The generation born between 1980 and 2000 have a greater power than ever before on market trends. The millennial’s, as they are called, are the first generation to assimilate digital and virtual life. As such, their spending trends are pushing cruise ship companies to vye for their attention more and more.
Data has shown that millennial’s favour experiences over material objects. So when they travel, they prefer adventure, cultural immersion and unique experiences rather than a shopping trip or a hop on hop off tour to see famous sights.
Typically, cruise ships have catered to slightly older folk – vacationers over the age of 45, and their families. Most likely, many millennial’s first travelled on cruise ships as children and there is a certain level of nostalgia connected with cruising.
Still, as adults, they are unlikely to take a cruise unless it hits the mark on several criteria. For one, a cruise should offer value for money. It is more likely that they will opt for an all-inclusive package that incorporates many activities than a cheap base rate with expensive add-ons. They also have tighter budgets and will prefer to spend on unique activities on shore, rather than gambling at the casino on board.
Destinations are also equally important to millennial’s looking for cruises. Companies are expected to cater to ‘cool’ quotients and include ports that have vibrant culture and nightlife. Cruises around Spain and Barcelona should expect to spend a night at Ibiza so millennial guests can enjoy the island’s world-famous nightlife, instead of being in port just for a few hours.
More off-beat destinations are an attraction for millennial’s too. G Adventures, for example, offers a cruise that incorporates visits to the Galapagos Islands in South America as well as a hike up the Inca Trail in Peru and a stop in Quito, Ecuador, domestic flight included.
Others look at variety to sell holiday tickets to millennial cruisers. The Aida Prima gives guests an opportunity to tailor their vacation activities as they wish. It hosts theme parties and offers upbeat nightlife at the onboard discos as well as a range of workshops such as cocktail-making or sushi-making. In port, the cruise ship teams up with shore excursion companies to give millennial’s a taste of adventure, such as biking, canyoning or a tour in an open-air ATV.
Uniworld’s U tour runs on similar lines, but heads down Europe’s rivers instead. Its two ships – The A and The B – promise exciting and informative activities such as kayaking, mixology classes and wine tours, and even a chance to share a meal with locals for a truly immersive cultural experience.
Other cruises are attracting millennial’s interested in making a difference or those who are environmentally or socially conscious. Carnival’s Fathom offered cruises to the Dominican Republic where guests could engage with the local community and volunteer to do activities such as reforestation or teaching English over the time they spent there. Others like Peregrine Adventures organises cruises that are low impact, banning all single-use plastics including water bottles, cups and straws on its trips to Cape Verde, Senegal and The Gambia in Africa.
While there is no specific data yet on whether more millennial’s are opting to cruise, companies are certainly looking at the demographic as a potential market. Even large-scale commercial cruises are opening up to them as well, particularly by offering faster and cheaper internet packages so the digital generation can stay connected at all times.