How Cruise Ships Pivot To Appeal To Younger Travelers

The question of whether new generations are interested in holidaying on cruise ships is a complex one that has many factors to consider. While there were some indications that younger generations were becoming less interested in cruise ships than previous generations, the industry has taken action and there are many reasons to believe that cruise ships will continue to be popular with younger people in the future. So, what changes have we already seen to be more accommodating to younger travelers, and what other alterations are on the horizon?

Carnival Cruise Line Expands Hubb App With Exciting Features
Carnival Cruise Line Hubb App

The Tech Advance

There are countless options when it comes to how cruise ships implement tech to provide entertainment. For example, eSports cruises with on-board gaming facilities, tournaments and other gaming events, offering guests the chance to compete against each other while enjoying their vacation. Cruise ships could also provide VR and AR experiences to guests, allowing them to explore virtual environments and participate in activities such as virtual adventure games, space simulations, and overlaying information on top of live shows or allowing guests to interact with virtual objects and characters. At the heart of this are tech upgrades to ensure digital nomads or those that simply can’t bear to be out of touch are catered to.  Younger travelers tend to be tech-savvy and appreciate having access to the latest technology on board, such as fast and reliable Wi-Fi, charging stations, and interactive entertainment systems.

Missing out on the latest online casino promotions due to poor Wi-Fi or simply not being able to perform normal online activities such as streaming films or updating social media would be a deal-breaker for many young people. Fortunately, the sector has been aware of the need to upgrade tech and back in 2019 we saw innovations such as ZOE, the world’s first artificial intelligence-powered virtual personal cruise assistant on MSC Cruises. We’ve also seen disinfection robots, more contactless interactions, virtual balconies, robotic bars, and a host of other innovations that not only capture the attention of guests but actually make cruising a more pleasant experience for all. 

Cruising remains popular due to the convenience factor, as it is a hassle-free way to travel, and with advancements in technology, the experience of cruising is becoming more streamlined and user-friendly.

Younger Travelers
The Carnival Breeze and the the Carnival Vista return to the Port of Galveston on Sunday, May 2, 2021 with an escort by the Bay Houston Towing Company Tugboat Wesley A.

Holiday Experience

The travel preferences of younger generations are distinctive, with many people seeking more unique and immersive travel experiences. This may lead some people to opt for alternative types of travel, such as backpacking, voluntourism, or ecotourism, rather than cruising. However, the industry has already swiveled to offer unique and immersive off-ship excursions, such as cultural experiences and adventure tours that attract younger travelers who are looking to explore new destinations and have a memorable experience. With cruise ships now promoting facilities such as vegan dining, go-kart tracks, wellness programs, ice skating, sushi making, and wine tasting, activities on board are a major market for attracting a younger audience. Older generations might scoff at these amenities, but whoever you are, having more activities to choose from is beneficial.   

These types of activities do create a wholesome photo opportunity for Instagram and other forms of social media and it would be foolish not to consider the impact of social media on travel. Younger generations are often more influenced by social media when making travel decisions, and the rise of Instagram-friendly travel experiences may help to increase interest in cruise ships among this demographic. Older folk might ridicule influencers, but cruise ship influencers are a factor in ensuring cruising remains a popular holiday selection.

Another final factor to consider is the growing concern about environmental sustainability and the impact of cruising on the environment. Younger generations are often more environmentally conscious and may be less interested in cruise ships if they believe that the industry is not doing enough to reduce its environmental footprint.

There are many reasons to believe that cruise ships will continue to be popular with younger generations in the future, especially as the industry continues to evolve and adapt to changing travel preferences.

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