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Convenience, hefty stay-over spend in Port Everglades' cruiser survey

Port Everglades' more than 3.6m passenger moves forecast in the coming 2023/24 cruise season at least equals the 3.6m in 2015, 'So we can confidently say cruising is back,' Port Director Jonathan Daniels said
'Ease of sailing' from Port Everglades emerged as a key factor among cruisers in a 2022/23 study, while Fort Lauderdale's appeal played in, too, and the average party of stay-over travelers spent an average of $812 per day.

The study surveyed more than 7,000 travelers on six cruise lines and one ferry company.

Ninety-four percent listed 'ease of sailing' from Port Everglades as 'excellent' or 'good.'

Drive market increases

The majority (53%) of domestic cruisers reside in the US Southeast, 15% higher than in a 2015 survey and indicating a higher drive market. In the 2022/23 study, 26% of cruisers drove their own vehicles to the port and 35% took a taxi or ride share. In 2015, 18% drove their own vehicle and 30% took a taxi to the port.

Canadians account for 57% of the port's international guests.

Some 56% of those surveyed had cruised from Port Everglades in the past.

As their main consideration for booking a cruise, 42% listed the destination (mainly Caribbean), 28% chose based on the cruise line and 26% ranked cost as their primary factor.

Thirty-five percent said the Fort Lauderdale area was a high factor in determining their cruise vacation choice.

Pre-/post-cruise hotel stays

Some 34% stayed in a hotel for at least one night pre-cruise, compared to 51% who participated in the 2015 survey. Conversely, 24% of the respondents in 2022/23 said they came to Port Everglades directly from their homes, compared to 18% in 2015. This may reflect the availability of shorter cruises, which could attract a higher drive market.

In the 2022/23 survey, of those staying in a hotel pre-cruise, 66% spent one night and 31% two to four nights. Of those who stayed in a hotel after their cruise, 50% spent one night and 44% two to four nights.

Some 53% of those surveyed intended to visit Florida destinations after their cruise, including 20% who stayed in the Fort Lauderdale area.

Of the 22% of cruisers who came to Port Everglades directly from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, 70% said they chose FLL because it is close to the port.

$812 spending per day, per party

Each day visiting South Florida, the average cruise party (3.7 people) surveyed spent a total of $812 per day on average, including $288 on lodging, $134 on food and beverages and $450 for other expenses such as tours, entertainment, transportation and gifts.

Lines participating in the survey included Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Silversea and Viking. The Baleária Caribbean ferry also took part.

'We really want to know how we can improve the guest experience, and also how the port impacts the economic well-being of Broward County,' Port Everglades CEO and Port Director Jonathan Daniels said.

Cruise numbers exceed forecast

He added the port was concerned about the survey's timing since the 2022/23 season was still a recovery period for the cruise industry. But now 3m passenger movements are anticipated, compared to the 1.9m budgeted for this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

With more than 3.6m passenger moves forecast in the coming 2023/24 cruise season, that at least equals the 3.6m in 2015, 'So we can confidently say cruising is back,' Daniels added.

Moffatt & Nichol and Dickey Consulting Services surveyed 7,186 passengers during 20 days at peak and non-peak times from December 2022 through March 2023. In March 2015, Dickey Consulting Services conducted a similar study of 1,800 passengers on eight days during spring break.