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Affluent Americans Offer Great Trade Potential for Cruise Sales, Survey Finds

April 11, 2014 By: Susan Young

river cruiseA new survey by the American Affluence Research Center shows that the wealthiest 11.4 million households in the U.S. offer great potential to both increase cruise frequency among experienced cruisers and to attract first time cruisers. The center said these households have the vacation time and money to be loyal cruisers.

The new survey identified the number of cruises (three nights or longer) taken in the past 10 years by type (ocean cruises and river cruises) by the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. households represented by this survey.

Survey results showed that affluent cruisers average only one cruise every three years while 7 percent of these travelers -- more than 350,000 affluent cruisers -- average more than one cruise every year. "This indicates the opportunity to increase cruise frequency among cruisers, who are typically very satisfied with their cruise experience," the center said in a press release. 

At the same time, the survey by the American Affluence Research Center determined that 54 percent of the affluent households had taken no cruises during the past 10 years. So more than 6 million households with a minimum net worth of $800,000 and an average income of more than $260,000 are potential prospects for the purchase of what would probably be their first cruise.

Only 8 percent of the affluent have taken a river cruise, and given recent capacity increases and deluxe new ships with luxury touches, agents likely have good potential for future sales. 

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“Cruises of all types could be winners as this new survey validated previous estimates in our surveys of about 3.5 million annual affluent cruisers across contemporary, premium, and luxury categories,” said Ron Kurtz, president, American Affluence Research Center.

The survey also looked at 19 different cruise brands with which the affluent may have cruised with during the past five years. Survey results revealed which they've cruised on, which they're familiar with (but haven't yet cruised with), which lines they feel are overrated and which lines they believe attract status seekers, quality oriented cruisers, experienced travelers, value oriented cruisers, younger cruisers or travelers "like me."

This spring 2014 Affluent Market Tracking Study #25, the latest in a series of twice-yearly surveys, is based on a national sample of 330 men and women who have an average annual household income of $268,000, an average primary residence value of $1.1 million, an average net worth of $3.1 million and average investable assets of $1.5 million.

Highlights of the Spring 2014 survey will soon be available at

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About the Author

Susan Young
A veteran of 100-plus cruises, Susan J. Young, is senior contributing editor for cruises – covering ocean, river and niche cruises for Travel Agent and

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By Susan Young | April 11, 2014
A recent survey of affluent households by the American Affluence Research Center reveals great potential for travel agents in making more cruise sales this year and beyond.