More young people cruising

(9:10 a.m. BST) -- More young people are considering going on a cruise in the next 12 months compared to last year, according to ABTA's latest Holiday Habits report.

The report found 12 percent of 18-34 year olds are considering taking a cruise in the next 12 months --compared to 11 percent of 18-24 year olds and nine percent of 25-34 year olds in 2017.

The report also asked 18-24 year olds if they would be interested in taking a cruise at some point and 53 percent replied positively -- three percent up on last year. In terms of all age groups, 58 percent said they would be interested in taking a cruise.

Victoria Bacon, ABTA's Director of Brand and Business Development, said: "The cruise industry is adapting to the changing demographics and demands of holidaymakers. Young people are showing a significant interest in cruise holidays and companies are investing in tech upgrades to appeal to this next generation of holidaymakers, with many capitalising on new technology and fast Wi-Fi across their fleets."

Cruise lines have been making a strong play to attract a younger demographic, with U by Uniworld launching two river ships last year aimed squarely at millennials.

In terms of the overall holiday market, eight percent of respondents have been on a cruise in the past 12 months, which is up one percent from last year. The overall figure is the same as that of 18-24-year-olds, with 12 percent considering going on a cruise in the next 12 months.

Same as last year, three quarters of people are yet to go on a cruise holiday, with 39 percent of respondents saying they have not been on a cruise but are interested. Among people who have been on a cruise, people aged 65 and over are most likely to want to go on another one (29 percent).

In terms of what people rate on a cruise, the quality of the food and drink available tops the list at 78 percent; with the chance to see multiple destinations at 76 percent most -- these two options have switched around since 2017. Quality of accommodation is another element people value (64 percent) -- and the most popular reason cited by the youngest age groups (18-34). Fifty-one percent of people said they valued itineraries when on a cruise.

"Onboard preferences are changing, too, with the quality of food and drink now the number one priority, and many companies are reflecting this by offering menus curated by Michelin star chefs and wider ranges of cuisine to cater to evolving tastes," added Bacon.

--by Adam Coulter, Managing Editor, U.K.