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Kids help guide choice of family cruise, driven by ‘kidfluencer’ content

L_R: Adolfo Perez, Susan Robison, Joe Rand, Noah Brodsky and Allison Smith at Seatrade Cruise Global 2023
Young people are showing an increasing interest in their cruise holiday – often motivated by 'kidfluencer' content – which is driving the buying decisions of their families.

‘Kids are seeing so much – whether it's on social media or on television – that they have an opinion about what they want to do and what seems like fun to them. That is something really important in driving the buying decision for the family,’ stated Adolfo Perez, SVP, global sales and trade marketing, Carnival Cruise Line.

Susan Robison, GM, sales and marketing, Paul Gauguin Cruises, agreed on the importance of kidfluencing, adding, ‘We see Instagram and Pinterest is the inspiration…but then Facebook [and] private groups really drive a lot of the buying.’

The remarks came during Wednesday's ‘Family Cruising: Marketing to Family and Multigenerational Travelers’ panel at Seatrade Cruise Global moderated by Nancy Schretter, president, Beacon Group Holdings.


Allison Smith, VP integrated marketing, MSC Cruises, revealed that the line is investing heavily in social media, as families today seek to determine what activities to do during their cruise prior to boarding the ship. ‘Kidfluence is a big thing and that's the reason we are putting out tonnes of content on TikTok, because we want to get our product offering in front of the kids... the more we post, the more chance we have of potentially going viral.’


Joe Rand, VP marketing and distribution strategy, Disney Cruise Line said ‘planning is a team sport and kids have a huge role.’ He said ‘trusted voices are more critical than ever,’ in describing kids’ confidence in what they see on social media, as long as the information comes from a source they have confidence in.

He went on to emphasise the importance of inclusivity, highlighting the line’s partnership with KultureCity – a nonprofit committed to supporting those with invisible disabilities – and its provision of noise blocking headphones for children with autism suffering from sensitivity to noise.

Food, entertainment and value for money

Perez emphasised the importance of multigenerational experiences, such as the Family Feud game show onboard Mardi Gras, food options that appeal to youngsters and suitable design choices, including the Family Harbour state rooms ‘specifically designed for families’ or the Family Harbour Lounge, where families can breakfast without needing to go to the dining room.

On the need for value for money, he explained that Carnival has 14 different homeports in the US, with two more on the way, meaning cost savings for families in getting to the port: ‘About 50% of the US population lives within a five-hour driving distance to one of our home ports,’ he said.

Destinations remain key

The destination and educational experiences remain the focus at Paul Gauguin and Lindblad Expeditions.

'We're certainly not a something for everything brand,’ stated Noah Brodsky, CCO, Lindblad Expeditions. He said families prioritise the destination, while seeking ‘authenticity, expertise and a sterling safety record.’

Lindblad’s emphasis remains on science when it comes to children’s activities, with its National Geographic programme enabling kids to carry out citizen science work or learn how to operate a Zodiac. He said the focus on environmentalism and bringing home knowledge to ‘change the future' is a theme that 'really resonates with the younger generation.’

Paul Gauguin offers activities for children in connection with Te mana o te moana, a South Pacific marine education and conservation foundation in French Polynesia for children aged five to 17 years old. ‘There's all sorts of science experiments, as well as learning about the ecosystem, learning about sea turtles..’ She similarly observed that, for the line, the ‘wow’ for families was in the destination itself.