of passengers, we continued searching for other market research reports published by sources such as Deloitte, PwC, and other consultancy companies. There were some reports on the reasons why people go on cruises and the cruise amenities that most satisfy passengers, but nothing on gender or educational level. We expanded our search to research paper repositories such as ResearchGate, ProQuest, and JSTOR, where we found a slightly older study published in 2015 that provided demographics of North American cruisers. Since it wasn't specifically about U.S. cruisers and was out-of-date by our standards, we elected to pass on this research initially to attempt one more research strategy.
We thought that perhaps travel agencies, travel blogs, or industry publications would cite cruise statistics for marketing purposes, which would lead us to the original surveys. After searching through sources such as CruiseCritic, Maritime-Executive, Cruising.org, Cruisable, TravelAgentCentral, and TravelPulse, among others, we only came across the number of cruisers per year, popular cruise destinations, cruise ship rankings, and demographic information for individual cruise lines (excluding gender and educational level). Therefore, we elected to expand our criteria to include the study from 2015 that included data on gender and educational level of North American cruise passengers. Since 77.1% of cruise passengers in the study came from the U.S., we assumed that the statistics presented in the paper mostly represent U.S. cruisers.