According to the latest Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report, interest in cruise travel is strong and travelers are spending more and seeking out new adventure-filled destinations to fulfill “bucket lists.” In fact, nearly all (95 percent) agents surveyed attribute the spike in new destinations and adventure to cruisers seeking to knock things off their “bucket list.” The report uncovers that three quarters (75 percent) of agents say customers are spending more and embarking on “bucket list” river cruise adventures and new cruise destinations. The latest report from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), offers key insights and uncovers current cruise travel trends directly from travel agents.
“Cruise travel is an easy, convenient way to fill ‘bucket list’ adventures so it comes as no surprise travel agents are citing this key motivator for an uptick in cruise bookings,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA, in a written statement. “Many have adventure-travel on those bucket lists and as it gains in popularity so will key destinations filled with exciting exploration opportunities such as Alaska.”
Key findings from the latest the Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report:
Bucket List Destinations & Adventures
Sixty-two percent of agents revealed an increase in cruises booked to Alaska, making the American destination one of the fastest growing in the cruise industry. Some agents report seeing an uptick in multi-generational travel to the state. Other popular adventure-filled destinations where customers plan to set sail include the Caribbean/Bermuda/Mexico (41 percent), Mediterranean Europe (36 percent), and Canada/New England (36 percent).
Agents are also seeing a spike in cruise travel interest from adventure-seekers. Alaska reigns supreme as the top destination for adventure or expedition travel with nearly eight out of ten (78 percent) travelers choosing the region as their destination when booking adventure travel. Other adventuresome destinations of choice include the Galapagos Islands (59 percent), the South Pacific (51 percent), and Antarctica (43 percent).
Adventurers of all ages are booking cruises, too. More than a third of agents report that travelers ages 40-49 (39 percent) and 30-39 (43 percent) have expressed increased interest in adventure travel over the last two years. Older demographics are getting in on the action too, 34 percent of agents are seeing an increased interest in adventure travel from cruisers ages 50-59 and nearly a quarter (24 percent) ages 60-69.
Cruise Spending Soars
More and more travelers are booking cruises and these travelers are also spending more. Three quarters (75 percent) of agents surveyed reported an increase in cruiser spending. Some of these spends include travelers adding more land-based excursions to their itinerary, as well as pre- and post-cruise experiences.
When it comes to time to book travel, nearly half (49 percent) of respondents say they are seeing an increase in travelers booking within a nine to 12-month window and 44 percent say there is in an increase in bookings 12 to 18 months out.
Agents are finding that cruise customers are booking on a variety of vessels. River cruises also continue to rise in popularity with a booming 75 percent of travel agents reporting an increased booking in river cruises. Six out of ten agents say they are seeing an upswing in customer requests for mega ships, especially from cruisers hoping to travel on a brand-new ship. Agents also say there is growing interest from cruisers for large ships (53 percent), mid-sized ships (52 percent), and ocean liners (48 percent). When it comes to cruising travelers are looking for a few things: unique and exclusive experiences (92 percent), exotic itineraries (90 percent), wildlife (87 percent), enrichment and education (84 percent), and thrill seeking (61 percent).