Cruise Industry UX Assessment

Human Centered Approach to Digital Innovation
The DLUX Process is our approach to solve user experience challenges for our clients in the follow steps:

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  1. Vision & Strategy

  2. Research

  3. Major Features

  4. User Journeys

  5. Solution Studio

  6. Wireframes & Visual Design

We applied our DLUX process to solve the cruise industry challenges we identified during our research


Executive Summary



DefinedLogic conducted a thorough analysis of the cruise industry to identify the major trends in customer cruising habits and buying experiences using the DLUX Process.

We evaluated seven cruise line websites based on ease of use, perceived quality and site reliability. We conducted a thorough persuasion, emotion and trust analysis to identify the emotional triggers that influence the customer’s decision making process.




Key Findings

Why do so few cruisers use the web?
Cruise line websites fail to engage prospective cruisers on their terms in ways that align to how they want to explore the possibilities of cruising adventures.




Vision & Strategy


Problem Space

Cruisers don’t know how to navigate the complex cruise selection and booking process. Current cruise line websites are unable to fulfill the needs of their customers. The cruisers are relying heavily on agents for cruise trip bookings.


Vision Statement

Where we want to be. Design a simplified, experience for cruisers that surfaces important information and entices customers to purchase a cruise online. Reduce the dependency on travel agents.


Why Do People Cruise?

Why People Cruise infographic

What if Cruise line websites were like Digital Travel Agents?

Using an immersive experience design that compels users to explore multiple destination cruise options within a flow that mimics a travel agent will drive more direct bookings and increased brand loyalty.


People toasting champagne on cruise ship

Our Methodology

  • Heuristic Evaluations were conducted over seven major cruise line websites to identify some common trends and pain points in the online cruise search experience.
  • Persuasion, Emotion and Trust analysis was conducted on the cruise websites to identify the trust factors on websites that help cruise lines to effectively engage their customers.
  • Created empathy map to understand user thoughts and feelings.
  • Interview agents to understand their role in the cruise trip planning experience.
  • Solution Studio sessions were conducted to develop high level solutions to problems identified during the research phase.


Cruise Industry Facts

When comparing all distribution channels cruise travelers use, they believed the best pricing was found through online channel. Yet, travel agents ranked first in service.

New Cruisers in 2015

Cruise Industry to invest $8 billion through 2017, which will accommodate



Couple on Cruise

Cruiser Facts

Cruise customers do not conform to an age profile. They fall equally in age cohorts:

30 – 39
50 – 59
60 – 74



A customer on average brings in:

$114k average household income, 72% were employed & 21% were retired.



The customer’s preferred choice of planning and booking cruises:

7 out of 10 cruisers preferred agents over websites for navigation through cruise options, planning and booking.




Research Findings


Heuristic Evaluation

Heuristic evaluations are used to identify defects with the user interface of an application or design [Nielsen and Mack, 1994].

Heuristic evaluations are not used to pinpoint the successes of a user interface. This means that a heuristic evaluation report will not include positive feedback; the evaluation will only identify the shortcomings of the user interface.

We examined seven websites with the following 10 recognized Nielsen and Mack usability principles:


Heuristic Evaluation Summary

4 out of 7 websites that were evaluated have significant room for improvement. It is clearly evident that Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian cruise lines have better information architecture and experience on their websites. All the websites provide information about their cruises but there is gap in the customer expectation and the actual cruise search, planning and booking experience. Cruise line websites are failing to provide all the required tools to their customers to plan their trip without the help of an agent.


Persuasion, Emotion & Trust Analysis

We analyzed the websites on five different criteria to benchmark the trust score. The five criteria are:


Trust Scores for various Cruise websites

*The average website will earn a Trust Score of 22.


Female on cruise ship

User Interview Summary

We interviewed three agents to understand the services they provide to the customers. Here is the summary of the interviews.

Customers rely on agents for guidance on the cruises to choose and suggestions about cruises that suit their preferences.

Customers book trips with agents because the agents plan the entire trip – cruise tickets, flight tickets and hotel stay if needed.

Customers rely on agents because they feel comfortable having an agent as their point of contact in case of any issues or changes to the cruise plans.

Customers feel that agents can give them the best value for their money.



Build a Digital Travel Agent

Search for cruises by interest, occasion or activity

With so many possibilities at every stop
for one-of-a-kind life-long memories you can enjoy forever, cruising combines the excitement of exotic adventure with modern-day luxury, entertainment and relaxation. Digital experience needs to demonstrate this feeling of adventure and discovery.


Compare, save & favorite cruise options

Cruise lines can attract more millennial-minded cruisers to book directly online by providing a more effective digital trip builder/manager experience.


Create flight/hotel packages & share trip itineraries

Using an immersive guided digital experience that mimics the travel agent process, highlighting all of the possibilities and destinations, cruise lines can leverage their branded digital assets more effectively to attract first time cruisers and build loyalty for life-time customer value.


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