Mind the (Generation) Gap

We all love our holidays, to travel to another destination and forget our worries and responsibilities. Some people dream of having a ski trip in Japan, drinking cheap beer in Thailand, backpacking across Europe or even a road trip through the USA. However over recent years, people have been opting for cruises, which makes it one of the fastest growing tourism segments compared to traditional holidays. Cruise ships these days are basically floating resorts, with facilities such as tennis courts, movie theatres, pools and spas, nightclubs, mini water parks with a variety of activities run by the stuff throughout the day. Now when I think of cruises, I imagine that it’s just like a floating retirement village, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Top cruise liners have been on a been on a mission to reach the millennial market and decrease the average cruise passenger age of 56.

One of the main reasons why those in the millennial generation are opposed to taking cruises is that they value experiences over material possessions. I can certainly say that there is truth to this, experiences on holidays are easier to justify spending money on. The motivation for a perfect Instagram pic also helps too!

In order to increase the number of millennials, cruise liners didn’t really have any idea where to start as encouraging this age demographic has never been a priority. There isn’t a substantial amount of literary research either, which means companies just had to try a variety of things and see what worked.

There have been many efforts to target the millennial demographic. For example, Carnival Cruise lines started a concert series called “Carnival Live”, which features big name artists such as Jennifer Hudson, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Nick Jonas and Lady Antebellum. Another trend is to incorporate craft beers into the drinks menu. In order to target the “foodie” millennials, the Royal Caribbean International partnered with celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Michael Schwartz. These marketing tactics draw from the latest trends and ultimately harnesses the “celebrity” factor, which has proven to drawn the millennial demographic onto more cruises. Stepping away from these tactics however, is targeting single travellers between the ages of 18-35 who are looking for romance.

The Norwegian Epic is a cruise liner which provides studio cabins for solo travellers, and also have exclusive access to the Studio Lounge, a destination to meet over drinks. To one-up this idea, MSC Cruises has a similar concept and also provides condoms, pregnancy tests, lubricants, and even the morning after pill to its passengers upon arrival. This approach clearly has worked, as both of these cruise liners have seen an increase in millennials joining these specific cruises.

It is easy to romanticize falling in love among the high seas, as this has been embedded in previous literature and popular culture. Does a certain 1997 film classic come to mind?

There has even been research conducted which found that 14% of cruise passengers have found love on the open ocean, with 41% still with that partner, and 12% who married them. This success in love among the waves is only limited to singles, as another piece of research says that one in five passengers have cheated on their partner during a cruise, with 80% of them admitting that their partner was onboard at the time.

Now I know that I have the option to go on a cruise and not be surrounded by a bunch of “Golden Oldies”, and to also not go on one while in a relationship.


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