Almost three quarters (71%) of people use online channels to research cruise holidays.
However, more than two thirds (69%) of those surveyed by independent cruise retailer Reader Offers still find their cruise inspiration from newspapers and printed travel articles.
Destination is the most important factor when choosing a cruise, irrespective of the age of passenger.
Yet older cruisers are more loyal to cruise lines, with 58% of those aged 71 and over indentifying the cruise company as the second most important factor when booking a cruise.
Only 18% of the more than 700 people polled said they would book a cruise based on the best price available, irrespective of cruise line.
However, whilst cost is least important to the oldest respondents, it becomes more important for the younger age brackets – 65% of 44-54 year olds see price to be very important compared to just 52% of 71 and overs.
Despite this, when asked if they could choose one benefit to always be included when booking a cruise, 46% of all respondents marked money off as the most desirable factor, followed by free cabin upgrades (23%) and free on board spend (15%).
The survey data suggests that cruisers are just as budget conscious when it comes to spending on board as 38% of all respondents said they budget less than £50 per person per day.
Those aged 55 to 64 are most likely to spend more, with 26% of them budgeting around £100 per person per day compared to just 14% of 71 and overs prepared to allocate the same amount to daily activities and treats.
In response to what changes they would like to see on board, common themes focused on the automatic inclusion of gratuities and being clearer on who is receiving them, in addition to free Wi Fi access.
The survey found that 71% have cruised three or more times in the last three years, while 23% of these have taken between six and 10 cruises in the same period.
Addintionally, 41.5% of those in the 71 and over category have cruised five times or more in the last three years.
Reader Offers commercial director, Andrew Say, said: “Key findings from the survey identified no-fly cruising as the most popular cruising holiday with 82% confirming they would consider this form of holiday again in the future, closely followed by ocean cruising in Europe and the Mediterranean.
“However, hot on their heels was river cruising in Europe, with over two thirds of respondents – 68% – saying they were either very likely or likely to consider this type of cruise. This really mirrors industry predictions that river cruising will continue to grow in popularity through 2016/17.”
He added: “The customers we surveyed clearly love cruising and plan their trips well in advance with almost a quarter researching their next holiday well over a year in advance.
“Fifty eight per cent then go on to book anywhere between seven to 18 months in advance of their travel. We know this is to ensure they can select the destination, cruise line, ship and cabin of their choosing and really enjoy their preferred cruise itinerary.
“When asked how cruising compares to other holidays taken, a significant 87% said that they love being able to visit multiple destinations in one trip, almost half like the fact they don’t have to start their holiday at an airport while 55% enjoy the better quality of food on offer.
“Following customer feedback, from this survey and others, within our packages we often include free gratuities plus an allocation of free onboard spend, which can be used towards services such as Wi-Fi, when not offered by the cruise line as standard.”