Skift Take

After years of talking up the importance of attracting millennials and families to cruising, it appears cruise lines are leaving them with a positive impression of their time onboard when they do choose a cruise vacation.

For years, cruise lines and travel agencies have focused on marketing cruise vacations to younger travelers. But it’s been a struggle for them to shake the perception that cruises are best suited for older travelers, despite their relative affordability and wide array of entertainment options onboard.

It turns out this marketing push may have paid off.

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) commissioned a report on consumer habits that shows millennials are also more likely to enjoy cruises than older generations, and that younger travelers are often spending more on vacations than baby boomers, in a reversal of longtime trends.

ASTA polled 1,522 people in the U.S. aged 25 to 70 on their travel habits and preferences for The 2017 ASTA How America Travels National Study conducted by PSB.

Overall, their research found that the American travelers averaged 1.94 vacations in 2016, with millennials averaging 2.38 vacations. Boomers took the least vacations, averaging 1.65, and a third of them took no vacations at all.

Millennials also were willing to spend more on lodging and tours, but not airfare. Transportation “appears to be somewhat of a commodity play for millennials,” according to the report, and they’re willing to pay less for flights even if it entails more connecting flights.

Here are three takeaways from the rest of the report.

Millennials and Gen Xers Are Spending Big on Vacations

All Respondents Millennials Gen Xers Boomers
Roundtrip transportation $415 $394 $472 $409
Lodging per person per night $162 $170 $174 $147
Tours and activities per person per vacation $256 $287 $294 $204

Boomer spending on tours and lodging is less than that of millennials and Gen X, in a major reversal of previous trends. It makes a certain amount of sense; Gen X is likely taking families on vacation, while millennials and boomers are probably traveling solo or in couples.

Almost a Third of Millennials CruiseD in the Last Five Years

Have Cruised… Within Past 5 Years More than Five Years Ago
All 23% 19%
Millennial 32% 15%
Gen X 20% 19%
Boomers 18% 21%

Cruise lines and travel agents alike have noted a major increase in millennials cruisers in recent years. ASTA’s research bears this out, with almost a third of millennials having cruised in the last five years. Overall, 40 percent of U.S. travelers overall aged 25 to 70 have been on a cruise.

Millennials Like Cruises More Than Boomers

Have Cruised… Strongly Like Cruising Somewhat Like Cruising
All 55% 29%
Millennial 61% 29%
Gen X 45% 41%
Boomers 56% 21%

Source: ASTA

This is the real shocker from the report: more millennials “strongly like” cruising than boomers or Gen Xers. More than four in five millennials who have cruised had a good time, which is truly surprising.


The Daily Newsletter

Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: millennials, travel agents

Photo credit: New research indicates millennials are enjoying cruises more than older travelers. Millennials party hard on the Holy Ship cruise. Holy Ship / Facebook

Up Next

Loading next stories