Cruise holidays are widening their appeal and attracting younger passengers, according to the boss of Cosmos Tours and Cruises.
Chief executive Giles Hawke was speaking to the BBC this morning as Clia released new figures showing that the average age of cruise passengers has fallen to just over 55.
The Clia global figures project 25.3 million ocean cruise passengers in 2017, up by more than one million from an estimated 24.2 million last year and 23.19 million in 2015.
The introduction of new ships and facilities with a focus on a younger and broader market was helping attract more holidaymakers to cruising, according to Hawke.
He was interviewed as Clia revealed that 26 new ocean and river vessels are on order for 2017. The investment is worth more than $6.8 billion on the 13 new ocean ships alone.
Total orders then fall to 17 ships in 2018 and rises again to 22 ships in 2019. The number planned for between 2020-26 totals 32.
This brings the overall total up to 97 ships, including 80 ocean-going, with new capacity of 230,788.
Hawke said ships were now available to appeal to every age and taste, from 6,000-passenger mega ships to smaller five and six-star vessels.
“The diversity of what you can offer is really opening up the market,” said Hawke, a Clia UK and Ireland board member.
He described the 55 age range as “a great age group to be aiming for” due to their available disposable income.
“When people go on a cruise, they say ‘I wish I’d done that years ago’,” Hawke added, saying that formal dress codes have been relaxed by most lines.
The cliche of cruise passengers being “over fed, newly wed and nearly dead” no longer applies any more, Hawke said.
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