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CLIA Study: Consumers Becoming More Aware of Cruise Vacations

August 9, 2011 By: Michele Herrmann


(c) 2011 Carnival Cruise Lines

Americans are not only increasingly aware of cruise vacations but strongly interested in either a repeat cruise or trying one for the first time, according to the “2011 Cruise Market Profile Study,” prepared for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Consistent with previous years’ studies, the 2011 study, conducted by TNS, found that a significant majority of consumers – 94 percent – rate cruising as a satisfying vacation experience with 45 percent rating a cruise as “extremely satisfying.”

The public is seeing cruises as a stronger option in vacation choices, too, an indication that this industry continues to attract new guests. Key findings in the study point to more of an intent in the future to cruise, satisfaction in service and value, and travel agent usage recognized as a best  resource.
Cruise Intentions and Attitudes

Seventy-seven percent of past cruise vacationers expressed interest in a cruise vacation in the next three years and 50 percent of non-cruise vacationers expressed an interest in taking their first cruise within the next three years. Of respondents who provided information about their last cruise, 60 percent have cruised in the past and 40 percent claimed their last cruise was their first cruise.

While varying by cruise line and market segment, 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.

Cruising Profile

Those expressing an interest (definitely/probably) in taking a cruise in the next three years indicate that the length of desired cruise averages 7.5 days. Forty percent of those intending to take a first cruise indicated a 3-5 day cruise length choice, more than twice the rate of past cruisers (16 percent).

Key influencers in selecting a cruise vacation include: The destination (35 percent), overall experience (19 percent), the ship (12 percent), the cost (23 percent), and facilities available such as spa, gym, children facilities, etc. (11 percent).

Travel Agent Usage

Ninety-three percent of cruisers express satisfaction with their travel agent, including nearly 60 percent expressing very/extreme satisfaction. Travel agents remain the distribution channel offering the best service, according to respondents.

Sixty-six percent of consumers say professional designations encourage them to use an agent.

While cruising generally gets high marks from past cruisers and non-cruisers, CLIA’s CEO and President Christine Duffy said it’s significant that the former group consistently have even higher opinions of their cruise vacation experience than the latter.

“This explains why cruising has such guest loyalty and high repeat business; once someone has cruised, the value, variety, and enjoyment is obvious and irresistible,” Duffy said.
The study surveyed more than 1,300 past cruisers and non-cruisers to determine vacation preferences and attitudes, plans for future vacationing, spending patterns, travel agent usage and other topics, drawing comparisons among numerous types of vacations, including cruises.

For more information about the “2011 Cruise Market Profile Study,” visit

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By Michele Herrmann | August 9, 2011
Americans are not only increasingly aware of cruise vacations but strongly interested in either a repeat cruise or trying one for the first time, finds CLIA's "2011 Cruise Market Profile Study."