Cruise travellers ‘seeking longer durations and spending more’

Cruise travellers are prepared to spend more and take longer holidays at sea, according to new data.

The average length of cruise bookings rose from nine days in the first quarter of 2019 to 11 days in the dame period this year, Expedia revealed.

Average spend per cabin also more than doubled over the pre-pandemic period, showing a willingness from some cruise travellers to spend more, the company claimed.

But new research also showed that despite travellers spending more per cabin, lower pricing matters more in cruise compared with other forms of travel in some markets. 

Cruise was the only line of business where travellers from numerous countries ranked low pricing as the top value.

With US vaccination rates up and more relaxed travel restrictions, 44% of new first quarter bookings in the US were for 2021 departures, 20% of which are for this summer.

Separately, younger generations tend to be thinking more about environmentally-friendly policies when thinking about cruises, most notably with Gen Z in North America ranking it jointly in the second spot after value.

Expedia also outlined an increased focus on technology and a desire for its cruise business to become a leader in digital experience and content, in supply and transparent pricing, and in service and trip management.

A media roundtable, moderated by Charles Syvlia, Clia vice president of industry and trade relations, addressed the evolving role of agents since the pandemic.

No longer simply a ‘book and go’ mentality, the message from the panel was the need to adapt, upgrade and be better-informed to support travellers through this challenging time.

Agents will be viewed as a consultant and trusted advisor to cruise travellers with more questions about their trip today than before, including details about health and safety protocols, and complexities around refunds and credits.

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