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Demonstrational analysis on consumers' consciousness of cruise culture.


In recent years, many coastal cities in China have regarded cruise economy as an important way to grow regions' economy and upgrade industrial structure. However, conflicts between the increasing number of domestic ports and the low awareness of cruise culture have made it difficult to improve the demands of consumers. Therefore, this research aims to explore how the awareness of Cruise Culture affects consumer behavior.

Carrying out this research, we provide some theoretical background for China's cruise market, for the international study of cruise tourists' behavior and cruise culture. The most recent studies on cruise tourism in China have been developed by Sun and Feng (2012), Sun et al. (2014), Xu (2013), Zhankun et al. (2012). On one hand, the literature review section in our paper provides an important reference about cruise market development, management, and other areas of the cruise services for government departments and the cruise industry. On the other hand, it shows that through cultivating cruise culture, Shanghai can be the experimental zone of China's cruise tourism development and even a world famous tourist city.

Literature review Cruise culture

Culture is a complex and multi-layered structure. In addition to the theoretical form of social concepts, it also includes social psychology, lifestyle, behavior, ways of thinking, customs, aesthetics, and other non-rational and not completely rational parts (Economist, 2010).

There are many kinds of service-based cultures, such as the "food culture", the "sports culture" or " fine arts culture". Sport as a social and cultural phenomenon, as well as a social behavior should also be listed in the cultural study list. For instance, evaluating the current situation of the physical fitness of Chinese students research shows a falling down for the past 20 years. An investigation on "sunshine sports for young students" has been conducted. We all know that the sunshine sports not only focus on sports, but also stress the sunshine spirit and culture. Through sports, adults can receive both stronger constitution and optimistic attitude.

Cultural connotations of sunshine sports are mainly reflected in the following aspects:

Leisure. While teenagers are engaged in sporting activities, their minds and bodies are in a completely relaxed state; they are subject just to an experience and game state. This fosters their healthy lifestyle.

Awareness of the subject. Students feel that physical activities are governed by their own will; they reflect their own interests and true expression of need. It is a process during which they are completely able to express themselves.

Humanistic spirit. Sports meet youth recreation and entertainment needs. They get feelings of beauty and soundly experience individuality. It is also associated with caring for human nature, meeting human needs, and the needs of life.

Above all, sunshine sports reflect culture from three aspects: leisure, cognition and spirit. So we just image that cruise tourism also can reflect some culture of its customers. Cruise ships are often called hotels on sea. Therefore hotel culture is, to some extent, similar to the cruise culture. The hotel culture refers to the hotel theme design positioning and long-term customer service processes, the combined effect of the external architectural features, products and service types, management systems and corporate values. They all determine the hotel under a more continuous cultural phenomenon.

Therefore, based on the characteristics of "sports culture" and "hotel culture", considering the history of the cruise industry and its features of globalization, We believe that cruise culture refers to the values and behaviors on cruise ships, meaning and conduct norms, widely accepted by the international community in this context. The types of cruise culture include main cruise cultures (such as honorable, luxurious and experience) and cruise subculture (like lottery, adventure and so on). (Lee-Ross, 2008) The main cruise culture is relatively stable and the cruise subculture is relatively flexible.

Cruise Features

Features of consumers

Cruise consumers should have a certain economic capacity. From the perspective that costs affect the price, the construction cost of a cruise ship and the high-quality service cost determine the cruise tourism characteristics of high spending. The cost of cruise tourism may be higher than other types of tourism for most Chinese. Those customers who can pay for cruise tourism must have a certain material economic basis.

Visitors need to have higher literacy. The cruise experience depends on tourists' literacy of cruise culture. As cruise tourism focuses on experience, and the revisit rate is higher, the customer satisfaction is very important for the process of cruise travel. The customers with low cruise "literary" will destroy the elegant and quiet atmosphere on cruise, they will affect other customers and reduce their degree of satisfaction. Above all, the quality of customers is very important during the whole cruise travel.

Tourists are increasingly younger. The survey of cruise market shows that 75% of cruisers are married, 40% of tourists have university graduates, 34% of visitors are aged 35-54, while only 25% of visitors are retirees (Ebersold, 2010). In the market of China, young people are the main customers, this phenomenon is different from foreign markets. So cruise tourism may be popular among young people in China.

