Cruise Travel - Older Generations
In the United States, Gen Xers and Boomers, who appear to go on a cruise more frequently than younger adults, enjoy or express interest in taking contemporary ocean cruises to international destinations. The desire to relax and experience new things appears to be the primary reason Gen Xers and Boomers go on a cruise. Ports, trips, destinations, itineraries, and sight-seeing options matter more to Boomers, while convenience, cost, and onboard entertainment matter more to younger adults.
USAGE AND FREQUENCY OF CRUISE TRAVEL
- Twenty-four percent of Gen Xers and 38% of Boomers are cruisers. Also, 42% of Gen Xers and 37% of Boomers say cruises are the best overall vacation for them.
- Thirty-eight percent of Gen Xers and 43% of Boomers say they will probably book a cruise for their next vacation, while 52% of Gen Xers and 47% of Boomers say they will definitely book a cruise for their next vacation.
- Older adults are more frequent cruise travelers than younger adults. As opposed to 7% of Gen Xers, 10% of Boomers and 19% of seniors aged 72+ went on a cruise in the past year.
- Twenty-seven percent of Boomers and 18% of Gen Xers are members of a cruise travel loyalty program. Seventy-five percent of these Boomers and 74% of these Gen Xers always or mostly book cruises through this loyalty program.
PREFERRED CRUISE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS
- Similar to younger travelers, older travelers favor ocean cruises over river cruises.
- Thirty-eight percent of Gen Xers and 32% of Boomers say ocean cruises are their favorite type of vacation. Only 3% of Gen Xers and 5% of Boomers, on the other hand, say river cruises are their favorite type of vacation.
- International destinations appear to dominate cruise travel destinations, as cruise travel is hardly preferred for domestic travel among Boomers.
- Among Boomers, cruise ships are the second most common mode of transportation for international travel after planes, but it is only the fourth most common mode of transportation for domestic travel after planes, personal vehicles, and rented vehicles. Of Boomers, 31% use cruise ships for international travel, while only 7% use cruise ships for domestic travel. Thirty-three percent of Boomers use cruise ship cabins for international travel accommodations, but only 8% of Boomers use cruise ship cabins for domestic travel accommodations.
- The Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and the Hawaiian Islands appear to be popular destinations for Boomers. European river cruising is emerging as a trend as well because "the slower travel and the immersive cultural side experiences" appeal to Boomers and their families.
- Almost 70% of Boomers and 58% of Gen Xers express interest in taking a cruise to Cuba. Most cruise travelers express interest in the destination because they view it as "a new, exotic, and mysterious destination." They want to immerse themselves in Cuba's unfamiliar culture.
MOTIVATIONS FOR CRUISE TRAVEL
- The desire to "see and do new things" and the desire to "relax and get rid of stress" are what motivates Gen Xers and Boomers to go on a cruise.
- Gen Xers go on a cruise to experience new things (38%), relax and rid themselves of stress (36%), gain knowledge (7%), go on a romantic vacation (3%), spend quality family time (15%), and be pampered (1%).
- Boomers go on a cruise to experience new things (43%), relax and rid themselves of stress (32%), gain knowledge (6%), go on a romantic vacation (6%), spend quality family time (11%), and be pampered (2%).
- Some Boomers take their entire family on a cruise to create memories of togetherness. According to Kristy Mosolino, owner of Wishes Travel in Alabama, more and more of their clients are choosing to provide their families "the legacy of travel instead of a financial legacy." These clients believe that "memories of togetherness are worth more than an inheritance."
- The following figures suggest that Gen Xers and Boomers prefer cruise travel for reasons relating to the number of destinations that can be visited while on a cruise, the quality of service that cruise travel offers, their desire to get pampered and achieve the best relaxation possible, and their desire to have a worry-free vacation. Older travelers appear more likely than younger travelers to go on a cruise for these reasons.
- Fifty-seven percent of U.S. travelers aged 60 years and older and 56% of U.S. travelers aged 30 to 59 believe that cruises are ideal for seeing several destinations in just a short period of time. Ages 39-54 comprise Generation X, while ages 55-73 comprise Boomers.
- Forty-six percent of both U.S. travelers aged 60 years and older and U.S. travelers aged 30 to 59 view cruises as a luxury vacation.
- Forty-five percent of U.S. travelers aged 60 years and older and 41% of U.S. travelers aged 30 to 59 believe cruise travel is "ideal for getting pampered."
- Forty-three percent of U.S. travelers aged 60 years and older and 42% of U.S. travelers aged 30 to 59 believe that cruises provide the best relaxation.
- Forty-two percent of U.S. travelers aged 60 years and older and 33% of U.S. travelers aged 30 to 59 believe that cruises offer a worry-free vacation.
- Ninety-five percent of Gen Xers and 88% of Boomers believe that cruising is a good way of sampling a destination.
FACTORS IMPACTING CHOICE OF CRUISE
- According to Cheryl Scavron, owner of a CruiseOne Company franchise located in Pompano Beach, cruisers aged 55+, especially those preferring adventurous cruise travel to new ports, do not necessarily seek luxury. In most cases, they seek value and quality service, in the form of good food and experiences, in exchange for their money.
- Cruise Week Editor Mike Driscoll says seniors do not care that much about frills. According to Driscoll, they desire "a comfortable way to see really interesting places that they've heard about their entire lives and they haven't really had a way to experience it."
- Never-ending cruises are likely to be chosen by adults choosing to retire on a cruise ship. Twenty-seven percent of cruisers would "consider retiring on a ship indefinitely," while 32% of cruisers would consider cruising for several years before going back to land.
- Ports, trips, destinations, itineraries, and sight-seeing options are more of a priority for Boomers than for younger adults. Younger adults are more concerned about convenience, cost, and onboard entertainment.
- Quality of food and cabin is an important consideration across all age groups.
PREFERRED CRUISE CLASS AND CRUISE TYPE
- Similar to younger travelers, older travelers prefer contemporary cruises over luxury and premium cruises.
- Eighty-seven percent of Gen Xers and 80% of Boomers go on contemporary cruises, while only 10% of Gen Xers and 4% of Boomers go on luxury cruises, and only 24% of Gen Xers and 23% of Boomers go on premium cruises.
LENGTH OF CRUISE TRAVEL
- Most Gen Xers and Boomers book cruises that last six to eight days.
- Gen Xers say the length of their last cruise was: 6 to 8 days (54%), 3 to 5 days (26%), 9 to 15 days (13%), 16 days or more (4%), or under 3 days (3%).
- Boomers say the length of their last cruise was: 6 to 8 days (62%), 9 to 15 days (20%), 3 to 5 days (14%), 16 days or more (3%), or under 3 days (1%).