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Cruise sector predicted to grow faster than the overseas holiday market

By Adrianna Johns on 27th May 2019

As the extravagant Celebrity Edge sets sail on its European maiden voyage, the latest market research reveals that the popularity of cruise holidays is forecast to rapidly increase.

According to research gathered by Mintel, the world’s leading market intelligence agency, the next five years will see a rapid increase of cruise getaways, as 46 per cent of Brits are interested in enjoying a sea cruise experience rather than an overseas holiday.

Research for the Mintel Cruises 2019 report focused on 2,000 UK internet users aged 16 and over and was undertaken in November 2018, in order to determine how the interest on cruise holidays would be improving throughout the next few years.

Between 2018 and 2023, the number of cruise holidays taken by British and Irish travellers is predicted to grow at 22.5 per cent, compared to the 14.8 per cent rise in the number of oversea holidays over the same five year period.

Silversea Cruises recently unveiled its latest masterpiece, Silver Origin; the cruise line’s first destination-specific ship

With an increase in popularity, it comes as no surprise that 2.04 million British and Irish passengers are expected to embark on a sea voyage this year alone. This rise in demand has impacted the UK and Ireland sea cruise markets as it is now estimated to reach £3.2 billion by the end of the year.

Once considered to be a holiday choice for those in their golden years, cruises are increasingly more appealing to younger generations as Mintel’s research reveals that those between the ages of 16-34 are the most interested. 34 per cent of those desiring this type of holiday are aged 35-54, whilst 28 per cent are over the age of 55.

Interestingly, the tables have turned as cruising seems to be a less desirable option for more mature holidaymakers. However, river cruises have increased their appeal, as research shows that 46 per cent are intrigued by enjoying a calming river cruise.

Mintel Travel Analyst, Marloes De Vries, discussed how “the UK cruise market is expected to grow at a faster pace than the total overseas holiday market” over the next five years.

“Growth is expected to be fuelled by an increasing number of cruise choices, modernisation of existing ships and the large pool of people who are considering a cruise holiday. Consumers are becoming more open to experiencing things they have never done before,” explained Marloes.

cruise
The next five years will see a rapid increase of cruise getaways, as 46 per cent of Brits are interested in enjoying a sea cruise experience rather than an overseas holiday

With many of the world’s highly renowned cruise lines designing more innovative ways to explore the seas, as well as creating exquisitely luxurious spaces to indulge in, it comes as no surprise that more people are looking to hop on board of this growing trend; Celebrity Cruise’s latest addition Celebrity Edge is a perfect example of this.

“Cruisers were once thought of as the preserve of retirees, but there’s now plenty of potential to tap into a younger generation of cruise goers. The fact that younger people aged 16-34 expect far fewer products/services to be included in the price for a cruise holiday presents an opportunity to offer this group more flexible price tiers,” continued Marloes.

The research gathered by Mintel also highlighted how 47 per cent of those who have never taken a cruise before will now consider combining this form of luxury holiday with one on land.

First time cruisers are being attracted by the idea of enjoying a cruise-and-stay holiday, which is becoming more desirable due to the prospect of delivering the best-of-both-worlds, and many more cruise lines are offering these deals.

Despite the rise in popularity, the biggest obstacle to cruising continues to be the cost, as six in ten Brits who have never cruised before tend to believe cruises are far too expensive. Similarly, 30 per cent of non-cruisers think that they will not be offered enough flexibility and freedom to do their own plans, whilst one in five consider cruises to be far too crowded.

Once considered to be a holiday choice for those in their golden years, cruises are increasingly more appealing to younger generations as Mintel’s research reveals that those between the ages of 16-34 are the most interested

As Marloes says: “Cruise brands that are interested in broadening their audience could combat the perception of being too expensive by highlighting budget options, by adding more variety in the look and feel of marketing materials and by emphasising the added value of a cruise holiday.”

With 40 years of experience, Mintel’s experts analysis of the higher quality data and market research is one to be trusted. Despite the existing concerns that many have towards cruising, cruise holidays have undeniably been increasing in popularity, specifically across the younger generations.

With consistent modernisation occurring throughout cruise lines, it is not surprising to see how this form of travelling is gaining more and more interest, and as the research shows, the next five years will be all the more exciting for sea cruise holidays.