Cruising improves overall wellbeing, new study finds

Taking a cruise vacation has positive mental and emotional health benefits long after the getaway is over, a new study found.

While all vacations leave travelers feeling good, researchers decided to look at the specific benefits of a cruise. 

They found that the trip taps into three different types of wellbeing: the emotional experience of a getaway, the relationship factor of meeting new people and the thinking experience of seeing new places and broadening the mind.

Researchers suggest that the multifaceted features of a cruise trip make it more stimulating and beneficial than a one-destination holiday, and the effects linger up to six months after returning home.

A study from the University of China found that going on cruise vacations improve three types of wellbeing: emotional, relational and thinking

Cruises are known for their wide array of activities, travel to multiple destinations and luxurious accommodations that about 25 million people worldwide experience each year.

Tourism researchers from the University of China conducted a psychological questionnaire on 317 tourists as they returned from a cruise vacation and another group of 295 people who had taken a cruise six months earlier.

The questions were specifically designed to test the participant’s own perceptions of wellbeing, such as life satisfaction and emotional state of mind.

The cruisers represented a wide range of ages, backgrounds and had traveled with different cruise lines on a variety of routes from Korea to the Caribbean.

Researchers evaluated three factors of the cruise experience: emotional experience, relational and thinking experience.

Short-term happiness from cruise travel was created mainly through emotional and relational experiences. 

When considering emotional experience, relaxing and simply ‘doing nothing’ is important for many vacationers.

The relational experience refers to social interactions with family, friends, staff and meeting other vacationers on a cruise.

However, the long-term happiness from cruising was largely derived from thinking experience that came from traveling to new destinations.

Lead author Jiaying Lyu of Zhejiang from the University in China, said: ‘Travel is a meaningful activity by which individuals gain something important and valuable in life.’

‘It affirms self worth and price, facilitates self growth and self motivation and searchers for inspiration and creation,’ he added. 

Those who cruise will experience positive mental and emotional health benefits up to six months after disembarking 

Those who cruise will experience positive mental and emotional health benefits up to six months after disembarking 

Researchers found that unless the vacationers had experienced illness or some other disaster, the short-term effects were generally positive for all three types of wellbeing.

The findings published in the International Journal of Tourism Research showed that six months later after the cruise, participants were still experiencing positive effects, particularly from the thinking experience side of their life satisfaction.

Even if going back to a daily routine had dulled the emotional experience, they were still getting the mental health benefit of having traveled to new places which previous studies have found can expand minds. 

Jiaying Lyu said: ‘The results indicate that cruise holidays offer more value than simply short-term hedonistic experiences and contribute to broader aspects of life satisfaction and positive function.’ 

‘In these cognitive processes, people find positive emotions and improved evaluation of life,’ he added.