Generational Travel

Part
01
of three
Part
01

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%).
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Cruise Travel - Younger Generations

In the United States, a considerable fraction of Gen Zers and Millennials demonstrate interest in going on a cruise in the near future. Younger generations prefer cruises that offer numerous opportunities for meaningful or edgy experiences, memorable excursions, and Insta-worthy moments. Ocean cruises to relatively exotic destinations such as Cuba and Asia and river cruises in Europe appeal to these younger generations.

POPULARITY AND FREQUENCY OF CRUISE TRAVEL

  • It appears cruise travel is popular not only among older generations but among younger generations as well. Forty-two percent of Millennials say cruises are the best overall vacation for them. Also, 13% of Gen Zers and 6% of Millennials say their most preferred type of vacation is a cruise.
  • Of Millennials, 24% say they will probably book a cruise for their next vacation, while 70% say they will definitely book a cruise for their next vacation.
  • Among generations, Millennials express the greatest interest in cruise travel. Fifty-six percent of Millennials express interest in going on a cruise over the following two years.
  • According to Bonnie Levengood, senior vice president for marketing at MSC Cruises, Millennials will travel several times a year even if they are in debt or they do not have enough money to do so.

PREFERRED CRUISE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS

  • Of Millennials, 34% say ocean cruises are their favorite type of vacation, while only 8% of Millennials say river cruises are their favorite type of vacation.
  • European river cruising, however, is the type of cruise experience that Gen Zers find most appealing.
  • Both Cuba and the Caribbean appear to be popular among younger generations. The Caribbean is a popular cruise travel destination among younger adults, and 43% of Millennials express interest in taking a cruise to Cuba.
  • Millennials are likely interested in taking a cruise to exotic or remote destinations, including Asia, South America, and South Pacific islands.
  • Sixty-three percent of Millennials express interest in visiting Asia while on a cruise.

MOTIVATIONS FOR CRUISE TRAVEL

  • Millennials go on a cruise to experience new things (48%), relax and rid themselves of stress (26%), gain knowledge (10%), go on a romantic vacation (6%), spend quality family time (10%), and be pampered (1%).
  • Ninety-one percent of Millennials believe that cruising is a good way of sampling a destination.
  • The value, opportunity, variety, and flexibility cruise travel offers motivate Millennials to go on a cruise. Millennials believe that cruise travel offers good value for their money because of its all-inclusive nature, the constant entertainment, and the variety of activities. They believe that there are places and things that can only be experienced through cruise travel.
  • The number of destinations that can be seen on a cruise and the unique experiences that cruise travel offers, such as "music festivals at sea," motivate Gen Zers to go on a cruise.
  • The following figures also suggest that younger travelers 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, these travelers' desire to get pampered and achieve the best relaxation possible, and these travelers' desire to have a worry-free, prestigious vacation. Younger travelers are far more likely than older travelers to view cruises as a luxurious and prestigious vacation.
  •  Fifty-four percent of U.S. travelers aged 18 to 29 believe that cruises are ideal for seeing several destinations in just a short period of time. Ages 23-38 comprise the Millennial generation.
  • Fifty-four percent of U.S. travelers aged 18 to 29 view cruises as a luxury vacation.
  • Forty percent of U.S. travelers aged 18 to 29 believe cruise travel is "ideal for getting pampered."
  • Thirty-eight percent of U.S. travelers aged 18 to 29 believe that cruises provide the best relaxation.
  •  Twenty-three percent of U.S. travelers aged 18 to 29 believe that cruises offer a worry-free vacation.
  • Forty-one percent of U.S. travelers aged 18 to 29 view cruises as a prestigious vacation.

