Every year, around 20 million people choose to go on a cruise ship holiday and since 1980, the industry has enjoyed an annual growth rate of 7.4%. While this type of getaway clearly remains an ever-popular choice among tourists, most onlookers have a clear perception of typical cruise ship passengers.
There was a time when cruise ships used to be reserved for affluent individuals and older generations. That was then and this is now, and those days have gone. A variety of age groups from contrasting backgrounds are starting to recognize the travel benefits that cruises as a holiday offer.
From the range of destinations on offer and on-board facilities to the money saving merits and possible experiences, cruises are becoming increasingly desirable and sought after.
The new age
At the moment, the average age of a cruise passenger is over 50. According to the UK travel industry’s trade body ABTA, however, this doesn’t reflect current interest levels. Apparently, one in five under-25s are considering this kind of holiday in 2014, which is three times the number that actually went on a cruise last year.
On top of that, multi-generational groups and families are also coming around to the idea of taking a cruise. Family-friendly ships that visit numerous ports of call and feature various on-board activities are more prevalent than ever before.
Naturally, there are still cruise ships that cater for traditional guests with formal dinners, spa treatments, casino nights and cabaret acts. Even so, tour operators are now realizing that all manner of entertainment and experiences can be laid out in between stops to beguiling and beautiful destinations.
One of the main reasons why cruise ship holidays are gaining momentum with young people and families is because of the financial advantages. Once a ticket is paid for, there isn’t much else a passenger has to worry about. Transport, accommodation, food, drink, entertainment and activities are usually included in the fare. What’s more, this eliminates the stresses and strains of trying to organize individual holiday components separately.
Another benefit is the sheer number of destinations and disembarkation points on offer. From family-oriented trips in the Mediterranean to adventurous Antarctic cruises, there’s something to suit every kind of traveler.
With so many new types of passenger expressing an interest in cruise ship holidays, tour operators are adjusting their trips accordingly. Several cruises have family-oriented accommodation with adjoining cabins and interconnecting doors, while other ships feature rock climbing, assault courses and surf simulators.
The cruise ship industry still has to deal with a fair amount of unfair portrayals and representations, but these holidays are certainly no longer exclusively reserved for your grandparents!