New generation of 'thrill & chill' families drives cruise industry growth

Royal Caribbean International has revealed research demonstrating its impact on industry growth by attracting a younger generation of new-to-cruise families.

While the average age of British passengers taking cruise holidays has dropped to 55 years old – the lowest in six years – the average adult age of a Royal Caribbean new-to-cruise family guest is 42 years old - more than 13 years younger that the industry average.

The rapidly growing UK cruise industry is set to see a record-breaking two million passengers this year, with more than one in ten holidaymakers (13%) planning a cruise in the next 12 months.

Royal Caribbean believes it’s the ‘Generation Thrill and Chill’ families who are leading this growth, with families now representing one in four of its guests, and it is predicted that the line's passenger numbers will grow by a further 63% over the next five years.

Speaking at the annual ABTA Travel Conference in The Azores last weekend, Ben Bouldin, managing director for Royal Caribbean International, said: “More than 1.9 million UK holidaymakers took a cruise in 2016 and figures indicate similar growth in 2017. There appears to be three main triggers for why younger, new-to-cruise families are booking cruise holidays with us: the ability to visit multiple destinations whilst also being able to relax and chill and experience fun and adventure along the way. We call them ‘Generation Thrill-and-Chill’ and they now make up a quarter of all our guests in the UK.

“Interestingly we also see they have a strong propensity to re-book with us – 10% return within a year, 17% within two years and more than a quarter (21%) in three years. We believe that’s because our ships offer an onboard experience unlike any other, from zip-wires and sky-diving to world-class dining and health and wellbeing facilities. When matched with the promise of seeing multiple cultures and destinations, it’s an extraordinary experience that we believe no other holiday company can boast.”

Growth from the new-to-cruise customers was projected to remain strong for 2017 with nearly half (48%) of non-cruisers expressing an interest in taking an ocean cruise.


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