FACTORS INFLUENCING CHOICE OF CRUISE

  • Millennials, who are known for their active lifestyle and their focus on experiences and social interaction, favor cruise lines they can connect with online, cruises that are less time-consuming and more budget-friendly, and cruises that feature music festivals, edgier experiences such as zip lines, rope courses, and go-carts, and immersive shore excursions such as opportunities for cultural enrichment and volunteering.
  • Millennials prefer cruises that offer authenticity and adventure and ships with high-speed Internet connection so they can easily share experiences online.
  • Millennials prefer cruises that give them numerous opportunities for Instagrammable moments, so cruises offering gastronomy, craft cocktails, and shallow pools have an advantage.
  • Sixty-nine percent of Millennials indicate that the eco-responsibility of a cruise line is an important consideration when deciding which cruise to choose.
  • Gen Zers want cruises that allow them to see multiple one-of-a-kind destinations and engage in various in-destination activities, and that offer "memorable excursions they can share on social media." Gen Zers find river cruising appealing because river cruises tick all the boxes.
  • Gen Zers, who relatively have smaller disposable income compared to older adults, may not be the ones making the actual river cruise purchase, but they strongly influence family vacation decisions.
  • According to Michelle Fee, chief executive officer of Cruise Planners, Gen Zers are attracted to cruises that offer exploratory, immersive, or adrenaline-fueled experiences. Gen Zers enjoy "anything off the beaten path, such as a private island with fewer guests or a music festival at sea." They love sharing their experiences on Instagram and travel blogs, so spaces or features that are Insta-worthy appeal to them.
  • Travelers aged 18-24, who are mostly Gen Zers, want to "step out of their comfort zone" and experience new things, so they are attracted to cruises that enable them to do these things.

PREFERRED CRUISE CLASS AND CRUISE TYPE

  • Similar to older travelers, younger travelers prefer contemporary cruises over luxury cruises and premium cruises.
  • Of Millennials, 88% go on contemporary cruises, while only 24% go on luxury cruises and only 35% go on premium cruises.
  • Though most Millennials prefer contemporary cruises, Millennials are far more inclined to go on luxury cruises than older adults.

LENGTH OF CRUISE TRAVEL

  • Forty-one percent of Millennials say the length of their last cruise was 6 to 8 days, 39% say 3 to 5 days, 12% say 9 to 15 days, 1% say 16 days or more, and 8% say under 3 days.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Why Americans Don't Take Cruises

Despite the better state of the economy, Americans don't travel much on cruise lines because of concerns about seasickness, high sexual assault rates, the perceived high expenses, other reasons identified in this research.

Why Americans Still Don't Take Cruises Very Much Despite Better Economy

1. CONCERNS ABOUT SEASICKNESS
  • Most Americans avoid cruise travel because they are worried about getting seasick or suffering from motion sickness during their cruise travels.
  • Their worries are further enhanced by the fact that even experienced cruisers who have sailed dozens of times still get seasick.
2. HIGH SEXUAL ASSAULT RATES
  • The issue of sexual assault on cruise ships is a long-running one. The industry and the government have been reporting a high number of cases over the years and this has contributed to why some Americans don't take cruises.
  • The fact that alcohol is often abundant, and no one is limited by having to drive, has also usually added to an atmosphere conducive to sex crimes.
  • The risk of rapes/sexual assault at sea has led to many people being worried about cruise travel. This is confirmed by the U.S. government data report showing that sex crimes far outweigh any other major offense on board.
3. PERCEIVED EXPENSE
  • Despite the economy being in a better place, most people still have the misleading perception that cruises are too expensive.
  • Those who haven’t cruised have the mistaken belief that it’s too elitist, too luxurious and this has presented an obstacle in many peoples mind to the point of dissuading them from going on cruises.
4. ANXIETY ABOUT CONTRACTING AN ILLNESS LIKE NOROVIRUS/SUSTAINING AN INJURY FROM ROUGH SEAS.
  • Another reason why Americans don't travel on cruise lines is due to the fear of getting a stomach bug with gastrointestinal outbreaks being relatively common on cruise ships.
  • The fear is even more enhanced by the fact that norovirus is highly contagious and once an infected person gets on board, the virus can easily spread quickly, mainly through hand contact with ship railings, bathroom doors, and especially buffet food.
  • The industrial-size servings of food on a cruise ship with hundreds of passengers can be particularly worrisome since once the virus enters the food it can spread rapidly.
  • There is the fear that food can also get more easily contaminated with the virus if it sits out for several hours, as is often the case with buffet-style meals.
5. FEAR OF SHIPWRECKS AND THE EVER-PRESENT POSSIBILITY OF GOING OVERBOARD
  • The fear is often triggered due to past negative maritime experience, like getting seasick or they have experienced something similar maybe perhaps on a smaller scale like on a boat.
  • Another trigger is losing loved ones to boating accidents as well as hearing about boat deaths or the sinking of a large cruise ship.
6. CLAUSTROPHOBIA
  • Although some public areas have sweeping, open vistas, and soaring atriums, cabins are extremely small with tight, narrow hallways.
  • This has led to those with claustrophobia fearing that depending on the cabin’s position on the ship, it could be a long walk to the nearest open deck or large public area.
  • Claustrophobia can also be a factor at some ship’s events. Large crowds tend to gather during showtime, in some cases providing standing room only.
7. ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
  • Some are concerned about the environmental issues which involve the heavy and growing use of fossil fuels during cruises.
  • This is usually equivalent to someone on a seven-day cruise producing emissions in the same amount produced during 18 days on land.
  • Some Americans, therefore, fear that this can damage fragile ocean ecosystems, due to practices like irresponsible disposal of sewage and hence avoid cruise travel altogether in solidarity with the environment.

