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Cruise Interest is Alive and Well

| 08.11.11

Our economy has put a damper on the vacation plans of many, but it doesn't mean a loss of enthusiasm for cruises.

Cruise experience seems to be one of the largest influences on cruise selection. 

While our economy has put a damper on the plans of many people to take any vacation, it doesn't mean people have lost their enthusiasm for taking cruises. CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association, just released its 2011 study on the state of the industry - and it contains some surprising figures.

The population of the United States has reached roughly 300 million people, and almost 73 million of them have now been on a cruise. That is close to one in four people. Of that roughly 24-percent of the U.S. population that has cruised, nearly half of them (11%) sailed for the first time in the last three years. Most significantly; most people (77-percent in this survey) who take one cruise say they would like to take another one.

Although it is a challenge to find a way to say this - the best way to instill the desire to cruise in a person is to get him or her on a cruise. The cruise experience itself is the motivating factor, but how do you get them on their first cruise? The CEO of Royal Caribbean, Richard Fain, recently said, "Most people will never try a cruise until they hear about it from someone they know well, a relative or a close friend."

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Well, now there are many more experienced cruisers out there ready to describe the wonders of cruising to new people. It makes you feel the future of cruising looks very bright, indeed, if we could just get past this economy thing. Unfortunately, there is still a great deal of economic uncertainty and every time things start to look a little better we seem to have a setback. Still, it hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of Carnival Corp. who just ordered two brand new ships to be built for two of its European Brands - Costa and P & O. New ship orders are only made when the cruise lines have confidence that the industry will still continue to grow.

Favorite Destinations?

The top ten list of where consumers plan to take their next cruise vacation includes:

  1. Caribbean
  2. Alaska
  3. Bahamas
  4. Hawaii
  5. Bermuda
  6. Mediterranean/Greek Isles
  7. Europe
  8. Panama Canal
  9. Canada/New England
  10. Mexico

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Who Cruises These Days

While this statistic varies with different cruise lines - roughly 80-percent of cruisers travel with their spouse and 33-percent bring their children. 19-percent of cruisers sail with a friend and 18-percent sail with someone from the family who is not a spouse or their child.

Notably, the statistic for the number of people sailing solo is not even in this sample - which is often surprising to people who have never been on a cruise.

What Motivates the Cruise Selection?

What factors in the cruise decision weigh the most?

  • 35-percent of people choose a cruise based on the itinerary first of all
  • 23-percent cite the cost as the most important factor in cruise selection
  • 19-percent say it is just the "overall experience" that leads them to take a cruise
  • 12-percent say the ship itself is the primary consideration
  • 11-percent say they base their ship selection according to the onboard facilities, such as a spa, gym, children's programs, etc.

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What's Your Cruise-Style?

When it comes to how people want to dress on a cruise the following "styles" were rated by experienced cruisers as follows:

  • Casually Elegant: 67-percent
  • Casual: 63-percent
  • Country Club: 25-percent
  • Laid-back: 44-percent
  • Formal: 18-percent

Non-experienced cruise travelers seems to prefer "laid back" to "formal" by a large degree, which says that the idea of formal dress on cruise ships is a taste largely acquired by taking cruises. Non-experienced cruise travelers said they prefer "Laid-back" by 75% and only 12-percent said the idea of formal dress appeals to them.

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