Young professionals are the future of cruising.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association’s annual report, 25 to 40-year-olds are the most enthusiastic demographic for both returning to cruises and trying cruising for the first time.
While you’d expect more of a silver-haired crowd on a typical cruise, it’s still not a total shock that younger crowds are turning to the seas.
Travelers in their 20s and 30s today are the product of family-friendly cruising promotions in the early 2000s, now grown up and returning to the familiar no-plans-needed vacation staple. But why are they opting into cruising now?
Cruise lines are getting the word out on social media: This isn’t your parents’ cruise experience.
Algorithms on TikTok and Youtube give a helping hand to cruise vlogs that showcase more relaxed on-deck environments, improved “foodie” dining experiences, trendy activities, and adventurous excursions. Most highlight the excellent value and all-inclusive ease of cruising.
Some videos showcase remote work from the pool deck for a picture-perfect workation, while others lure in young professionals with the promise of digital detox.
Virgin Voyages is one of the cruise providers tapping into the potential of social media to include younger travelers. Virgin recently engaged over 1 million TikTok users with a viral #NowWereVoyaging dance challenge to the tune of its Karma Chameleon music-video-style ad campaign.
“We’ve seen that piece of advertising be three times more effective than any other advertising we’d ever done,” Virgin president Nirmal Saverimuttu recently told CBS.
Updated Amenities and Customization
Move over dress codes and shuffleboard. Today’s cruises offer unpretentious hospitality that prioritizes the unique experiences younger professionals value.
Fresh amenities tailored for the 25 to 40-year-old crowd include:
- Silent discos
- Brunch bars
- Wine tastings
- Vegan options
- Escape rooms
- Laser tag
- Outdoor yoga
- Mixology classes
- Improved Wi-Fi
- Culturally immersive excursions
- Adventure sports
While the wider variety of age-appropriate amenities is definitely a perk, the increasing flexibility and uber-customization of these activities really attracts young professionals.
This age group dances to the beat of their own drum, and wouldn’t be caught dead being herded into the same inflexible activities as every other passenger every day. They know what they want, so cruise lines are letting them have it.
Sampling Multiple Countries
Young professionals are short on PTO and budget-conscious. Cruises let them sample the maximum number of destinations in one hassle-free short trip before choosing where to spend their hard-earned dollars and vacation days.
This way, travelers don’t need to commit to a place they’ve never seen before. They can feel confident in planning their next extended vacation in a destination they loved from the cruise route.
Destination sampling also lets younger travelers have diverse off-ship experiences and create more social media content from a variety of destinations in the same trip.
Travel advisor Mary Jane Manole of Luxx Travel recently told Travel Weekly, “Young travelers like to be challenged, excited and have material for their social media.”
Many young professionals are dealing with decision fatigue as they reach pivotal moments in their careers and personal lives all at the same time.
Under persistent stress about whether you’re making the right choices, a ready-made vacation with someone else at the helm may be just what the doctor ordered.
“The hardest decision I had to make over the course of four days was which deck chair to pick for my morning sunbathing session,” explained young professional Sara Bosworth when trying out Carnival Pride.
Your twenties and thirties are a time of big changes and celebration-worthy wins: promotions, new jobs, business launches, home ownership, marriage, milestone birthdays, and more. Cruises have long represented festivity, so younger travelers are rightly turning to the seas to toast their successes.
“Young customers are most often on board to celebrate, for a birthday, graduation, work promotion or even a divorce,” said Nathan Rosenberg, the chief brand officer at Virgin Voyages, recently commented.
With customized celebration packages, all-inclusive alcohol options, and on-deck parties and clubs, cruise ships are a great way for young professional travelers to celebrate their achievements.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com