One of the reasons that cruising is so popular is flexibility. Passengers get a wide latitude in choosing the type of sailing that works best for them. And in many ways, cruise ship companies have self-selected their travelers, too. For example, Disney naturally has a strong pull on families, with character-oriented activities and themes, while clientele of Viking Cruises typically skews toward older passengers traveling without young kids and seeking new experiences
It’s Official for Viking Cruises
As of August 1, passengers on Viking cruises must be at least 18 years old. It seems that this was common in practice if not in policy, before now. The company says this formal change was made in response to customer feedback, but that in reality it’s not a huge shift for them. In a statement, Viking described itself as being well-matched to travelers over age 50 with a passion for exploration and a strong interest in learning more about the humanities while visiting ports of call, with excursions and activities centered around things like art, history, and local culture. The statement also pointed out this is merely a “clarification” more than an actual change in policy.
What this Means for Cruise Ship Travelers
For some travelers (and as with everything in life), this will definitely be a pro, and for others, a con. But the demographics of cruise ship travelers might surprise you. According to the Cruise Lines International Association’s Cruise Travel Report (January 2017), the oldest cruise ship travelers (born 1917-1947) say that activities for kids and families play a big role in their choice to vacation by cruise; more than 40% of North American cruise ship travelers have children under 18 as part of their group. And among those surveyed (an even split of cruisers and non-cruisers), about three-quarters say cruises are better than land vacations for “having good activities for children”.
For many cruise ship travelers with children, a Viking cruise likely Isn’t going to be on their short-list of possible bookings. Viking is right in that they have a strong niche and this policy clarification further cultivates that, a highly strategic decision on their part. The great thing about the cruise ship industry is that there really is room for everyone, at every stage of family life. And while a Viking cruise might not be right for a family now, it’s great that cruise ship fans have a new cruising adventure awaiting them when the children are grown. Everyone needs something to look forward to!