10 Summer Cruise Trends

Viking said its 2023 Europe itineraries are thriving. (photo via Viking)
Patrick Clarke
by Patrick Clarke
Last updated: 8:00 PM ET, Thu June 8, 2023

The Most Sought-After Cruise Lines

Royal Caribbean International continues to be the most popular premium cruise line, followed by Celebrity Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line. Oceania Cruises edges out Cunard Line and Seabourn in the luxury segment while Viking is the most in-demand river cruise brand this summer. Trailing Viking are American Cruise Lines and AmaWaterways.

Coveted Cruise Ships

Royal Caribbean ships dominate the list of the most popular when it comes to premium cruising, with Oasis, Wonder and Harmony of the Seas garnering the most interest this June. Meanwhile, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth ships are the most popular among luxury travelers, with Oceania Cruises' Oceania Insignia ranking third. American Cruise Lines' American Jazz and American Splendor ranks tops on the world's rivers, followed by Emerald Cruises' Emerald Sky.

Top Cruise Regions

Europe is arguably the most popular cruise region this summer, ranking first among luxury and river cruise passengers and third among premium guests. The latter segment prefers the Caribbean and North America to Europe but North America also ranks second among luxury and river cruise travelers. The Mediterranean is also the third-most popular region among both segments. 

Most Popular Countries

The United States is one of the most popular countries for cruise travelers, ranking top among luxury passengers and second among premium guests. After the U.S., Spain and Italy are the most sought-after among luxury travelers, while premium passengers are also showing interest in the Bahamas and Mexico. For river cruisers, Germany, France and the Netherlands are in high demand this summer. 

The Hottest Ports

When it comes to departures, Florida is the leader for premium cruise passengers, with Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral leading the way. Vancouver, Miami and Southampton are the most popular places to set sail from among luxury travelers while river cruisers prefer to embark from European cities such as Amsterdam, Basel and Budapest. The most popular ports visited among premium guests include Cozumel, Nassau and CocoCay while luxury passengers would rather visit Alaska—Ketchikan, Sitka and Hubbard Glacier are the most popular. River cruise guests have set their sights on Europe, meanwhile, specifically Cologne, Vienna and Budapest.

In-Demand Cabins

Balcony cabins continue to be the most popular across all three segments while premium passengers passing on a balcony are more likely to seek out an inside cabin compared to luxury and river guests, who prefer an outside cabin.

Must-Sail Months

Premium cruise guests are looking to get away soon, with July 2023 being the most requested sailing month, followed by August 2023 and June 2023. When it comes to luxury cruises, August 2023 and November 2023 are the most sought-after sailing months. Finally, October 2023 is the most popular month to cruise the world's rivers, with June 2023 and August 2023 rounding out the top three.

Itinerary Lengths

The most popular cruise itinerary length is seven nights across all three segments. Premium passengers are more likely to covet a shorter cruise though, with four- and five-night sailings coming in second and third. After seven nights, luxury travelers would prefer a 10- or 11-night voyage. For river cruise guests, a 14-night itinerary is the second-most popular, followed by an eight-night sailing. 

Travel Insurance Preferences

River cruise passengers are the most interested in travel insurance these days, with 34 percent of those consumers indicating they would like to purchase a protection policy. That figure dips to 23 percent for luxury travelers and 18 percent for premium cruise passengers.

Average Booking Windows

In addition to purchasing travel insurance, river cruise guests are also more likely to book further out from departure at an average of 387 days, according to CruiseCompete's latest CruiseTrends report. Meanwhile, the booking window shrinks to 215 days for premium passengers and just 209 days for luxury travelers. 

Cruising has bounced back in a big way since the pandemic and this summer is poised to be remarkable one for the industry as travelers seek to make up for lost time and prioritize their summer vacations.

Online cruise marketplace CruiseCompete.com has released its latest CruiseTrends Report based on tens of thousands of actual consumer quote requests. The monthly study reveals the cruise lines, ships, ports and destinations that travelers are most interested in as well as some of their booking habits, including their proclivity to purchase travel insurance, cabin type preferences and average booking windows.

Here are 10 of the latest trend discoveries in cruising based on the June 2023 report.

Topics From This Media to Explore

Get To Know Us Better

Agent At Home

Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

Subscribe For Free

Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me
Agent At Home

Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

Subscribe For Free

Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me