Cruiseline.com and Shipmate have released the results of their “2022 Member Survey”. This survey presented a unique data set as we look ahead at cruising next year, with most major lines having all of the vessels in their fleet back at sea. In addition, it provides insight into consumer confidence in cruising at this pivotal time for the industry and traveler purchase and planning habits.
Questions in the survey centered on participants’ cruise history, intent to cruise within the next year, and preferred travel booking preferences. The majority of survey participants were frequent cruisers, with 69 percent reporting they have previously been on at least seven or more sailings; 17 percent with four to six cruises; 8 percent having taken two to three cruises; and 3.5 percent having taken at least one cruise. Over 60 percent of all participants reported previously cruising with Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, over 40 percent have sailed with Norwegian Cruise Line, and over 30 percent with Princess Cruises. A chunk (89 percent) of participants have cruised in the Caribbean region, with other previously cruised destinations being Alaska, Pacific Coast (Mexico) and Europe.
Of the travelers participating in this survey, 91.4 percent reported they plan to take a cruise within the next year; 2.5 percent said they would not cruise in the next year; and 6.1 percent were undecided if they would cruise in the next year.
“The numbers from our survey clearly show that travelers are feeling comfortable in cruising once again and are taking the next steps of researching and booking upcoming voyages,” said Jamie Cash, general manager, Cruiseline.com. “Despite many obstacles, the cruise industry has come a long way in the last year, and this data provided by our community shows that the consumer demand for cruising is strong.”
Of the 91.4 percent who marked they intend to cruise within the next year, respondents shared more data on upcoming travel plans:
- When: Over 34 percent of participants will cruise within the next two to four months, 30 percent will cruise in the next five to 12 months, and under 30 percent have cruises booked within the next 60 days. Forty-six percent of these travelers have between two and four upcoming sailings booked.
- Cruise line booked: 37.9 percent will sail with Carnival Cruise Line, 35.9 percent with Royal Caribbean International, 21.45 percent with Norwegian Cruise Line, 17.5 percent with Celebrity Cruises, and 17 percent with Princess Cruises. Coming in just behind these lines in booking/intent was Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and Virgin Voyages.
- Duration of cruise booked: 13.4 percent indicated they are booking four- to six-day cruises and 42.5 percent of travelers will cruise on a seven-night voyage. While 31.5 percent will sail between 8 and 14 days, 10 percent report they will cruise for 15+ days. Short cruises of three days or less only accounted for 2.6 percent of future cruises booked.
- Destination of cruise: 54.6 percent plan to cruise in the Caribbean, 36.1 percent in Europe, 31 percent in Alaska and 21.7 percent will cruise in Hawaii. Other intended cruise destinations include Canada/New England, Mexico (Pacific Coast), Bermuda and Australia/New Zealand.
- Number of future cruises booked: 46 percent of this group have two to four cruises booked, 28.5 percent have one cruise booked, 13 percent have zero cruises booked, 8.6 percent have five to seven cruises booked, 3.6 percent have eight or more booked and the remaining .3 percent responded with varying numbers booked.
The survey also studied the 6.1 percent of those who reported they were undecided about cruising and the 2.5 percent who said they would not cruise in the upcoming year. This group was labeled the “Cruise Sideliners.”
Over 38 percent said the vaccine requirements stopped them from cruising this year. Additionally, 18.2 percent of travelers reported they were “Not Ready to Cruise Yet (but May in the Future).” Over 16 percent reported that finances were limiting them from cruising at this time; 10 percent of travelers said that they do not feel safe cruising; and 9.5 percent reported time as a limiting factor for not cruising. The remaining percentage listed other health and safety protocol, finance-related and previously booked year-plus voyages as reasons they did not intend to cruise this year.
A majority of this group said that as an alternative to cruising, they plan on: vacationing at a hotel/resort (55.5 percent), flying/driving to see friends/family (50.4 percent), having a staycation (36 percent), or traveling via RV/camper (18.2 percent).
The growing segment of river cruising was also surveyed: 90.7 percent of participants reported they had never taken a river cruise; however, 61.2 percent said they would consider river cruising in the future. The most considered river cruise lines include Viking River Cruises (78.9 percent), with other line interests for AmaWaterways, Avalon and Emerald Waterways.
Respondents were asked about cruise booking preferences to learn about travel purchasing trends and 43.8 percent reported they book cruises six to 12 months ahead of sailing; 29.1 percent book 12-18 months out; 16.5 percent book three to five months out, 7.4 percent book 18+ months in advance, and only 3.2 percent report they book less than three months out from cruising.
The bulk of responders book using a travel agent or direct with the cruise line, with 32.3 percent booking with a travel agency in person or via phone, and another 9.4 percent book via a travel agency website. For those that prefer direct with the cruise line, 26.5 percent prefer phone or PVP, while another 28.6 percent prefer online.
For more information visit Cruiseline.com.