Based on a new Spring 2012 survey of the wealthiest 10% of US households, the American Affluence Research Center reported that intentions to cruise during the next 12 months declined slightly to 15% of the affluent, down from 18% in the Fall 2011 survey.

At 15% of a population of 11.4 million affluent households, the estimated number of cruise buyers is 1.7 million households or 3.4 million total cruisers over the next 12 months.

Ron Kurtz, president of the American Affluence Research Center and the former president and chief marketing officer of several cruise lines, noted that “among the affluent, those most likely to cruise during the next 12 months are in the $6M+ net worth group at 20%, which is a 12 point drop from the Fall 2011 survey, and the age 60+ group at 19%”.

Those planning to increase international vacation spending during the next 12 months compared to the prior 12 months are 22% of the total while 53% say they will spend the same. About 85% of the affluent report their spending for domestic vacation travel will be higher (26%) or the same (59%).

The decline in intentions to cruise are consistent with first quarter indicators of soft bookings but contrast with the improvement in the attitude of the affluent regarding current business conditions and their 12-month outlook for the economy, the stock market, their personal household income, and their general spending plans for 17 categories of products and services tracked in these surveys.

The Spring 2012 Affluent Market Tracking Study is #21 in a series of twice yearly surveys that started in 2002 and is based on a national sample of 372 men and women who have an average annual household income of $267,000, an average net worth of $3.1 million, average investable assets of $1.8 million, and an average primary residence value of $1.2 million.