Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Not just for oldies: Why there’s a new group cruising the seas

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun12,2024
For young Australians, holidays often involve booking an overseas flight, loading up a backpack, and staying in cheap hostels while traipsing through a foreign country.
But with a high cost of living and , more young adults are turning to a different type of holiday.
Tiarna Georghiou first went on a cruise as a young child with her family. But now at 21, she has started going on cruises with friends.
She believes affordability is a key factor in cruises becoming more popular among her age group.
“They are such great value because included in your ticket is all of your food, the accommodation and endless entertainment … you can do as much or as little as you want,” she said.

“I think cruises are definitely becoming more popular amongst my age group; I know with lots of my friends, everyone is starting to consider them for holidays.”

Young woman dressed up on a cruise ship

Tiarna Georghiou says cruises are an affordable and easy holiday option for young Australians. Source: Supplied / Tiarna Georghiou

She said while some people her age view cruises as a holiday for “older people”, others are looking at them in a new light.

“I think that perception is definitely changing,” she said.

“With social media also, all of the new features that are on ships now, like water slides and the different parties and all of that sort of thing … it’s definitely making young people look at cruises in a different light.”

Demand surging and changing demographics

Tiarna and her friends are not the only young people turning to cruises for their holidays.
Between 2019 and 2023, the number of 18 to 35-year-olds embarking on P&O Cruises Australia rose from 78,000 to 92,000 — an increase of approximately 17 per cent, according to parent company Carnival Australia.
According to figures from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), 34 per cent of Australian cruise passengers were under 40 in 2023 (up from 29 per cent in 2019) and the typical age of cruisers also started to drop.

In 2019, the average age of an Australian cruise passenger was 50, but in 2023, it was 48.

CLIA’s 2024 State of the Industry report found younger generations globally are likely to continue cruising in the future, with 81 per cent of millennials and 74 per cent of Gen Zs reporting they plan to cruise again.
Luke Callaghan is only 25 years old, but he estimates he has been on 30 cruises.
He regularly posts about cruises and travel deals on his TikTok and Instagram accounts SavvyNotStingy, and said he noticed more young people becoming interested in cruises after COVID-19 restrictions eased.
“Especially since COVID, airfares have been skyrocketing and I think cruising was sort of the only thing that stayed or dropped in price,” he said.

“Cruise lines were looking for cabins to fill and so they were dropping prices and that was something that young people were attracted to.”

A young man on a cruise ship looking out over the ocean

Luke Callaghan said he has noticed an increase in young people going on cruises. Source: Supplied / Luke Callaghan

While Callaghan is not a travel agent, he said he has noticed some cruise lines tend to cater for different demographics.

Gavin Smith, vice president and managing director Australia and New Zealand of cruise operator Royal Caribbean, said millennial and Gen Z passengers, as well as young families, are increasingly opting for cruises as a cost-effective option.
“Australians are looking for value and ease when it comes to holidays as cost of living pressures are making people be more travel savvy,” he said.
“We’re anticipating the next season will bring high-level growth led by younger guests.”
He said the company had also increased its offering of activities targeting younger demographics, including entertainment productions, spas and fitness centres, an indoor skydiving simulator, a surf simulator and rock climbing.
Joel Katz, managing director of CLIA Australasia, said cruise packages also make holiday planning easier for travellers on a budget.

He said young adults today are seeking “unique travel experiences”, and that the rise of themed cruises caters to their interests.

Cruise popularity passes pre-pandemic level

It’s not just millennial and Gen Z travellers taking to cruises in record numbers.
Since , cruising has made a strong comeback, with the number of travellers now surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
In 2019, before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, 1.24 million Australians took an ocean cruise, according to CLIA.

In 2023, that number rose to 1.25 million people.

A large white cruise ship at a port

Cruises have been increasing in popularity, particularly amongst younger demographics. Source: AAP / Sipa USA

Worldwide, a record 31.7 million people took an ocean cruise, up from the 2019 record of 29.7 million.

Royal Caribbean is now recruiting workers around the world to keep up with the surging demand, with the company confirming it will hire around 10,000 people this year, Reuters reported.

While this is welcome news for the industry — and travellers — some researchers have expressed concern over the environmental impacts of cruising.
A December 2021 report in the Marine Pollution Bulletin noted cruising “remains a major source of air, water (fresh and marine) and land pollution affecting fragile habitats, areas and species, and a potential source of physical and mental human health risks”.
Researchers described cruising as a “major source of environmental pollution and degradation”, and said the industry should be held accountable.
In January, CLIA told SBS News it was working to reach zero emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris agreement and International Maritime Organization.
“An enormous amount of progress is being made in this area and cruise lines continue to invest billions of dollars in new ships, new technologies and new fuels in pursuit of their goals,”
Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Not just for oldies: Why there’s a new group cruising the seas”
  1. I completely agree with Tiarna Georghiou’s opinion on cruises. As a young adult, I also find cruises to be a great value for money. The all-inclusive nature of cruises makes them a convenient and affordable holiday option, allowing for both relaxation and entertainment. The perception of cruises being for older people is definitely shifting, especially with the modern amenities and features on board. I believe cruises are a fantastic choice for young Australians looking for a hassle-free vacation.

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