Cruises are finally making a comeback after struggling for years amidst the recession. As older travelers finally take their long awaited vacations that they’d postponed in the wake of financial uncertainty, cruises are once again coming out on top.
With earnings at a record high in 2017, there are several more factors at play in the sheer scale of of cruises profitability, including lower fuel costs and the introduction of fuel efficient ships.
But there’s more to the story than baby boomers and gas prices. Cruises have increased in popularity among all demographics, with many advertising activities catering to every age group, from race tracks to waterslides.
“People used to think they’d be confined or bored or get seasick, but all of that has changed,” says Andy Stuart, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Lines.
It’s not just the on board activities that have been upgraded. Cruises are targeting millennials who place more importance on experience over objects by focusing more on offering customizable on shore excursions.
What was once a stale menu of set options with regards to exploring port cities, both millennials and young families are taking advantage of the variety of options cruises are providing at each stop, and more revenue is coming in from excursion packages than on board purchases.
As much as cruises have always been known for the quality of their cuisine, their culinary offerings are also transforming to be more on brand with millennial tastes. From a brewery on board the Carnival Vista, wine bars curated by Michael Mondavi on Norwegian ships, plus restaurants operated by celebrity chefs like Thomas Keller and Guy Fieri, cruises have come a long way from the days where the midnight buffet was the only culinary highlight of the trip.
And to compete with the food on offer, cruise entertainment has also gotten an upgrade, placing the performances on par with West End and Broadway productions. In fact, Norwegian even booked the Blue Man Group for the Norwegian Epic.
As tailored marketing becomes more specific via social media platforms, cruises can better suss out potential clients, especially in the emerging millennial market. Understanding this demographic has ultimately proved crucial to the renaissance of high end cruising.