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Setting Sail With Cruise Bookings on TravelMuse

TravelMuse has added the ability to book cruises on our site, so we’re kicking off this new feature with a special cruise issue.

 

When I was a kid, taking a cruise vacation was something that only older, retired couples did. All the people I knew who ventured on ships to explore the Caribbean, Mexico or the Mediterranean back then were all over the age of 60.

Today, it’s a very different cruising world.

Travelers of all ages have discovered the benefits of cruising: all-inclusive pricing (for the most part), organized activities, kids clubs and babysitting, a variety of destination stops, and more. Ships also now offer more flexibility with their dining and excursion options, and well-developed kids clubs, along with a bevy of cool activities, from climbing walls and surf riders for kids to demo kitchens and spas for adults. Some lines now even offer onboard chiropractic and acupuncture services!

According to the 2008 Cruise Market Profile Study issued on Wednesday by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA):

  • 33.7 million consumers—including 77 percent of past cruise vacationers and 55 percent of vacationers who have yet to take a cruise—expressed interest in doing so within the next three years;
  • the median age of cruisers is 46 years old, down from 49 in 2006;
  • the Caribbean remains the top destination choice for 43 percent of those travelers, with Alaska, Hawaii and Europe next in line.

The family cruise market in particular has been booming.

The CLIA survey also reports that family cruise travel has steadily grown from 13 percent in 2002 to 25 percent in 2008. To meet this demand, many cruise lines have invested heavily in making their ships more appealing to the needs of kids and parents alike. Disney has offered cruises for a few years, and kid-focused company Nickelodeon is jumping into the fray with its first-ever family cruise, in partnership with Royal Caribbean, setting sail Aug. 10.

“Disney is building two new ships to capture a larger share of this business and to compete with lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, which have been marketing themselves heavily as a family experience and have created children’s programs to compete with Disney’s,” says Josh Kahn, spokesperson for eCruises.com. “It’s an increasingly lucrative segment of the market.”

Online cruise bookings are up too.

Traditionally, this segment of the market has not been as quick to purchase their cruise vacations online compared to consumers of other travel services, such as air, hotel and car, but that’s changing. “We have seen a continued shift to online bookings—26 percent this year, compared to 23 percent last year,” adds Kahn.

TravelMuse is joining in too and has recently added the ability to purchase your cruise holidays on our site. We offer 17 different cruise line providers, and hope you’ll be able to find an itinerary to match your vacation needs.

To help you in your planning, we had a few of our contributors who are cruise experts share their tips for planning a cruise vacation. Debbie Hardin penned our family cruise primer, how to plan a multigenerational cruise and Mexico cruise articles. Previously, she shared her cruise packing tips. John Frenaye shares his tips for first-time cruisers with what they need to know before, during and after booking their cruise. Kim Foley MacKinnon writes about her family’s first cruise (as well as our Offbeat column on Club Med’s Rio das Pedras in Brazil), and TravelMuse photo editor Ashleigh Nushawg shares her memories of annual family cruises while growing up. We also included a special cruise-focused Travel Deals column.

This week we also feature our top tips for how to save money on your vacation from our CEO Kevin Fliess, a look at all-inclusive travel, six family surf camps around the world by Ben Chapman, a College Visits column on rural vs. urban campuses and a Products column on sun-protective clothing.

Before signing off, I want to remind you that there’s still time to register on our site for a chance to win a $1,000 travel voucher, good for purchases at TravelMuse.com. Just click on the Join TravelMuse button on the menu bar and sign up. Who knows, you might be the lucky winner and use it to purchase your first cruise vacation!

Happy travels!

Donna M. Airoldi
Editorial Director

p.s. Next week: London.


Themes: Family Travel, Cruises


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