Any notions that cruise is still solely the domain of the silver-surfer traveller are slowly being lost at sea, with operators looking to steer business towards the millennial market and branching out from the traditional baby boomer passenger.
Although notoriously private about the details of their passengers, a report by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) estimated the average age of cruise passengers to be around 49 in 2014. More recently, however, online travel community, CruiseMates, reported that the average passenger age of Royal Caribbean International has dropped to 42. So, why are more young people taking to the sea?
As part of the push to capture the interest of the younger generation and change perceptions of the industry, top cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean International, Carnival and MSC are investing millions of dollars in updating ships, according to the Financial Times, with super-fast Wi-Fi and various other technological improvements - this is the 21st century, after all.
Ships are pricey to build so it figures they need to remain relevant to customers for another ten years at the minimum. Featuring cutting-edge technology not only serves to grab the attention of the millennial market, it will assist the ship to stand the test of time. Just look at Carnival's their new anthropomorthic robots (introduced last year), their three-storey Imax entertainment centre and membrane dome roofs which allow passengers to work on their tans without getting splashed by the crash of the waves.
Another example is MSC Cruises and their recently signed deal with Samsung; a deal which will enable the line to bring a host of new equipment, including smartphones and televisions, to their new ships. MSC has also embraced Bluetooth technology to track passengers and staff for a more personalised, location-based experience.
Operators are also planning to reel in a younger crowd with a wider range of activities such as kayaking and 4x4 tours - aiming to appeal to both the adventurous, independent traveller and those comfortable with the traditional package holiday.
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