A younger generation of new to cruise passengers is being attracted to sail with Royal Caribbean International.

The average age is now 42, down from 49 four years ago and more than 13 years younger than the industry average of 55, according to the results of research released by the cruise line at the Abta Travel Convention in Ponta Delgada.

‘Generation thrill and chill’ families, as they have been dubbed by Royal Caribbean, are leading the trend towards younger cruisers with families representing one in four of its passengers.

This comes as the line predicts that it’s passenger numbers will grow by 63% over the next five years.

Latest figures from the company show that group bookings in 2016 consisting of friends and family accounted for 20% of all passengers and almost a third (23%) of those were new to cruise.

Growth from newcomers was projected to remain strong for this year and 2018 with almost half (48%) of non-cruisers expressing an interest in taking an ocean cruise.

Royal Caribbean UK and Ireland managing director Ben Bouldin is due to tell the Travel Convention tomorrow: “Over 1.9 million UK holidaymakers took a cruise in 2016, and figures indicate similar growth in 2017.

“There appears to be three main triggers for why younger, new to cruise families are booking cruise holidays with us – the ability to visit multiple destinations whilst also being able to relax and chill, and experience fun and adventure along the way.

“We call them ‘generation thrill and chill’ and they now make up a quarter of all our guests from the UK.

“Interestingly, we also see they have a strong propensity to re-book with us – 10% return within a year, 17% within two years and over a quarter (21%) in three years.

“We believe that’s because our ships offer an onboard experience unlike any others, from zip-wires and sky diving to world class dining and health and wellbeing facilities.

“When matched with the promise of seeing multiple cultures and destinations, it’s an extraordinary experience that no other holiday company can boast.”

Travel Weekly’s full coverage of The Travel Convention