Young families drive cruise industry growth


Royal Caribbean International has revealed research demonstrating its impact on industry growth by attracting a younger generation of new-to-cruise families. 

Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas

While the average age of British passengers taking cruise holidays has dropped to 55 years old – the lowest in six years – the average adult age of a Royal Caribbean new-to-cruise family guest is just 42 years old – more than thirteen years younger that the industry average.

The rapidly growing UK cruise industry is set to see a record-breaking two million passengers this year with more than one in ten holidaymakers (13%) planning a cruise in the next 12 months.

The cruise line believes it’s the ‘Generation Thrill and Chill’ families who are leading this growth, with families now representing 1 in 4 guests. It is predicted that Royal Caribbean passenger numbers will grow by a further 63% over the next five years.

Speaking at the annual ABTA Travel Conference in The Azores, Ben Bouldin, managing director for Royal Caribbean International, said:

“Over 1.9 million UK holiday makers took a cruise in 2016, and figures indicate similar growth in 2017. There appears to be three main triggers for why younger, new-to-cruise families are booking cruise holidays with us: the ability to visit multiple destinations whilst also being able to relax and chill and experience fun and adventure along the way. We call them ‘Generation Thrill-and-Chill’ and they now make up a quarter of all our guests in the UK.

“Interestingly we also see they have a strong propensity to re-book with us – 10% return within a year, 17% within 2 years and over a quarter (21%) in 3 years.

We believe that’s because our ships offer an onboard experience unlike any other, from zip-wires and sky-diving to world-class dining and health and wellbeing facilities.

When matched with the promise of seeing multiple cultures and destinations, it’s an extraordinary experience that we believe no other holiday company can boast.”

Latest Royal Caribbean figures also showed that in 2016 group bookings made up of friends and family accounted for 20% of all passengers onboard and almost one-third (32%) of those were new-to-cruise.

Growth from the new-to-cruise customers was projected to remain strong for 2017 with nearly half (48%) of non-cruisers expressing interest in taking an ocean cruise.




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