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Tuesday, 31 January, 2017, 10 : 30 AM [IST]


The cruise business is constantly evolving and while some say, it is just making its presence felt in India, the trends indicate a much stronger push. Cruise companies are now waking up to a more inclusive idea of selling their package, especially for the older travellers.

The India cruise market is estimated at 100,000 guests annually and is expected to grow almost three times in the next few years as cruise ships become more accessible and packages turn more affordable to even new customers.

A recent study indicates that younger generations—including millennials and generation X are evincing greater interest in cruise travel and showing a preference over land-based vacations, all-inclusive resorts, tours, vacation house rentals and even camping. Though it might not have translated into concrete bookings yet, the interest promises good times for the cruise business.

An all-inclusive luxury cruise might still be out of bounds for many such millennials and other ‘regular’ customers but customising the experience before paying up-front will still suit many travellers and their budgets. A report states that ‘bundling, or rolling parts of a cruise into prepaid package deals, is becoming increasingly common in how cruises are sold by the lines and purchased by consumers’. For example, including a two-night pre or post-cruise hotel stay, return airfare, an internet package, drink package and similar add-ons, while not directly related to the broader cruise business, encourages many potential customers to check in.

All this is because the ‘older’ ones among the millennials now desire more refined and immersive port experiences – more on the lines of land based hotels but on sea! No wonder some cruise lines are changing their nomenclature and giving up, cruise-centric terms like “cabin” and “stateroom” in favour of more ambiguous terms like ‘accommodation’.

The ‘experience’ factor has become central to any travel or vacation plan. The trend of cruise travel, as it becomes more activity based and clubbed with other packaged offers the right cocktail of ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ that appeals to both the older and younger travellers and cruise companies are factoring it in. For the right experience and package, actually price ceases to be a limiting factor. This is one understanding on which no cruise line is at sea anymore.

Anurag Yadav
Industry Expert

The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not necessarily be endorsed by the publication.
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