Will 2011 be the year of the Hawaii cruise? It would seem that way from the new Travel Trends Survey from Travel Leaders.
The annual look at where Americans plan to vacation in the coming year finds surging interest in Hawaii cruises. Sailings around the Aloha State jumped six places to land at No. 8 among top domestic destinations, just ahead of San Francisco and just behind Washington, D.C.
Cruising to Alaska was No. 3 on the list -- the same as last year. It remains behind perennial top spots Las Vegas and Orlando (which flipped positions this year at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively). Rounding out the Top 10 among domestic destinations were Honolulu and Maui's Kahului (tied at No. 4); New York City (at No. 6); and Chicago and Phoenix (tied at No. 10).
Among international destinations, "Caribbean cruising" remains the top choice among Travel Leaders customers, as it has been in the past, placing ahead of perennial No. 2 Cancun, Mexico. "Mediterranean cruising" continues a multi-year upward climb to land at No. 3 for the first time, ahead of Mexico's Riviera Maya and Rome. Mediterranean cruising ranked at No. 4 last year. Also on the list of top international destinations was "Mexico cruising," at No. 10 (up from No. 11 last year).
Conducted in November, the survey is based on actual booking data for 2011 from 547 Travel Leaders travel agency outlets across the USA. The survey also found that a majority of customers (50.1%) will spend more on travel in 2011. A tad more than 38% said they spend the same amount, with the balance saying they'd spend less.
Among other findings: Last-minute leisure travel is starting to decrease after jumping during the economic downturn. The survey found just 23.3% of Travel Leaders customers were booking a domestic trip within four weeks of traveling vs. 29.8% a year ago. The percentage of customers booking eight weeks or more in advance of a trip has jumped to 61.4%, from 54.5% a year ago.