Today, Travel Leaders Group released its travel survey data specific to the cruise industry, which together with real-time current booking data indicates increased demand among leisure travelers for cruise vacations in 2017.
Nearly 87% of travel agent experts who book cruise vacations stated that their 2017 cruise bookings are equal to or higher than the previous year, and more than 84% of those surveyed said their Mediterranean cruise bookings have increased or on are par, year-over-year. Actual booking data corroborates the survey results with year-over-year increases of eight percent or more charted for key cruise segments.
According to the survey results, Western Caribbean cruises are the most popular itinerary being booked, followed by Alaska cruises, Eastern Caribbean cruises, European river cruises and Mediterranean cruises, respectively. This survey data is based on responses from 1,062 Travel Leaders Group travel agent experts who book cruise vacations for their clientele.
“Cruise bookings for 2017 have been on the upswing since last year, and a substantial percentage of our travel agents’ leisure bookings are in this crucial segment. In fact, our latest data show a 10 percent increase in year-over-year revenue for luxury cruise bookings, and premium cruise bookings are trending higher by eight percent,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko. “Our travel agents are continuously educating themselves – by firsthand experience and in-depth supplier training – to ensure they’re matching the right cruise line, ship and itinerary with each individual client’s expressed needs. While it requires a significant investment of their time, the benefit is how they have established themselves as trusted resources for creating the ideal getaways for their clients.”
Based on Travel Leaders Group’s 2017 Travel Trends Survey, these are the top cruise itineraries being booked by its travel agents specializing in cruises:
1 Caribbean – Western
3 Caribbean – Eastern
4 Europe – River Cruise
5 Europe – Mediterranean
6 Caribbean – Southern
7 Panama Canal
8 (tie) Mexican Riviera
8 (tie) Hawaii
10 Europe – Baltic
“The allure of a Caribbean cruise is undeniable for millions of Americans. However, what’s truly impressive is the tremendous growth, over the past 24 months, in Alaska cruises. Consumer demand has been nothing short of phenomenal,” said John Lovell, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group. “Within Travel Leaders Network, we have nearly 850 travel agents who are specialists in Alaska cruises alone. Their expertise, coupled with cruise lines keeping up with the increased demand by deploying more ships, has allowed a record number of travelers to experience the breathtaking wonder of ‘The Last Frontier.'”
Overall Year-Over-Year Cruise Bookings:
When asked to compare their overall 2017 cruise bookings to the same time one year ago, 86.4% of survey respondents stated bookings were higher than or the same as the year before (44.7% said “Higher” while 41.7% stated “They’re even”).
Mediterranean Cruise Bookings:
Specifically related to 2017 Mediterranean cruise bookings, 84.5% of those polled indicated their bookings were even or higher than the previous year (39.8% said “Higher” while 44.7% stated “They’re even”).
Also, Travel Leaders Group travel agents who book Mediterranean cruises were asked to identify the top itineraries their clients are selecting for Mediterranean cruises this year. Those polled could select up to three itineraries, and the top responses included:
1 Barcelona to Rome 25.4%
2 Barcelona Roundtrip 25.1%
3 Rome Roundtrip 21.9%
4 Rome to Barcelona 14.2%
5 Rome to Venice 13.1%
European River Cruises:
When Travel Leaders Group travel agents were asked to compare their overall European river cruise bookings, 78.2% stated they were on par with or higher than the previous year (34.3% said “Higher” while 43.9% stated “They’re even”).