More than three quarters (79%) of older people plan to spend up to £10,000 each on a travel experience due to windfalls coming from relaxed pension rules, a new study shows.

A further 20% are prepared to spend up to £20,000 per person.

Nearly a fifth of those aged between 50 and 59 will be looking to spend a portion of their savings on a cruise, according to the research covering 1,000 people conducted by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.

It is estimated that about 18 million people aged over 55 will gain access to up to 25% of their pension – tax-free – for the first time from April. A further 320,000 people will become eligible every year.

As much as £6 billion will be spent within the first three months after April, with the number one discretionary spend predicted to be on holidays.

The independent research highlighted Fred Olsen as being seen as one of the most trusted cruise brands to provide the best destination experience.

The company has issued a World’s Top 50 Experiences brochure to highlight many of the aspirational places covered by its four ships which will take in 253 destinations across 84 countries in 2016-17.

The line’s sales and marketing director, Nathan Philpot, said: “We are confident that we can offer our loyal guests and new-to-cruise customers a fantastic ‘holiday of a lifetime’; however, we are also sure that our well-informed cruisers will think carefully about the value of money today and their future earnings, before taking a decision to change their spending behaviour.”

The 10 most popular experiences out of 50 identified by those able to access their pension pots:

  1. Discover the Victoria Falls in Africa

  2. Go in search of the Northern Lights in Norway

  3. Cruise the Mississippi on board a traditional steamboat

  4. Swimming with dolphins in the Caribbean

  5. Take a trip to the Valley of the Kings in Egypt

  6. Travel through the tree tops of the Esperanza forests for views of the lunar landscape of Mount Teide in Tenerife

  7. Experience the Monaco Grand Prix in France

  8. Take a cable car to the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town

  9. Visit Machu Picchu in South America

  10. See Mardi Gras in New Orleans