by Jeff Bollig –
It used to be unthinkable.
Pairing young, active adults who like adventure, are tethered to technology and enjoy the night-life with a week on a cruise ship. Talk about the potential for mutiny. But such is no longer the case.
Today, that demographic of 21-45 year olds –yes, millennials — are not only the target of the cruise industry, but are flocking to the ships like never before. They are being met with high speed internet service, adventure opportunities (skydiving, ziplines, excursions) and expanded entertainment options (dance clubs, drink packages, casinos, technology, mixology classes). Furthermore, areas of the ships are being redesigned with sleeker looks that are more attractive and aligned with the mood of the younger crowd.
“We all know what the stereotype of cruising was for the millennial,” Acendas Travel Vacation Manager JoAnne Weeks says. “Stodgy, laying on a lounge all day, shuffleboard for excitement and so on. Not anymore. The ship is now the destination in itself and in many regards your floating resort at sea.”
For Royal Caribbean, that means throwing out the cookie cutters and offering customized options and opportunities for the travelers. That includes the connectivity through Voom and OC3, a ultra-high speed internet that is satellite based. Additional activities include social media happy hours, contests and social sharing of experiences. Also, options for streaming of Netflix and Xbox gaming are available, with the provision of gaming arcades as well. In addition, if travelers do not bring their own devices, there are stations available for use. Dining has changed and become more flexible with multiple choices and less constraints. Other cruise lines are offering similar amenities and options.
“This evolution has been up and coming the past few years, and in the last year the consumer who fits this demographic is trending positively in terms of the number who see a cruise as a desirable option,” Weeks said. “That is good news because I think cruising is one of the best experiences a person can enjoy. I am a baby-boomer and have cruised my entire life — more than 100 times. But I can understand that people do not want to be in an environment that is not conducive to what they enjoy. Now they have that opportunity. Cruising offers something for everyone.”