CLIA: Diversity of offerings by cruise ships makes big difference


More choice in restaurant styles, water sports, adventure tours, Broadway shows, kids-free zones — the diversity of offerings by cruise ships makes a big difference to today’s cruise vacationer, according to a new survey of travel agents by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). S

hipboard lifestyles and choice of shore excursions play important roles when consumers choose a cruise, and cruise lines are doing a good job providing what their customers want. The representative survey conducted earlier this month asked CLIA-member agents to evaluate the importance, according to their knowledge of client preferences, of dining experiences, spa and wellness opportunities, shipboard entertainment, accommodations, and shore excursions.

It also asked agents whether cruise lines have made improvements in certain categories and how well cruise experiences compare to those offered in land-based vacations. In choosing a particular cruise vacation, shipboard accommodations, according to the nearly 900 agents who responded to the survey based on their experience with clients, were the most important lifestyle attributes of a cruise, followed by cuisine, entertainment, spa/wellness facilities and programs, and shore excursions. In terms of dining experiences, agents said that almost 75% of clients look for added choices of alternative styles of shipboard restaurants, followed by traditional dining room experiences and more casual “Lido Deck” style dining. They also reported that more clients are requesting heart-healthy cuisine. Workout facilities and adults-only (or kids-free) facilities top the list of spa and wellness interests. Other wellness features in order of importance to clients are saunas and hot tubs, spa services, running tracks and group exercise programs, and beauty salons. Price is the top consideration when vacationers are choosing shipboard accommodations, according to agents, followed, in order, by in-cabin amenities, Wi-Fi, adjoining rooms and branded bedding.

CLIA agents also were asked about other aspects of cruising with the following findings: The fastest growing segments of cruising are multigenerational families, followed by families with children; A casual elegant shipboard ambiance, closely followed by casual atmosphere are the favourites among most travel agents’ clients, with both increasing in popularity; followed by country club, formal or more laid back shipboard atmospheres.