The travel industry has been trying to lure millennials onto cruise ships for awhile now—major lines having invested millions into targeting younger travelers by expanding the variety of packages they offer and revamping their ships.
It may have worked.
In the 2017 Cruise Travel Report, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) notes that both millennials and gen x-ers are rating cruises as the best type of vacation—especially for "relaxing and getting away from it all."
Of millennials, 39 percent identify ocean cruises as the best type of vacation, and another seven percent prefer river cruises. And once they finally book one, 63 percent note they'll "definitely" take another cruise, while 30 percent say they "probably will."
Whether by ocean or river, cruises are famous for all-in-one vacation packages that offer multiple destinations and bountiful options to spend time—for one inclusive price, too.
"European river cruising offers so much for all generations—whether it be site-seeing in charming cities, or taking a bike ride along the Rhine—river cruising is extremely multifaceted for all types of travelers," said Julius Stecker, Director of Group Sales and Business Development, Mayflower Tours.
With so much to offer, it shouldn't be surprising that millennials are—not jumping the ship, but hopping aboard. But why do millennials like cruising? What really entices them out onto the water?
Crimson Hexagon did an analysis and discovered that while gen x-ers and baby boomers typically cruise because lines offer enticing port destinations, are great for families, and provide the best means to relaxation—millennials are drawn more to the all-inclusive costs, on-board entertainment and opportunities to meet new people.
It's about the money.
With all-you-can-eat food and myriad options for entertainment at all-inclusive costs, millennials are enticed by how price-effective cruises are for vacations. When making efforst to appeal to younger travelers, cruise lines began offering shorter excursions for a lower cost, and Crimson Hexagon found millennials frequently cite shorter, cheaper cruises as one of their top reasons for selecting a cruise.
Millennials seek out cruises with prime entertainment on board, including contemporary bands and "club-like" sets. When following social media trends, Crimson Hexagon noted that when millennials react negatively to cruises on social media, it's often because the entertainment options aren't variant or current enough. When they express positive emotions about cruising, statements are often centered around the entertainment offered.
They're here to make friends.
A large portion of millennials choose cruises because they want an opportunity meet other young travelers from a variety of places.
So ... Do millennials like cruises? Yes and no. Not all millennials are hooked. For those who are, however, it helps to know what's driving their "cruise or not to cruise" decisions in order to reach a new market.
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.