Survey reports positive demand outlook

Girls only trip aboard NCL

Results from the inaugural ocean cruisers survey from Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, reveal that cruisers in general, and younger generations in particular, are enthusiastic about cruise vacations, as reported by Seatrade News.

The findings, drawn from the survey conducted in Q4 2023 among a sample of over 2,400 cruisers from the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia – markets which collectively represent around 70 per cent of global passenger volume – also show high levels of satisfaction in the industry which is helping to generate significant repeat business.

There was little evidence to suggest lingering long-COVID impacts are hampering the industry as cruisers expressed a higher interest in cruising now compared with pre-pandemic, the report said.

Christian Savelli from Tourism Economics wrote that the level of interest in cruising has increased for each younger generation with the youngest audience, those aged 18-34, showing the highest enthusiasm for cruise vacations. This is an encouraging finding which highlights opportunities for the industry.

Currently, much of the new capacity being launched is aligned with large and mega-vessels, which are well suited to host multigenerational families. These vessels and the extensive cruise experiences they offer can provide an effective way to attract and convert ‘new-to-cruise’ customers.

However, there is a sense among post-pandemic cruisers that smaller or mid-size vessels are preferable compared with larger vessels.

This preference for smaller and, more so, mid-size cruise vessels does not currently impact demand as many cruise operators with large vessels have recently reported record-level bookings. But in the long term, it will be fascinating to monitor how the industry performs if smaller and mid-size vessels are not replaced which might result in a potential disconnect between supply and demand, writes Savelli.

The short-term prospects for the cruise industry are positive as high satisfaction with cruise experiences is likely to lead to high loyalty and significant repeat business. Destinations are a key driver in the cruise selection process. Ensuring that destination experiences match expectations is particularly important. This includes offering appealing and diverse itineraries which access sought after destinations.