It’s time for another post from me, looking back at those falsities that I had before I started working here about cruise holidays. The second misconception that I had about cruises (read about the first here) was that if I took a cruise, everyone would be older than me and I’d feel weird and, worse, bored. It’s not the case though.
Firstly, the statistics show that the average age of a British cruise passenger is falling. OK, it’s only fallen by a couple of years and yes the average age is 53, but that means for every 73 year old there’s a 33 year old.
A number of cruise lines believe this average age is falling even faster than this statistic, and as such they’ve started shifting a lot more of their focus on families. Family holidays are a huge market and getting younger people on-board is one of the new main aims of cruise lines – if you have a great holiday as a kid on a cruise ship, you’ll want to go back as an adult.
Now I’m 26 going on 16 or 36, depending on my mood. So before I started writing about cruise ships I had that same old idea, that a cruise would be days spent quietly relaxing on deck, eating posh meals and then arriving in port and taking a leisurely stroll around interesting cities.
To you that might sound like heaven. To me though, it sounds like yawn-city. I’m one of those people who can’t just sit or lie there and relax. I can’t sunbathe. I’m an active person. I can’t even sit and watch TV without having my laptop or tablet next to me, browsing football stuff or catching up with friends. Sitting still, being sedate, for me is hell. And that’s what I thought a cruise ship would be.
So why, then, do cruise ships have arcades? Mini golf? Sports facilities? Nightclubs? Waterslides? This isn’t just Disney either, this is most of the mainstream cruise lines these days. You certainly won’t get bored if you make sure you’re on the right ship for you.
By night, I can relax in a karaoke bar, or hit the nightclub to dance the night away. Nightclubs haven’t been my thing for a few years (like I say, 26 going on 36 at times) because they’re so packed, but that’s not going to be an issue on a cruise ship. And then in port? Well yeah I could go for a quiet walking tour. Or I could shoot off on a jet ski, or take an aeroplane tour, or ride a zip line over a jungle (I could, but I wouldn’t. I’d be terrified. What of it?).
The point I’m trying to make is that it’s clear cruise lines are targeting more features at younger travellers. One of the main reasons is the shift in ideology with cruising. Someone once said “if you need to ask how much a cruise costs, you can’t afford it.” That’s not how it works these days. Cruises are much more affordable. So cruise lines are trying to snag us young, get us hooked and then we can keep coming back.
I’m all for it. Now that I’ve seen what’s going on with cruising as an industry, I can’t wait to get on my first cruise ship. I know I’ll have a blast, whether it’s playing in the arcade (26 going on 16 here…), playing a bit of basketball, doing my best impression of dancing in a club or just getting out there and exploring the world. I think this new tactic is going to work, and I’ll bet you a fiver now that the average age will drop 5 years by 2016.
Shake on it?
By Ian Lewis