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New MMGY-CLIA-Travelzoo study delves into what first-time US cruisers want

The new study by MMGY, CLIA and Travelzoo was released during Seatrade Cruise Global
Cruising's perceived value for money has significantly improved among US prospects, who said promotions/discounts would help lure them in, according to a new market study released at Seatrade Cruise Global.

Friends and family are the key sources of information, close-to-home destinations are the most appealing and prospects are willing to pay more for travel services that demonstrate environmental responsibility.

MMGY-CLIA-Travelzoo findings

These are among the findings of 'Shore to Ship: Attracting the Next Wave of Cruisers,' a report by MMGY Travel Intelligence, Cruise Lines International Association and Travelzoo. It was released at Seatrade Cruise Global, where several conference sessions also focused on drawing first-timers.

During the State of the Industry keynote, industry leaders said about a third of cruisers annually are newbies. (The industry carried 31.7m people globally in 2023.)

Perceived value rises

Cruising's perceived value has increased significantly the new study found, while 60% of the respondents said it was a past reason for not booking, whereas only 36% cite it as a current concern.

Friends and family are overwhelmingly the most influential information sources for potential cruisers when researching travel options (58%), while destination websites (34%), travel review websites (29%) and online travel agencies (29%) are the next most popular.

Destinations within close proximity to the US are the most appealing to new-to-cruise Americans. The Caribbean/Bermuda region is most favored at 63%, while Hawaii and Mediterranean destinations followed at 48% and 40%, respectively.

Lacking knowlege of cruise sustainability efforts

A majority of prospective cruisers are willing to pay more for travel services that demonstrate environmental responsibility, reflecting a growing consumer trend toward sustainable travel choices.

Yet potential cruisers are widely unaware of cruise sustainability efforts and do not associate cruising with efforts for cultural sustainability.

What would make cruising more appealing?

When asked what would make cruises more appealing, the top responses were promotions/discounts (52%), information on health and safety standards (39%), extended time to explore destinations (37%) and a variety of destination offerings (36%). 

Relaxation and wellness

Relaxation and wellness are the most appealing attributes of cruising, however prospects' interest grows as they learn of cultural, adventurous and personalized experiences, suggesting opportunities for cruise lines to engage more in these segments.

The study also identified insights regarding health and safety, tailored experiences, technology, traveling solo, the role of travel advisors and more.

More report details are here.


The findings spring from an MMGY Travel Intelligence online survey of 2,000 US residents and 2,000 UK residents (UK results in a separate report) conducted Feb. 12-26. Those polled indicated at least a level 2 interest on a 5-point scale in taking a cruise the next two years. 

UK edition to come

MMGY, CLIA and Travelzoo plan to release a UK edition of their report on April 17.