Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Thu May 12 2016

What Do Travelers Really Want in A Cruise?

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Jason Leppert | May 12, 2016

What Do Travelers Really Want in A Cruise?

Photo courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises

CruiseCompete has released its latest CruiseTrends report for May 2016, and the data gathered by the market resource sheds light on what consumers are currently looking for based on its quote requests and transactions. The results are listed with some analysis below.

Most Popular Cruise Lines (based on the total number of quote requests for each cruise line in the given month)

• Premium/Contemporary: Carnival Cruise Line

• Luxury: Oceania Cruises

• River: Viking River Cruises

In second place are Royal Caribbean International for premium/contemporary, Cunard for luxury and American Cruise Lines for river.

Analysis: As the most ubiquitous in their respective categories, it’s no surprise to see Carnival Cruise Line and Viking River Cruises take the top spots, but Oceania Cruises is interesting since the line is usually classified as premium, not luxury. Perhaps its high value proposition ranks it above the likes of Crystal Cruises and Silversea Cruises. American Cruise Lines coming in second for river cruising could indicate a desire for more domestic cruise options.

Most Popular Cruise Ships (based on the total number of quote requests for each ship)

• Premium/Contemporary: Oasis of the Seas

• Luxury: Queen Mary 2

• River: Viking Ingvi (changed from Emerald Waterways Ships last month)

Just behind in popularity are Norwegian Escape for premium/contemporary, Crystal Serenity for luxury and Scenic Cruises Europe for river.

Analysis: With the Queen Mary 2 soon scheduled for an extensive redesign, the Cunard flagship makes sense here. Also, the Oasis of the Seas as one of the largest cruise sister ships in the world indicates no slowing in interest for mega liners, especially ahead of Royal Caribbean International’s new Harmony of the Seas launch this month.

Most Popular Cruise Regions (based on the total number of quote requests for each region)

• Premium/Contemporary: Caribbean

• Luxury: Europe

• River: Europe

Next are North America for premium/contemporary, Mediterranean for luxury and North America for river.

Analysis: While interest in Europe has waned some, it still holds in the luxury and river categories, but the Caribbean and North America taking first and second for the premium and contemporary category looks to be evidence that mainstream travelers are focusing more locally.

READ MORE: Travel Agents Reveal Current Cruise Trends

Most Popular Cruise Departure Ports (Based on the total number of quote requests for each departure port)

• Premium/Contemporary: Miami, Fla. (changed from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. last month) 

• Luxury: New York, N.Y. (changed from Miami, Fla. last month)

• River: Budapest, Hungary (changed from Amsterdam, The Netherlands last month)

Next up in popularity are Fort Lauderdale, Fla. for premium/contemporary, Miami, Fla. for luxury and Amsterdam, The Netherlands for river.

Analysis: The bulk of river cruising is in Europe, hence the predominant destinations listed, but home-porting is clearly a popular choice still from the States in the remaining categories, including New York, which is a departure port for the aforementioned Queen Mary 2.

Most Popular Cruise Ports Visited (based on the total number of quote requests for each port visited during cruise itineraries, excluding departure ports)

• Premium/Contemporary: Nassau, Bahamas (changed from Cozumel, Mexico last month)

• Luxury: Bora, Bora, French Polynesia (changed from Dubrovnik, Croatia last month)

• River: Cologne, Germany

Next are Cozumel, Mexico for premium/contemporary, Kotor, Montenegro for luxury and Vienna, Austria for river.

Analysis: In the premium and contemporary category, the top ports once again indicate those that can be easily reached from homeports while the luxury market maintains interest in more exotic locales.

Most Popular Countries Visited (based on the total number of quote requests for each country visited during cruise itineraries, excluding countries of departure)

• Premium/Contemporary: Mexico

• Luxury: United States (changed from Italy last month)

• River: Germany

Second are Bahamas for premium/contemporary, Italy for luxury and Austria for river.

Analysis: What's interesting is how, aside from the river category, there is a presumed shift in destination desirability towards the Americas overall, also reflecting an uptick in interest for cruises to Mexico.

Most Popular Cabin Types (based on the total number of quote requests for each cabin type)

• Premium/Contemporary: Balcony

• Luxury: Balcony

• River: Outside (changed from balcony last month)

Analysis: As expected, balcony cabins are the preferred choice of most travelers as new ships feature more and more of the variety. Meanwhile, perhaps the river category downgraded from balcony to outside staterooms due to cost concerns.

READ MORE: Cruise Planners’ 10 Trends Shaping Travel in 2016

Most Popular Cruise Itinerary Lengths (based on most requested itinerary lengths)

• Premium/Contemporary: 7 nights

• Luxury: 7 nights

• River: 8 nights

Second are five nights for premium/contemporary, 10 nights for luxury and 15 nights for river.

Analysis: The veritable sweet spot remains week-long cruises with only shorter ones coming in second for the premium and contemporary category. The reality is most guests still have limited vacation time, but airfare to Europe or beyond is best maximized by taking longer luxury or river cruises as the second place choices would indicate.

Most Popular Sailing Months Requested (based on the most requested months)

• Premium/Contemporary: May 2016 (changed from March 2016 last month)

• Luxury: July 2016 (changed from May 2016 last month)

• River: July 2016

Analysis: Spring to summer months are still the most popular as school vacation periods allow more traffic. Of course, for those looking to avoid children onboard, the inverse is also likely true.


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