StudentUniverse revealed insights into Gen Z’s sentiment toward cruise vacations, examining both first-time and past passengers

Rebounding faster than other forms of travel, the cruise industry has surpassed pre-pandemic passenger numbers, which are predicted to increase even more over the next several years.

The resilient market, often associated with families, multigenerational travelers and mature adults, has caught the eye of a new demographic – Generation Z. To better understand the sentiment of the new age cruiser, StudentUniverse, a Flight Centre Travel Group company and the world’s largest student and youth travel marketplace, conducted a study to examine the thoughts and behaviors of repeat and first-time young adult passengers.

Surveying U.S. adults aged 18-25, StudentUniverse found that 42.1% of respondents have taken a river or ocean cruise vacation as an independent adult, while more than half (57.9%) have yet to set sail. First impressions clearly set the tone as those who have previously been on a cruise are more inclined to book another.

Among past cruisers, 51% are likely to book again with 39.4% very likely to do so, compared to just 36.6% of first-time cruisers who are likely and 29.6% who are very likely to book. To increase booking propensity, cruise lines should be cognizant of Gen Z’s budget constraints as participants stated exclusive discounts for young adults and students (50.6%), flexible payment plans (49.4%) and discounts on flights to the port city (48.6%) would increase their inclination.

With a majority reporting their household income at less than $50,000, this budget-conscious generation prioritizes experiences where their travel dollars can be stretched. According to 57.4% of respondents, the top appeal for taking a cruise vacation is the value for money, followed by onboard experiences (51.8%), all-inclusive amenities (51%) and visiting multiple destinations (50.6%).

To emphasize Gen Z’s price sensitivity, 60.2% of previous passengers and 75.5% of first-time cruisers stated the high cost has hindered their desire to book. Other deterrents included safety concerns and the desire to avoid crowds, which were unsurprisingly higher among those who have not been on a cruise before.

As solo travel continues to rise, StudentUniverse examined the sentiment of Gen Z toward taking a cruise vacation alone. The study showed that those who have taken a cruise before are more likely to set sail solo (62.5%) than those who have not been on one (30.8%). Despite the rise in female solo travel, 60.8% of young women stated they would not take a cruise alone. Interestingly enough, previous cruise experience does play a factor as 61.6% of past female passengers said they would book a solo cruise.

It is assumed that safety concerns could be the reason why those without cruise experience are reluctant to travel solo, and cruise lines looking to target this type of young traveler should reiterate protocols to address these apprehensions.

About StudentUniverse:
Launched in 2000, StudentUniverse is a Boston-based tech company that operates the world’s largest student and youth travel marketplace. Through negotiations with a network of global partners, StudentUniverse offers exclusive pricing and terms for its members. With operations in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and the Philippines, StudentUniverse empowers students and youth to travel more. Acquired in 2015, StudentUniverse is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group, one of the world’s largest travel companies. For more updates, follow our corporate blog and LinkedIn.

(StudentUniverse revealed insights into Gen Z’s sentiment toward cruise vacations, examining both first-time and past passengers – StudentUniverse)



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