Heidi Walker Heidi Walker

Cruise: Youth market doubles

The New Zealand cruise industry has seen a youthful transformation with more younger travellers booking to go on cruise ship holidays, according to Flight Centre NZ figures.

The company says cruise ship bookings for 18-30-year-olds have dramatically increased, more than doubling in just under a year.

While for some, cruising may have been seen as a holiday of choice for passengers in their ‘golden years’, the convenience of cruising, hassle-free nature, and luxury additions, has seen an influx of Gen Z and millennial bookings, looking for cost and time efficient holidays.

Heidi Walker, general manager of Flight Centre Brand New Zealand, says that whether it’s going on boutique river cruises or on a larger multi-country experience, cruising has become more accessible to Kiwis.

Flight Centre has released booking data showing that more travellers of a younger demographic are seeing cruising as the ultimate travel option. Bookings in the 18-24 age range have more than doubled this year compared to last year, going from 8% to nearly 20% of all bookings.

‘Cruise operators are reporting back to us saying they’ve seen an uplift in younger, Gen-X, demographic bookings, which we believe is driven by consumers wanting to treat themselves to a luxury getaway post-pandemic without worrying about airfares. You can buy all-inclusive packages, which means you can better financially plan your trip,’ says Walker.

Social media reflects this interest. Cruise ship content has been trending on TikTok with hashtags such as #cruiseship has generating 3.6b views, and #cruising getting 1.3b views. 

Walker says cruise operators are aware of this growing market and that their ships need to cater to this demographic’s needs.

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