American Marketer

Travel and hospitality

Affluent millennials look to cruising for deals and multi-destinations

February 16, 2018

Cruising becomes more popular with millennials. Image credit: Dream Cruises


Millennials’ thirst for adventure and experiences coupled with a lack of funds has cultivated a surprising interest in cruising.

While many experts would assume that millennials’ enthusiasm for unique experiences in travel would call for an aversion to cruising, JD Power has found that this is not the case. They may desire to see the world, but their money values and previous experience with family on cruises has resulted in 94 percent of consumers saying they are likely to take a cruise soon.

“What we are seeing in this report is the broadening popularity of cruising – already the fastest-growing segment of the vacation industry – and that cruise vacations are becoming the vacation of choice for travelers across income levels, demographics and age groups, including millennials," said Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation, who published the report.

"The report also reveals the strong loyalty cruisers feel for their favorite vacation, with nine out of 10 saying they will likely cruise again, showing just how impactful and memorable a cruise experience can be," he said.

"The findings reinforce our strategic goal to consistently exceed guest expectations, and the data shows that cruising is a great vacation option at an exceptional value, with offerings ranging from contemporary to premium to ultra-luxury that really fit any travel preference, style and budget," he said.

Cruising with millennials
Even affluent millennials are well versed in the act of saving money, since there are so many outlets to find good deals today.

Cruising is allowing these young consumers to act on their aspirations to see a variety of destinations, while also keeping the bill low.

A survey from JD Power, used to comprise the 2018 Cruise Travel Report for Cruise Lines International Association, shows that cruising was the top vacation choice in all age groups. However, responses of “definitely will” or “probably will” were most seen with millennials.

Even the Ritz-Carlton is entering the cruise space. Image credit: Ritz-Carlton.

Since cruising became popular in the 1980s and 1990s, millennials are mostly likely to have gone on a cruise vacation with their parents growing up. This makes them more apt to again as adults.

These consumers are also likely to spend more on the Internet and social media packages, allowing them to document their experiences.

The report shows that these young travelers are most interested in the fact that accommodations, meals and entertainment are included in the price.

Affluent millennials have an affinity for long cruises to see exotic places such as Cuba, Europe and the South Pacific, destinations that are less traveled by the masses.

Consumers like to cruise to bundle food, accomodations and experience into one. Image credit: Norwegian.

Cruise lines are becoming more adapted to consumers’ changing interests as well. Wellness initiatives such as spas and fitness centers are becoming more integrated with the cruising experience to cater to consumers’ passion for health.

Cruise campaigns
Luxury cruise lines are also adapting to new consumer interests such as new destinations and experiences.

For instance, Cunard encouraged 2017 bookings through a stylish film capturing its “Everything you wanted, nothing you expected” mantra.

Cunard’s film of the same name took viewers through the experiences she may have while onboard its cruise ships. Broken down into three key themes, the film highlighted time, space and a life less ordinary to underscore the experience had while cruising with Cunard (see more).

Dream Cruises also created a VIP experience for travelers in Asia with a Dream Palace concept.

Guests who stay in the newly opened Dream Palace Suite and Garden Penthouses are offered a first-class experience in an exclusive environment that includes a pool, spa, gym and dining options separate from the rest of the ship. Now available on the Genting Dream vessel, this luxury ship within a ship option will also roll out on the soon to launch World Dream (see more).

“As more millennials experience the premium and luxury categories of cruise travel, they are becoming a growing share of those segments, creating positive impacts and great opportunities for our brands," Carnival's Mr. Frizzell said. "Many of our cruise guests, including millennials, are looking for memorable experiences on vacation, including new adventures, personal enrichment, exploring exciting destinations, enjoying fine dining and entertainment and being treated to top-notch service.

"And regardless of price point, all of our guests want value for their hard-earned vacation dollars," he said. "More millennials are discovering that our premium and luxury lines offer a very unique way to experience the world in a luxury setting with great service, while also benefitting from the convenience and value of cruising, so we are seeing a new generation of luxury cruisers emerge.”