Are Cruise Demographics Changing? How Many Millennials, Gen X & Z?

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a boat with people on it

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Passenger cruising has changed a lot and most of it more recently than you might think. Until around the 1970s the target demographic for cruise companies was retired people. Thanks to the popular TV show The Love Boat more younger people began to consider cruising for themselves and not just their parents or grandparents. What about now, is cruising changing yet again?

This story on the Today Show caught my attention a few days ago. The statistic that really surprised me was 22% of cruisers are now Millennials, 24% Baby Boomers and 24% Gen Xers. My math says that still leaves 30% in the over 80 category, but the question is why are more younger people interested in cruising?

Marketing

Part of the answer is that the cruise companies are marketing to them, and why not. At 72 million they became the largest generation of adults, surpassing the baby boomers in 2019. With bigger ships come more restaurants, more shows, more activities. They’re even designing theme based cruises so you can immerse yourself in a “Swiftie” theme cruise if you like – just don’t expect to see Taylor onboard.

YOLO

Another part of the answer seems to be the idea of why wait until retirement. The parent generation of Millennials is mine, Gen X who tend to embrace work-life balance more than previous generations. A big contributor to this is also accessibility onboard with much better wifi connectivity across cruise lines. This paired with better apps that allow guests to do more with their phone instead of going to guest services and waiting in line is also appealing to a younger group.

What’s Next?

Companies that survive have to become adept at reinventing themselves as trends inevitably change. When you look at the history of “passenger shipping” it’s truly come a long way. What new delights will we see in cruising as Gen Z and Gen Alpha reach adulthood? Who can say! – René

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Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Your math was right on the 30%, but your categories aren’t. That 30% is a combo of the 80+ demo but also the younger-than-millenials, which start at current age 28ish. The olds and the yutes.

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