More than 59,000 people have booked cruises through AAA Northeast within the past five years, mirroring industry figures that say cruising is on the rise.
About 32 million travelers are expected to take to the seas in 2020, according to Cruise Lines International Association, up from 30 million in 2019. All told, cruising is estimated to pump more than $150 billion into the global economy.
Local Cruisers Like It Hot – and Cold
Cruisers who book with AAA Northeast generally opt for warmer climes: The majority, 19,265, sailed to the Caribbean, the land of crystalline seas and soft sand beaches. The second-most popular locale, Bermuda, saw 11,754 cruising visitors, while 6,285 visited the Bahamas.
But local cruisers didn’t mind getting a little chilly: More than 4,100 people booked Alaska cruises between 2014-2019.
No matter the weather, people who book cruises with AAA Northeast have years of experience behind them, thanks to AAA Travel agents who are always looking out for the best deals.
“AAA Travel is great one-stop shopping for cruising,” said Kate McGowan, travel product manager at AAA Northeast. “AAA members have such an advantage booking with us – we will book the best deals in the cruise market and stack any applicable AAA benefits on top of those deals.”
Book, Cruise, Repeat
People who love to cruise really love to cruise. About 82% of folks who cruise are likely to book a cruise for the next vacation, according to CLIA’s 2020 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook.
Similarly, cruisers who book with AAA Northeast tend to Fstay with their favorite cruise provider. Some of the more popular lines at AAA Northeast include Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America, Carnival Cruise Line, Viking River Cruises and Disney Cruise Line.
Even people who might not have considered cruise vacations before are hopping on board. More than 66% of millennials and Generation X have a more positive attitude about cruising than just a few years ago, CLIA found.
Cruise lines are doing more to welcome travelers of different demographics as well. To appeal to solo cruisers, many lines have done away with single supplements and have added single rooms, solo-friendly lounges and single-friendly activities.
To satisfy guests who prefer quick getaways, more and more cruise lines are offering three-to-five-day micro-cruises, with a wide range of destinations and itineraries. Look for more lines to offer pre- and post-cruise packages as well: More than 65 percent of cruise passengers spend extra days at the home or debarkation ports, according to CLIA.
Do the Wave
We’re now entering “Wave Season,” the period of January through March where travel agents typically book the most cruises. (Maybe it has something to do with folks dreaming of escaping winter’s clutches with a trip to somewhere tropical and warm?) It’s the best time to work with a AAA Travel agent to help you book a cruise and look for deals, upgrades and onboard credits.
For a seasoned cruiser, wave season may be the right time to explore booking a longer itinerary, or a region that they have not yet visited. For a Caribbean cruise expert looking for a new adventure, the cost of a 14-day Mediterranean cruise, with added discounts and incentives, may be more enticing and reachable this time of year.
With a sea of opportunity, hundreds of itineraries and dozens of promotions, it may feel overwhelming. Members may be left wondering if they’ve truly found the most vacation for their dollar. Add to that the fact that 2020 will see 278 ocean cruise line ships in operation; it’s no wonder the average travel might feel a little, well, adrift.
“With AAA Travel, members have exclusive offers across various cruise lines. There truly is no wrong time to book a cruise,” said Jeremy Miville, digital marketing manager of travel at AAA Northeast. “Wave season allows members access to even bigger promotions, often including room upgrades, deeper onboard credits, discounted add-ons, dining upgrades, spa packages and more. Visitors to our website will see available itineraries and special offers across all cruise lines, and our travel agents are here to help members find their dream vacation.”
Check out these cruising trends for 2020.
Looking forward to joining the millions worldwide who have discovered the joy of cruising? Visit AAA.com/Cruises.