by Teresa Ooi
Alaska continues to be the hot cruise destination, followed by the Mediterranean and South America, according to the latest report by Cruise Lines International Association.
“Alaska is selling like crazy right now,” said travel agent Amy Madson of Cruise Inc. “Families are liking the big ships in Alaska – Norwegian Bliss and Joy are bringing strong yields.”
There is also growing interest in cruises to Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada/New England, Northern Europe and Australia/New Zealand according to CLIA’s Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook report.
Passengers are also spending up to 10 per cent more on their 2018 bookings compared to the previous year.
“People seem more inclined to spend the extra money to travel to exotic places,” said one travel agent.
“We are seeing clients willing to spend more to go to new and interesting ports. They also like the idea of spending the night at a port, allowing them to attend special activities,” said another agent.
River cruises have also taken off and a good way to introduce customers to cruising agents said.
Those new to river cruising are looking for a relaxed holiday in Europe without the sea-sickness. They also want to experience smaller ships, more immersive destination excursions and education tours.
The most popular river cruises are on the Rhine, Moselle, Danube and Elbe which experienced a 53 per cent growth last year, followed by a 30 per cent rise on the Soane, Seine and Loire rivers and 24 per cent increase on the Douro, Rhone, Dordogne, Garonne and Po.
There has also been a 23 per cent growth in US river cruises particularly on the Columbia, Mississippi and Ohio rivers and a 21 per cent increase to experience Asian’s rivers including the Mekong, Red, Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers.
Baby boomers are leading the charge by booking more river cruises followed by Generation X, Millennials and the Silent Generation (those born before 1948).
“To say the cruise marketplace is flourishing may be an understatement. Positive trends in multi-generational travel, river cruising, value and luxury and new ships and destinations are pushing more and more travellers into the cruise marketplace and those travellers are spending more than they have in the past,” said the report.