Navigating the Independent Shorex Passenger Trend: How Cruise Lines Can tap into this evolving market

By Leyla Rojas CEO of Global Cruises LLC

The landscape of cruising has changed, and the industry must adapt to meet the evolving demands of its passengers. Today’s cruisers crave freedom and flexibility and are more likely to opt for spontaneous activities than pre-packaged group tours. A new type of independent traveler has emerged, spanning all age groups and demographics. Industry studies confirm that between 40-50% of cruisers fall into this category of «independent» passengers, a trend that shows consistent growth across various cruise lines, itineraries, and destinations.

According to a 2019 report by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), shore excursions are one of the top three activities that cruise passengers participate in while in port, accounting for approximately 20% of onboard spending. However, this percentage can vary greatly depending on the destination and itinerary. In certain ports where local infrastructure or language barriers are more challenging, a larger percentage of passengers may opt to book through the cruise line for convenience and peace of mind. But overall, the trend is consistent: an increase in the number of independent passengers and a decrease in the cruise shorex share.

For instance, a 2018 research study by Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) revealed that only 35.7% of all passengers that disembarked during the 2017-2018 season bought a shore excursion through the cruise line in 36 participating Caribbean destinations. The rest preferred to become independent travelers at each port of call. 

So, who are these independent passengers? In Global Cruises, we have a deep understanding of the independent shore excursion market. For years we’ve conducted market research to identify the demographics and understand the behavior and preferences.  These are individuals who choose to organize their own tours or activities in port, rather than booking through the cruise line. 

These travelers value flexibility, prefer to decide at the site, want to avoid crowds, are repeat guests, and are looking for cost savings or last-minute deals. 

Now, how to adapt and thrive in the growing trend of independent travelers?

Global Cruises offers an innovative solution for cruise lines to tap into the growing trend of independent travelers. With a robust program tailored to 35 Caribbean destinations, Global Cruises caters to the preferences of independent passengers by providing a comprehensive approach that includes over 100 unique products that increase participation, revenue, and customer satisfaction.

The Independent Passengers Program has been a game-changer in this field, resulting in a 5-10% increase in participation rates. By offering innovative and unique products at the right price and the right moment, cruise lines have and can successfully target independent passengers and stay ahead of the competition.

In conclusion, the market for independent shore excursions is growing, and the industry needs to evolve to cater to the preferences of modern-day cruisers. Cruise lines that implement innovative solutions to the challenge can unlock the potential of the independent shorex passenger trend and tap into a growing market. From competition to collaboration, we all need to adapt to changing traveler preferences to stay ahead in this rapidly evolving market.


Innovation is the DNA of our company. In Global Cruises, we understand that technology and new forms of tourism will transform the industry. We’re dedicated to investing in and adapting to a changing,

technology-driven future.

With products like our Attraction Pass, Virtual Reality Immersive Experiences, and Walking Tour Guided Adventure, available in +25 destinations across the globe, we are catering to a new form of tourism, ensuring our more independent travelers feel seen and

free to explore as they see fit.