Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Report: North America Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook Steady

By Mark Edward Nero

Cruise popularity is on the rise amongst consumers, and there is a surge of interest in cruise travel, according to the results of a new study released May 4 by the Cruise Lines International Association.

The Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook of 2017 is the first of three surveys conducted by the cruise association in partnership with J.D. Power to gain insight into consumer travel behaviors and opinions revealing traveler insights, outlook and attitudes regarding cruising and land-based travel.

“The first installment of the Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook is vital in keeping the cruise industry abreast of consumer attitudes and behaviors, allowing the industry to continue to evolve in a direction that is appealing and beneficial to would-be and current cruise travelers,” CLIA President and CEO Cindy D’Aoust said. “Each installment will help the industry, as well as cruise travel agents, continue to adapt business practices and offerings to coincide with the desires of travelers and propel the cruise industry forward.”

Key findings indicate that cruise popularity is on the rise and in good favor. Of those asked, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) said their overall awareness of cruise vacations has improved within the last two years. Within the last four months alone, 30 percent of respondents said their awareness of cruising and ship-based excursions “increased greatly” compared to year or two ago. In terms of perception, the overwhelming majority of travelers have a positive attitude toward cruising. In fact, only six percent of responders expressed an unfavorable attitude toward cruise vacations, down from 11 percent. The number of vacationers who are interested in taking a cruise vacation has reportedly risen to 63 percent. According to the report, travelers have a solid interest in both ocean cruising (50 percent) and river cruising (30 percent). Over 50 percent say they will or probably will take an ocean cruise soon. Eight out of ten said they will board a cruise ship in the next 12 months.

J.D. Power conducted the North America Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook web-based surveys in August and December 2016 targeting 500 consumers who earn more than $50,000 annually and had taken a vacation within the past three years.

The survey is expected to be conducted three times per year to establish industry trends, according to the cruise association.