Features of consumer object

Cruise includes two parts: consumer experience and shore tourism. The supporting infrastructures and facilities on cruise ships are all objects of consumption. They have their own peculiarities. Modern cruise ships are increasingly large and functional diversification is to be observed. Currently, the number of beds on cruise ships offered to visitors accounts for 0.6% of the total number of hotel beds in the world.

The world cruise lines distribution is rather concentrated. The world's most intensive activity area for cruise tourism is the Caribbean, followed by Europe / Mediterranean. In this regions, the amount of cruise tourists accounted for 45.1% and respectively for 22.4% of the world figures in the sector (Mak et al., 2010).

Features of the process of consumption

Cruise tourism is a process for which servers provide the stage, tourists do personalize interactions with tourism elements, then get good feelings and unforgettable memories. Therefore experience is at the center of the tourism consumption. Cruise voyages have no destination. They focus on letting consumers experience a landscape unlike land scenery, to feel an exotic culture. Most time customers spend their time on cruise ships to experience some entertainment facilities and appreciate the scenery along the route.

Cruise tourism is an investment of customers themselves. During the time people spend on cruise ships, they can not only taste foreign food and appreciate the scenery along the route, but experience other cultures and may make friends with foreign people. Some new knowledge will be produced in the process of cruise experience. These new knowledge can be absorbed by consumers into their own features, then "new" consumers may be shaped.

Characteristics of consumer environment

Cruise tourism developed considering the national policy and legal environment guidelines is exquisite. Cruise ships special appearance and unique interiors filled with gorgeous atmosphere are the norm. They also offer visitors 24 hours non-stop cruise life and services.

Cognitive information processing theory

Cognition and cognitive processes

"Cognition" is a term used in psychology. It can be divided into broad and narrow cognitive awareness. Generalized perception is that Individuals grasp the nature of objective reality and law through forms of feeling, perception, representation, imagination, memory, thinking and so on. Narrow cognitive means a process through which individuals process, store and extract the acquired information (Hoffmann, 2010).

Cognition is a concentrated expression of human consciousness, which regulates mood and behavior. Cognitive process is carried out according to certain procedures of information processing system consisting of information obtained, coding, storage, extraction and use of a series of successive stages of cognitive operations (Figure 1).

People's awareness of cruise culture

The awareness of cruise culture is a psychological process through which the public is aware and understands the content of cruise culture by their self-consciousness. The public will react to distinctive features of the cruise culture if they accept it. Cruise appearance, catering, run cycle routes and the voyage associated with the landscape may cause tourist associations and emotional perceptions that can make a large impact on human decisions.

Considerate the domestic development of cruise Advantages for developing the domestic cruise industry

Sustained and rapid economic developments provide the material basis for the cruise industry. Based on the experience of developed countries, while the GDP per capita reaches $ 6000-8000, the cruise industry will enter a period of rapid growth (Stewart et al., 2010). At present, China's coastal cities have formed a middle class with the objective material basis for cruise tourism development.

Outbound tourism developed rapidly in China and the potential market of cruise tourism is tremendous. Market professionals predicted that by 2020, there will be more than 100 million Chinese traveling abroad, if 5% of the tourists choose cruise, it is almost equivalent to the European market (National Statistics Bureau.

Coastal governments have high enthusiasm to develop cruise tourism. Coastal port cities like Shanghai, Tianjin, Xiamen and Dalian are competing for the development of cruise tourism industry. Besides many cities have made substantial progress in this respect too.

Natural conditions of the domestic ports are good, and coastlines are rich in tourism resources. There are many port cities on the 18,000 km of mainland coastline from north to south, forming a layout of "three-point line".

Cruise cognition profile in Shanghai market

We investigate the status of consumer cruise cognition through a short survey, applied in Shanghai ports, such as the Wusong port and Shanghai port. The questionnaire in this part was designed by using Likert five scale (Questionnaire!), including seven aspects like culture, safety, cost, time, service, etiquette behavior and prospects. Five levels of understanding from "I do not know", "I understand very well" make up the awareness level of each section. The higher the score, the higher the awareness of cruise tourism; conversely, the lower the score, the lower the awareness. Analysis of data is shown in table 1.

