Monday, 27 July 2015
Nautical but Nice for the Millennial Generation
The changing profile of Irish cruise passengers
Cruise ships have finally shaken off their old, staid image catering for the “newly wed or nearly dead.” Wielding craft beer and cocktails, speedy Wi-Fi and apps, celebrity chefs and Broadway shows, cruise lines are increasing their efforts to appeal to discriminating young adults, part of the ‘millennial generation’. There is no consensus yet on where the millennial generation starts and stops, but most definitions include at least the 25-50 age range. The group is known to be tech-savvy, global in world view, careful about spending and hungry for new experiences. According to latest figures by leading Irish cruise specialist e-travel, 42% of Irish cruisers are now under 50. This represents a 20% increase since 2014 and shows the rapidly changing profile of cruise passengers from Ireland.
“Affordable adventures are a huge theme for millennials” said David O Grady, CEO of e-Travel. “The group has a greater desire than any other generation to visit every city and continent, they value experience over status and must be able to share those adventures quickly with their social networks. That makes them ideal customers for cruise lines, which promote value, the ability to visit multiple destinations and diversity in options”
Another new trend emerging is the increase in the numbers of families cruising. 24% of all cruise bookings by e-travel are now families. Where once it was a struggle to find ships that were child-friendly, the challenge now is wading through the bevy of activities, kids clubs and child-themed bells and whistles many of the newer ships offer to determine which cruise to chose.
The most popular cruise line for Irish holiday makers is Royal Caribbean with MSC second and then Celebrity Cruises according to e-Travel. The Mediterranean accounts for 44% of all cruises from Ireland of which 91% are taken between May and October. The Caribbean accounts for 28% of all cruises from Ireland with most being taken in the winter months from November to March, out of hurricane season (June to October).
The average price paid so far in 2015 for a fly cruise package is €1476 versus €1383 in 2014 and stateroom sales breakdown to approximately 65% balconies, 28% inside and 7% ocean view. Whilst these prices might appear high at first; when the all inclusive nature of cruising is taken into account, it actually works out less expensive than many land based holidays. Flights, transfers and all meals are included. But it must be taken into account that the standard of cuisine would be impossible to replicate. Dining and Gastronomic pursuits are central to cruising with some of the best chefs in the world battling to provide the very best culinary delights. Most ships have a very grand main dining room with traditional dining and freestyle dining. There's a large buffet on most ships open most of the time, then there are alternative restaurants with everything from Creperies to Sushi Bars and Tex Mex to Tepinyaki all the way up to Michelin acclaimed formal dining par excellence! This might contribute to the fact that 73% of all cruises are now repeat bookings.