The efforts of the cruise industry to attract Millennials – roughly those born between 1980 and 2000 - on board ships appear to face stiff headwinds, figures released by CLIA Europe suggest.
Meanwhile, CLIA UK & Ireland figures show that in 2017, the only age category in which the passenger count increased was those over the age of 70.
The average age of cruise passengers from the UK was 56 years in 2017, the highest among major European markets. The corresponding figure in Germany was 50 years, while it was lowest in Italy, at 42 years, CLIA Europe said.
CLIA UK & Ireland figures show that the average age of British cruise passengers was 55.4 years in 2016 and 56.2 years in the previous year. In a review period that started in 2005, the figure hit a high at 58.2 years in 2014 and a low at 53.2 years in 2007.
CLIA Europe noted that the average length of cruises booked by British passengers was also the highest among major European source markets, 10.4 nights compared to just under nine in Germany and about 7 in Italy.
Older people tend to book longer cruises, which according to CLIA Europe explains the high average age of British passengers.
Meanwhile, CLIA UK & Ireland figures show that 17% of the British cruise passengers were aged up to 44 years in 2016, a drop of one percentage point on the previous year. The figure hit a low at 14% in 2014 and it has not exceeded one fifth of the total passenger count since 2011, when the figure stood at 22%.
In the 2005-11 period, the figure dropped below the 20% threshold only once, in 2009 when it hit 19%, while in both 2005 and 2006 it had hit the high of the review period, at 24%.
In the 2018 Cruise Report, CLIA UK & Ireland changed the way it looks at the composition of passengers numbers in terms of their age and the age brackets it is using in the latest report differ from those it used in the previous years.
The fresh figures show the in the up to 12 year age group, the number of passengers fell by 5.0% to 53,000, in the 13 to 19 year range the fall was 8.1% to 47,000 while those aged 20 to 29 numbered 63,000, which was 2.7% fewer than in 2016.
In the 30 to 39 year age category the passenger count also fell by 2.7% and came to 77,000, while those aged 40 to 49 numbered 143,000, a fall of 9.1% and the sharpest fall in any age category. The lines carried 298,000 passengers aged 50 to 59 last year, a decrease of 5.8% on 2016 and 384,000 passengers that were aged 60 to 69, marking a fall of 7.0%.
The only increase took place in the 70 year old plus age category, with 342,000 passengers in 2017, an increase of 3.9% year on.