Considering table 1, we observe that 17.55% visitors have little awareness of cruise culture. More than 50% of tourists believe that cruise travel is safe. There are about 64.36% tourists who think cruise travel is more expensive than other forms of traveling. About 35.11% of tourists lack the awareness of cruise etiquette missing and uncivilized behavior. By the view of approval ratings about cognitions, such as time, service and prospect, almost more than 50% tourists think that cruise costs more time and offers higher quality services, at the same time they all are optimistic about the prospects of cruise tourism.

According to this survey, we identify that there are many problems and challenges during the process of cruise tourism development, especially customers' cognition of cruise culture. Many Chinese have wrong understanding about cruise tourism. This is in our view the fatal challenge to develop cruise tourism in China. So we must look for some valid suggestions on cultivating and improving people's cognition of cruise culture in China.

Study design

Design models and hypotheses

Model design

The hotel culture system is composed of material culture, spiritual culture, institutional culture and behavior culture. Spiritual culture is at the core position in the whole system and it is the soul of hotel culture; institutional culture is the institutionalization and standardization of spiritual culture, spiritual culture can translate into behavior and material culture by institutional culture; behavior culture is the most important way to contribute to the hotel culture and achieve internal and external communication; material culture is the carrier of spiritual, institutional and behavior culture (Figure 2).

Therefore, we combined with Cruise's own characteristics to build the model of cruise culture from four aspects, such as presentation, core, intermediate and communication layers following the example of the hotel culture structure (Figure 3).

Research Hypothesis

We must identify the entry point to foster cruise culture and enhance the visitors' awareness of cruise culture. Since the cruise culture is embodied by the consumer, we propose the following assumptions:

H: Correlation assumptions between cruise cultural awareness and demographic variable.

H1-1: There is a positive correlation between the level of education and the cruise cultural awareness.

H1-2: There is a positive correlation between family income and the cruise cultural awareness.

H2: There exist some significant differences in consumer behavior between low cruise cultural awareness and high cruise cultural awareness.

H2-2: The groups have different cruise cultural awareness levels are different in the selection of information channel

H2-3: The selection criteria are significantly different between the groups of different cruise cultural awareness.

H2-4: The groups with different cruise cultural awareness levels are different in the choice of actual commodity (knowledge and experience).

H2-5: The post-purchase evaluations are significantly different between the groups of different cruise cultural awareness.

Operational definition of variables and questionnaire

The questionnaire in this research was divided into three parts: first part are the scales of cruise and cruise cultural awareness; second part is the questionnaire about cruise consumer behavior; third part is a investigation of personal overview.

Scales of cruise cultural awareness

The scale of cruise cultural awareness is intended to identify the degree of consumer acceptance of cruise culture. In this paper, we use the method of Simple consumer consciousness reference to foreign scholars, then we identify four core concepts of cruise culture. We made the questionnaire about cruise cultural awareness according to the Scale of Five-point Likert (Table 2).

Questionnaire for consumer cruise behavior

Consumer behaviors refer to the various activities that involve in the consumer acquisition, consumption, and disposal of the product or service, including decision-making that occurred before and after these actions. We select the decision-making process (EKB model) as the framework of consumer cruise behavior, and design the consumer behavior questionnaire (Peterson, 2005). The operational definition of each level is shown in Table 3.

Demographic variables

We investigate the consumers' personal background information, such as: gender, age, education level, occupation, family income and family structure.

Data analysis

We use Sampling method in this paper. 200 questionnaires were distributed in Shanghai ports. 188 questionnaires are valid and the effective rate is 94%. Then we used the software SPSS19.0 for data processing and statistical analysis.

Description for Sample Characteristics

In the 188 valid questionnaires, there are 60% male respondents; women accounted for 40%. Most respondents are young; 66.49% of respondents are under 40 years old. The respondents' level of education is relatively uniform. Family income below 5000 accounted for 29.25 percent, 5001-8000 accounted for 28.19 percent, over 8000 accounted for 42.55% of the number of respondents.

