Survey reports strong demand for cruising in 2023 and 2024, with travelers booking multiple cruises with longer sail dates.
Cruiseline.com and Shipmate have released the findings of their 2023 Member Survey. Questions of this survey center on participants' travel history, intent to cruise within the next year, and cruise booking preferences.
98.9% of Travelers Intend to Cruise in the Upcoming Year Reports Cruiseline.com and Shipmate Survey
Over 5,000 participants responded to the survey. To better understand the responding audience, the survey asked participants about their history with cruising, including the number of sailings taken, what lines they have sailed, and where they have cruised. 64.4% reported they have been on at least eight or more cruises, 16.3% reported five to seven cruises, and 13.4% have taken two to four cruises. 3.4% had taken at least one cruise, and only 2.5% reported they had never previously cruised. When asked about cruise lines sailed, 62% of survey participants reported they have previously cruised with Carnival Cruise Line or Royal Caribbean, over 40% have sailed with Norwegian Cruise Line, over 35% with Princess Cruises, and 32% have cruised with Celebrity Cruises. Regarding destinations, over 62% of participants had previously cruised in the Caribbean, with other popular previously-cruised destinations including Alaska, Pacific Coast (Mexico), and Europe.
98.9% of all survey respondents reported planning to take a cruise within the next year, 1.1% reported as undecided, and 0.1% said they would not cruise next year.
Last year in this same survey, 91.4% of participants reported they would cruise within the next year, 2.5% said they would not cruise in the next year, and 6.1% reported undecided. This represents a growth of 7.5% of travelers who say they will cruise in the coming year and a noticeable decrease in participants reporting they will not cruise or are still deciding.
"The demand for cruising is stronger than ever, with more travelers reporting they intend on booking not just one but many cruises over the upcoming year and beyond," said Jamie Cash, General Manager of Cruiseline.com. "We're seeing fewer travelers on the fence about booking a cruise and a renewed comfort level with cruising. As a whole, we're seeing bookings for longer cruise durations and travelers booking voyages to regions worldwide."
Cruising In the Upcoming Year
Of the 98.9% who responded they intend to cruise within the next year, participants shared the following data on upcoming travel plans:
River Cruising Findings
- How Soon Are Travelers Cruising? 46.4% of participants reported planning to cruise within the next 90 days, 29.7% within the next four to six months, 17.4% in seven to 12 months, 4.9% in 13-18 months, and 1.6% in 19+ months.
- How Many Future Cruises Booked? 48.2% of survey takers have between two and four upcoming sailings booked, 33.1% have one cruise booked, 6.4% with five to seven cruises booked, and 3.4% with eight or more future cruises booked. 8.7% report they are still planning but intend to book a cruise in the coming year.
- Which Cruise Line Are You Sailing? 36.3% of travelers surveyed intend to sail with Carnival Cruise Line, 34.2% with Royal Caribbean International, 21% with either Norwegian Cruise Line or Celebrity Cruises and 18.9% with Princess Cruises. Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, and Virgin Voyages came in just behind these lines for cruise line booking intent.
- Where Will You Cruise To? 61.4% plan to cruise in the Caribbean, 27.9% in Europe, 17.9% in Alaska, 13% will cruise in Mexico (Pacific Coast), and 10.5% will cruise in Canada/New England. Other intended cruise destinations include Hawaii, Bermuda, South America, Australia/New Zealand, or the Arctic/Antarctica.
- What Length of Future Cruise Booked? 43.1% of travelers will cruise on a 7-night voyage, 31.6% indicated booking ten to 14-day cruises, 12% booking four to six-day cruises, and 11.8% on a 15-night or more cruise. Short cruises of 3 days or less accounted for 0.9% of future cruises booked.
The growing segment of river cruising was also surveyed. 88.6% of participants reported they had never taken a river cruise; however, 59.9% said they would consider river cruising in the future. The brands most considered for a river cruise include Viking River Cruises (73.4%), with other line interests in AmaWaterways, Avalon, Scenic, and Emerald Waterways.
Cruiser Booking Preferences
Survey participants were asked about cruise booking preferences to learn about travel purchasing trends. 16.1% reported that they book cruises 19+ months in advance, 31.5% book twelve to 18 months out, 45% reported they book their cruise six to twelve months ahead of sailing, 15% at three to six months prior, and only 2.1% report they book less than three months out from the voyage sail date.
Survey takers were asked to select what factors most influenced their decision to book a cruise. 40% of participants reported itinerary/destination as the most important in deciding which cruise to book, 22.7% reported price, 21.2% reported the cruise line, 9.2% reported the value add/promotions being offered at the time of booking, 5.7% reported the ship, and 1.2% reported other miscellaneous factors as their deciding point.
The bulk of survey responders book cruises using a travel agent or direct with the cruise line. For those booking via a travel agent, 32.3% book in person or via phone, and another 11% book via a travel agency website. For those that prefer direct with the cruise line, 28.9% prefer to book online, while 24.1% prefer booking via phone or PVP. 3.7% reported other booking preferences such as on the ship, respondent is a travel agent, or reported a combination of booking practices.
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