In a new survey by the American Affluence Research Center of the wealthiest 10% of U.S. households, less than half (46%) of the affluent said they had cruised during the past 10 years.

The survey identified the number of cruises (3 nights or longer) taken in the past 10 years by type (ocean cruises and river cruises) by the wealthiest 11.4 million U.S. households represented by the survey.

In addition to providing data on the percentage of the affluent that have cruised, the new survey revealed that the affluent cruisers average one cruise every three years and that only 7% of them, over 350,000 of the affluent cruisers, average more than one cruise every year.

Only 8% of the affluent have taken a river cruise.

According to the American Affluence Research Center, this shows that the affluent represent great potential to both increase cruise frequency among experienced cruisers and to attract first time cruisers. These households have the vacation time and money to be loyal cruisers, especially given the high level of satisfaction with cruises.

The 54% of affluent households reporting no cruises taken during the past 10 years equals over 6 million households with a minimum net worth of $800,000 and an average income of over $260,000 that are potential prospects for the purchase of what would probably be their first cruise.

“These various opportunities represent great sales potential for travel agents and cruise lines” according to. Ron Kurtz, president of American Affluence Research Center and president of Sea Goddess Cruises (now Sea Dream), introducing the yacht-like concept in the early 1980s.

Kurtz, who had also held the position of chief marketing officer of Norwegian Cruise Line and Windstar Cruises, added that “cruises of all types could be winners as this new survey validated previous estimates in our surveys of about 3.5 million annual affluent cruisers across contemporary, premium, and luxury categories”.

The new survey also determined for each of 19 listed cruise brands, which the affluent cruisers have cruised with during the past 5 years, are familiar with but have not cruised with, feel are overrated, and believe attract status seekers, quality oriented cruisers, experienced travelers, value oriented cruisers, cruisers younger than me and /or travelers like me.

The 19 listed cruise lines were Azamara, AMA Waterways, Avalon Waterways, Carnival, Celebrity, Crystal, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian, Oceania, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Silversea, Viking River, Uniworld, and Windstar.