Monday, August 09, 2004

NOT READY TO KICK THE BUCKET: Today’s retirees are more fit, more adventurous and have more time to kill than predecessors, and in quests for good times, this mature segment has discovered the hot commodity of cruising. By 2007, the Census Bureau projects the number of Americans age 55 and older will grow six times faster than the rest of the population, all of which has cruise marketers licking their chops. Since this new retiree breed does more than sit around in rocking chairs comparing notes on ailments, cruise lines are developing new products tailored to more sophisticated, mature tastes -- whether for exploring Alaska by helicopter or checking out landmarks of ancient Rome. Cruise value-pricing also rings bells with retirees. Comparing costs of seven-day cruises to less-inclusive seven-day land options, retirees likely will find the cruise less expensive, says Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA, representing 19 cruise lines with nearly 150 ships and 16,000 travel agencies. Extras on typical vacations -– Broadway-style entertainment, meals, snacks, transportation, enrichment classes and other activities -– are generally included in cruise costs. Lines also offer healthy dining options and fitness programs tailored to individual abilities. Retirees with “to do” lists for their sunset decades can choose among more than 1,800 ports of call worldwide, providing plenty of exploration thrills.

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