ABTA’s new report, Travel Trends 2018, found 14 per cent of UK holidaymakers plan on taking a cruise in the next 12 months – almost double the number that went on one in the past 12 months.
In particular, the growth in European river cruising looks set to continue in 2018 – something that has gained traction with the quickly-developing millennial market.
A popular new development with this demographic is the growth of more active trips: where holiday makers can combine taking in the scenery with activities such as hiking along smugglers’ routes, sampling local specialties or rock climbing, meanwhile river cruises that combine anything from sunrise yoga to rooftop bars also appeal to younger cruisers.
The majority of growth with river cruising comes from within Europe, with the Rhine/Moselle being the most popular followed by the Danube.
Millennials are also showing more interest in cruising more generally, with more than one in ten holidaymakers between the ages of 18-24 planning a cruise for next year. The wider cruise industry is investing in tech’ upgrades to appeal to the next generation of holidaymakers, with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and MSC among those capitalising on new technology and lightning fast Wi-Fi across their fleets.
More exotic locations are also becoming popular for this year (2018), for example on Fred Olsen’s latest routes, passengers can discover the souks and castle of the Omani city of Khasab, visit the birthplace of Gandhi in Porbandar, India, or stop to witness amazing wildlife along the stunning coastline of South Africa.
ABTA members report that passengers are looking for more flexibility and choice in 2018. For example, TUI’s newly-branded Marella Cruises have seen an increase in its ‘Cruise and Stay’ bookings, where customers can opt to stay in a TUI hotel or resort as part of their trip. In addition, more customers than ever are choosing to depart from the UK and these numbers look set to rise in the next year.
Finally, all-inclusive cruises are expected to be an appealing option for holidaymakers in 2018. With the likelihood of continued currency fluctuations amidst Brexit negotiations, such cruises eliminate the stress of additional and unexpected costs once on holiday, it said.
For more information see ABTA TRAVEL TRENDS 2018