How Old is the Average Cruise Passenger?


Cruising attracts people from all walks of life. Whether you have a desire to travel the world, see exotic new places, have the freedom of being out at sea, or have a love of ships, the people you’ll meet on board will be as diverse as the destinations you travel to.

It’s often thought that cruise passengers are more mature travellers, but you may be pleased to know it’s quite the contrary. You could find yourself meeting couples on their honeymoon, families with small children, retired couples, and 20-something-year-olds travelling with their friends.

Although impossible to entirely predict who exactly you’ll meet onboard, we’ve been able to gain some insight into a few of the travellers’ statistics. Find out the average age of cruise passenger, and how our parent company, Dreamlines, compete against industry averages.

According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Global Passenger Report, the average age of cruise passenger was 46.7 years old – holding steady from the previous two years. However, 40 to 49-year-olds make up only 15% of all cruise passengers for that year. This is probably due to a handful of families with small children lowering the average age. The median age was between 60 and 69-year-olds, with a full 19% of cruisers falling under this demographic.

Couples on a cruise


Source: CLIA Global Passenger Report 2018

How do Dreamlines passengers compare?

In 2018, 82.6% of people who booked a cruise with Dreamlines were between the ages of 35 and 74. When compared with industry averages, Dreamlines had more guests between the ages of 55 and 64 than any other age range – a full 25.7%. However, Dreamlines’ results have been measured by accounting for the age of the person who booked the cruise, and not for all the passengers under that booking, whereas CLIA accounts for all cruise attendees. Therefore, if you only look at those people booking, and not cruisers, the age is older, and also more concentrated.

Women at sea on a cruise

Source: Dreamlines

The average age of Dreamlines cruisers varies by cruise line. Dreamlines’ most popular booked cruise line, MSC, has an average passenger age in 2018 of 52.1 – about six years older than the industry standard. Among passengers who booked with Dreamlines, TUI and AIDA attracted a slightly older crowd – 58.5 and 54.5, respectively. Norwegian Cruise Line passengers were on average 52.5 years old, and even family-friendly Costa Cruises had an average age of 52.2.

For cruise lines that targetted families with children, the average age was noticeably lower; Carnival had an average age of 44.9, and Royal Caribbean passengers had an average age of 48.8. The cruise lines that attracted the oldest passengers were mostly river cruise lines.

Among major ocean cruise lines, Holland America Line also attracted an older passenger base, with an average age of 64. The luxury brand, Oceania Cruises, had an average age of 64.1. Cunard cruises, however, had an average age of just 60.5 due to its specialisation in traditional cruising. Ultra-luxury brands also catered to an older crowd, with the average age of Seabourn passengers at 66.3 and Regent Seven Seas at 62.4. Silversea Cruises, however, had an average age of just 59.5.

Passenger age varies by destination

Interestingly, passenger age variation doesn’t just differ according to cruise line – it varies by destination as well. According to the CLIA 2018 Global Passenger Report, short and close-to-home cruises are more likely to attract younger passengers, whereas cruises with longer itineraries and exotic destinations tend to attract older cruisers. An exception, though, is Canada and New England cruises, which are close to home for many U.S. cruise passengers and tend to be relatively short, averaging at under ten days, but still, attract an older demographic of cruise passenger.

Transatlantic and world cruises are particularly popular among an older crowd. This is likely because retirees/pensioners have more time to spend on a long cruise. Family-friendly destinations such as the Caribbean, the west coast of North America, Australia and the Mediterranean have the lowest average ages and the shortest average voyage lengths. The rise in popularity of short, close-to-home cruises has made cruising more affordable and accessible than ever, even for families with limited resources – which has resulted in lower average ages for passengers on these itineraries.

friends on a cruise

Source: CLIA Global Passenger Report 2018

So how old is the average cruiser? Who will you be likely to meet on your next cruise? The answer is: it depends. Whilst the average cruiser is in their late 40s, ages range from small children,  travelling with their parents to retirees in their 60s, 70s, or even 80s! On high-energy, family-friendly cruise lines, which are shorter and have close-to-home itineraries, you’re more likely to find a younger crowd. Transatlantic and world cruises (especially travelling to exotic places with longer itineraries) will host more passengers among baby boomers and even members of the Silent Generation ages.

Even if you’re surrounded by people outside of your own age range whilst travelling on your cruise, that’s no reason to be nervous; cruising is a great way to meet new people – especially those who you’d have seldom met otherwise! You never know, you might end up having more in common than you think! So go on, give it a chance – you might make a friend for life!



About Author

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Darcy is a writer and blogger, with a passion for travel. When she's not exploring somewhere new, or writing about her experiences, you'll most likely find her on the field-hockey pitch, or indulging in a good book!

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