How this differs among generations.

  • The younger generation including millennials is embracing cruise travel more than the older generation.
  • This is due to the ever-expanding itineraries and destination experiences that reach far beyond walking and coach tours and endless options.

Things that companies and individuals can do to increase cruise travel

1. CRUISE COMPANIES CAN MAKE CRUISE BOOKING EASY, AND REDUCE THE SHIP CHECK-IN PROCESS.
2. INVESTING IN BRAND AND CATEGORY SEARCH TERMS
  • Companies and individuals can increase cruise travel by investing in brand and category search terms to help capture interest in the early consideration stages, and engage consumers further on their website or through a call center.
  • If a consumer isn’t exposed to the brand in the early stages, they may not seek them out when they are further down the research process, and this would, therefore, hamper cruise travel.
3. INCORPORATE WELLNESS
  • Companies and individuals can also increase cruise travel by incorporating self-care into the vacations of clients.
  • For cruisers, that would mean on-board yoga classes, guided meditation sessions, full-service spas, and healthful dining options.
  • Locally sourced meals, inspired by the destinations on an itinerary, can also increase cruise travel especially having some lines with dedicated fitness trainers and sports scientists who can lead onboard exercise classes and active shore excursions.
4. INTRODUCTION OF EXPEDITION CRUISING
  • Incorporation of destinations that were once inaccessible and are now attainable for passengers and allowing for more adventurous itineraries and expeditions can also increase cruise travels. For example, Sailings to the Arctic Circle and Antarctica are in high demand, and, in recent years, several lines have begun traversing the intrepid Northwest Passage as well.
5. HAVING DINNER MENU OFFERS
  • The emphasis of a culture through food, and having the cruise lines deliver more specialty and regionally influenced options can help increase cruise travel.
  • This, as well as onboard cooking classes, themed menus, and award-winning guest chefs let passengers dive into the culinary history of the regions they’re traveling through.
  • Another option to increase cruise travel would be to forge more long-term partnerships with marquee chefs who can bring their menus to special onboard outlets.
Sources
Sources

From Part 03
Quotes
  • "For many, according to a report by Allianz Global Assistance, it's a matter of perceived expense: Forty-seven percent of respondents cited prohibitive costs as the reason they stay landlocked. The remainder shared concerns about seasickness (10 percent), anxiety about contracting an illness like norovirus or sustaining an injury from rough seas (8 percent), fear of shipwrecks (7 percent), and claustrophobia (6 percent)."
Quotes
  • "A study by the Cruise Line International Association found that the demographic with the highest growth in bookings is people ages 30 to 39. From 2016 to 2018, this demographic booked 20 percent more cruises."
  • "Ships can also be dangerous, with high sexual assault rates, frequent poisonings, and the ever-present possibility of going overboard. "
Quotes
  • "Millennials Take to the River—River and small ship cruising continues to gain traction among travelers, specifically the Millennial set. With ever-expanding itineraries and destination experiences that reach far beyond walking and coach tours and endless options for the perfect “Instagram moment,” the younger generation is embracing river cruising."
Quotes
  • "Smartphone apps and wearable accessories loaded with passenger info are making processes such as embarkation and booking shore activities easier than ever. The ship check-in process used to involve very long lines and a 10- to 15-minute conversation with a boarding agent. Now it’s much faster"
Quotes
  • "Investing in brand and category search terms gives an opportunity to capture interest in the early consideration stages and engage consumers further on their website or through a call center. If a consumer isn’t exposed to your brand in the early stages, she may not seek you out when she is further down the research process."
  • "Make it easy to book with fast, frictionless omnichannel experiences. Connecting with consumers online through channels such as search is the first step; having an easy-to-use website or app is next in moving them further down the customer journey."
  • "People want to find information quickly, and they want their digital experiences to be seamless. If you can deliver that, you’ll be well-positioned to build a long-term relationship with your customers—and drive profitability while doing so."