Younger Travellers Continue to Embrace Cruise Holidays

The number of 18-34 year olds who have been on a cruise has risen by 6% since last year

The number of young holidaymakers who have been on a cruise has grown more than any other age group in the last 12 months, according to ABTA’s latest Holiday Habits report.

More than a quarter (28%) of 18-34 year olds have taken a cruise, up 6% on last year. By comparison, the number of those aged over 65 who have been on a cruise (38%) is up 2% on last year.

The market overall is showing growth too, with one in 10 people going on a cruise in the past year and one in seven (14%) planning to go on a cruise in the next 12 months (both up 2% on last year). A further 60% are interested in taking one1 (up from 58% last year).

The increasing diversity of cruise holiday types has contributed to the rise in popularity from millennials, as a greater variety of itineraries and themed trips have emerged for them to choose from. More than a quarter (27%) of 25-34 year olds who are interested in going on a cruise would like to take an expedition trip, which offers adventurous experiences such as seeing the Northern Lights and sailing around the Antarctic.

When it comes to diversity, it’s not just expedition cruises that younger people are interested in, with a fifth of 18-34 year olds also keen to try a wellness or foodie cruise. 21% cited a wellness trip, where they can unwind with activities such as yoga, massages and mental wellbeing workshops. A further 21% said cruises with a food theme would be their favoured choice, providing passengers with everything from on-board cookery demonstrations to wine tastings, as well as extensive vegan and vegetarian menu offerings.

Among the older age groups, people aged 55-64 are most likely to seek a cruise exclusively for adults, while half (50%) of those aged 65 and over are interested in river cruises; second only in popularity to an ocean cruise (64%).

The length of cruise trips is another important consideration for holidaymakers – shorter trips are more popular with younger travellers, with 33% of 18-34 year olds interested in a 3-5 day trip (11% higher than average of 22%). The popularity of mini cruises could reflect the flexibility they offer younger people in providing a ‘taster’ opportunity for those who haven’t been on a cruise before. Additionally, more cruise lines are catering for passengers who enjoy a condensed trip, including retro themed parties and even floating music festivals.

Older age groups prefer a longer trip, with 40% of those aged 55 and over wanting a 14-day cruise (compared to 34% on average). Seven days is the most popular cruise length across all age groups (45%).

Victoria Bacon, Director of Brand and Business Development, said: “The UK cruise industry has seen significant growth in recent years with a record number of passengers reaching over two million for the first time last year. As cruise operators have diversified and adapted to their customers’ needs there is now a greater choice of cruise trips than ever before.

“With the continued innovation of the cruise product there has been a noticeable boost in the number of young holidaymakers choosing this type of holiday. Whether it’s making the most of the on-board technology, taking part in adventure-based excursions or experiencing an 80s themed party at sea, there is an incredible range of options for both new and seasoned travellers to enjoy.”