The latest trends in cruise ship bookings
Since the COVID-19 crisis was declared a global pandemic and social distancing became the norm, the cruise has returned almost three years after it was shut down. Many aspects have remained the same, but some things have changed, at least when it comes to what passengers want from their cruise ship experience in 2023.
In its CruiseTrends report for February 2023, Cruise ship reveals the most desired cruise lines, ships, destinations, ports, cabin types, itinerary lengths, and more across three segments, including premium, luxury, and river cruises. Over 25,000 cruise deals are searched by consumers on CruiseCompete each month, which paints a clear picture of what travelers are looking for this winter.
Here are a dozen notable booking trends to be aware of this wave season.
The most popular cruise lines
Royal Caribbean International continues to be the most popular premium cruise line, followed by Royal Caribbean Group subsidiary Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. In the luxury segment, Oceania Cruises leads the way, highlighting Azamara and Cunard Line. As for river cruises, Viking is currently the most famous line, followed by AmaWaterways and American Cruise Lines.
The hottest cruise ships
Royal Caribbean International’s popularity among premium cruise travelers is reflected in this winter’s list of the best cruise ships in the segment, which includes Wonder of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, and Allure of the Seas. In the luxury market, Cunard’s Queen Marie 2 is generating the most interest, as Azamara Onward, and half a dozen other Oceania Cruises ships led by Oceania Riviera. Meanwhile, the most popular river cruise ships are American Queen, Scenic Spirit, and AmaDara.
The most sought-after cruising regions
When it comes to the most popular cruise regions right now, it all depends on the type of cruise, with the Caribbean being the hottest region among premium cruise travelers, luxury travelers looking to the Mediterranean, and river cruisers wanting to explore Europe more than any other region. Nonetheless, North America is the second most sought-after region in all three segments.
The best ports to go on a cruise
South Florida and Europe dominate the list of the most popular cruise ports this February, with Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral in first, second, and third places in the premium market, and Miami at the top among luxury travelers. Luxury travelers prefer Southampton, UK, and Piraeus (Athens, Greece). Meanwhile, river cruise passengers would like to set sail from Amsterdam, Budapest, or Paris, the data shows.
Most popular cruise ports
In terms of cruise ports visited, each segment wants something different, with sunny, warm-weather destinations dominating the premium market, and Alaska leading the way in luxury and European charm that captures the attention of river cruise passengers. Cozumel, Nassau, and Kokokay top the premium list, while Ketchikan and Juneau, Alaska, rank first and second in the luxury ranking ahead of Santorini. The most preferred ports for river cruises are Strasbourg, Cologne, and Budapest.
Cruise passengers’ favorite countries
North America and Europe remain hot as the countries cruise passengers most want to visit. The Bahamas, Mexico, and the US lead the premium cruise segment, while the US, Greece, and Italy are the leading countries for luxury travelers. On the world’s rivers, Germany, France, and the Netherlands generate the most buzz.
Most popular itinerary lengths
Seven-night sailings are the most popular length of trip overall. After a one-week cruise, premium passengers are likely to opt for a shorter cruise (five nights) compared to luxury passengers (10 nights) and river cruise passengers (eight nights). Short four-night cruises are also popular with premium cruise passengers, while luxury and river cruise consumers have shown significant interest in sailing for as long as two weeks.
Best sailing months required
Premium cruise passengers are most interested in late winter or early spring sailings, while luxury and river cruise customers are more likely to target the summer months. The leading sailing months sought by premium travelers are March, April, and February 2023, while luxury buyers are looking for June, August, and March 2023, in that order. Finally, travelers looking at a river cruise most often mark their calendars for July, June, and September 2023.