Tuesday, May 18, 2004

HOW CRUISING STACKS UP: Old industry jokes about the average age of cruisers being “deceased” no longer apply, with typical cruise vacationers now ranging from well-heeled celebrities to families next door. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) analysis conducted by TNS Plog Research snapshots today’s cruise buyer as a married, passport-holding Baby Boomer happy to travel often. In fact, Baby Boomers are the cruise market core, with 34 percent between ages 35 and 54. Three in four cruisers (76 percent) are married, and two in five (44 percent) are college grads. Only one in four (25 percent) is retired. Families are key. While spouses are the most likely cruise companions, 16 percent bring along kids under age 18. Repeat cruise bookings are high, with the average cruiser taking three (2.8) cruises in a lifetime, and two (1.6) within the past three years. Up to nine out of 10 (89 percent) of cruisers surveyed used a travel agent to book their last cruise. Often compared to visitors bound for places like Orlando, Nevada and Branson, recent cruisers also are among the most venturesome. They seek undiscovered destinations and are comfortable in other cultures. International travel potential is strong among cruisers, since 61 percent have a current passport, compared to 44 percent of visitors heading to Orlando, 45 percent to Nevada and 35 percent to Branson.

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