Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

When it comes to cruises, travellers tend to look closer to home: study

Proximity seems to be the watchword for cruise preferences as Europeans prefer Mediterranean cruises, while travellers in Turkey are more interested in Black Sea excursions

Published: Jun 13, 2024 10:39:43 AM IST
Updated: Jun 13, 2024 12:23:14 PM IST

The Caribbean is the world's most searched for cruise destination. Image: Shutterstock
The Caribbean is the world's most searched for cruise destination. Image: Shutterstock

At a time when cruising has once again become a popular vacation option for almost 32 million travelers -- setting an all-time record in 2023 -- a study reveals how much cruising aspirations can depend on a vacationer's place of residence.

Recently, MSC Cruises unveiled an expanded itinerary list to offer more travel options from the four US ports where its ships are based. With no fewer than seven ships at its disposal, the cruise giant will hold a record number of sea routes from the USA. Among the must-see stops is Ocean Cay Marine Reserve, MSC's private island in the Bahamas. This is a major asset for the cruise line, which can promise a unique vacation experience that can't be booked anywhere else. Similarly, Royal Caribbean passengers have the opportunity to set foot on the sands of CocoCay, only accessible via a trip with the American-Norwegian company.

Where do global vacationers want to cruise?

It's no coincidence that these two cruise behemoths have treated themselves to private islands in the Bahamas. The Caribbean region is the most coveted destination among cruise passengers, according to a study by the travel insurance company All Clear. Still, this analysis, based on the most searched-for itineraries worldwide according to data collected via Google between April 2023 and March 2024, reveals how not all vacationers dream of the same cruises.

For while the Caribbean is the most coveted cruise destination worldwide, with over 2.8 million searches -- topping the list of over 100 cruising destinations and routes analyzed -- it's routes closer to home that people seem keenest to discover. In other words, contrary to popular belief, air travel to the port of departure may not necessarily weight heavily on a cruise passenger's carbon footprint.

Also read: Time to travel: Upcoming long weekends fuel demand for domestic vacations

It turns out that people in the US and Canada most want to experience a cruise in Alaska, not the Caribbean. Similarly, people in France and Spain prefer Mediterranean cruises, while travelers in Turkey are more interested in Black Sea excursions. River cruises are coveted too, with people in Romania and Slovakia dreaming of cruising the Danube, and Portuguese travelers preferring to stay at home and cruise the Douro. Indeed, proximity seems to be the watchword when it comes to cruise preferences. People in Italy and Austria are especially keen to cruise the Nile River, in Egypt. It's worth noting that even the Parisian river cruises on the Seine are popular, particularly with travelers in Ireland and... India -- the exception that proves the rule!

The top 10 most searched for cruises worldwide (number of Google searches between April 2023 and March 2024):

1. Caribbean cruise (2,824,180)

2. Mediterranean cruise (2,146,670)

3. Alaska cruise (1,804,940)

4. Nile River cruise (1,025,830)

5. Antarctica cruise (969,670)

6. Seine River cruise (695,040)

7. Norwegian Fjords cruise (674,230)

8. Danube River cruise (548,840)

9. Mississippi River cruise (462,580)

10. Hawaii cruise (454,670)