Reliability test and factor analysis of the scale about cruise cultural cognition

Reliability test

Reliability is the consistency, stability and reliability of measuring results. In this paper, we use the coefficient of Cronbach's a to do the test. If a coefficient is less than 0.6, then lack of confidence; 0.7 to 0.8, indicating the scale has a considerable reliability; 0.8 to 0.9 indicates the reliability is very good (West, 2009). The results of reliability are shown in Table 4, Cronbach's Alpha is 0.806, which means that scale reliability is very good.

Factor Analysis

Examine the suitability of factor analysis

Factor analysis requires strong correlation between the variables. We need to analyze the original variables by the Bartlett test of sphericity and KMO before factor analysis. Bartlett test of sphericity is used to test whether the array is the unit matrix, and if so, the factor model is considered inappropriate. When KMO value above 0.9 is very good, 0.8-0.9 is good, 0.7-0.8 is general, 0.5-0.6 is very reluctant, 0.5 is inappropriate. The results are shown in Table 5, KMO is 0.702, which means that common factors exist between variables, the variables are not independent; The associate probability of Bartlett test is 0.000 <0.01, the matrix is not an identity matrix. In summary, the factor analysis is feasible.

Factor Analysis

Factor analysis is the best way to test the validity.The principle is: Suppose some structure exists, examine whether the scale can be used to measure the real structure by factor analysis, thus test the hypothesis (Yunus, 1978). Then do the dimension reduction process on the 16 variables, and extract common factors by principal component analysis. Among the 16 variables, the common variance of the minimum variable is 0.483, indicating that the common factor can be explained by the original variables.

As we know, there are four characteristic roots greater than 1, so we extract four common factors. Table 6 is the rotating factor loading list, displays the new factor loadings and the explained cumulative variance is 73.371% (greater than 50%). Then we extract four main components. Therefore, the common factor can explain more than 50% of the variance; the validity of scale construct is better.

We can easily determine which variable is classified as the factors from Table 6, according to the principle of 0.5. The variables COG16, COG18, COG19, COG20 are dominated by the factor 1; factor 2 dominates the variables like COG8, COG9, COG10; factor 3 dominates the variable COG11, COG12, COG13, COG14; The variables COG21, COG22, COG23 are dominated by the factor 4. Because the factor 1 reflects the level of institutional cruise culture, so we called it culture of cruise institutional; factor 2 reflects the level of the materiality of cruise culture, we named it as cruise material culture; spiritual cruise culture is reflected by the factor 3, named cruise spiritual culture; factor 4 reflects the behavior of the cruise culture, so we named it the cruise behavioral culture. In summary, the model of cruise culture can be verified.

Hypothesis testing

Adding up the scores of the scale on cruise cultural cognition to acquire the index of the cruise cultural awareness, the higher the score, the higher the cruise cultural awareness. The frequency analysis of all samples is according to the cruise cultural awareness, and we divided all samples into two groups according to the mean and median (55) of the sample, including high and low cruise cultural awareness groups.

Correlation analysis between demographic variables and cruise cultural awareness

The table 7 shows that "the level of education" and "family income" are positively correlated with cruise cultural awareness, H1-1 and H1-2 were established.

Analysis of cruise cultural awareness and consumer behavior

Cross-analysis of consumer motivation

The results of cross-analysis (Brida et al., 2012) are shown in Table 8. The selections of motivations, like "port style", "relaxing atmosphere" and "onboard entertainment", are different between the cruise cultural awareness groups. The high cruise cultural awareness group mostly has the motivations of "port style", "relaxing atmosphere" and "onboard entertainment". The low cruise cultural awareness group mostly has the motivations of "Luxurious appearance", "repast", and "status symbol". Beside, the two groups all have the motivation of "close relationship between family or friends".

Chi-square test of cruise cultural awareness and consumer behavior

The results of Chi-square test (Table 9) show that behavior of "knowledge and experience", "spend" and "post-purchase evaluation" are significant different between high cruise cultural awareness group and low cultural awareness group, They have no significant difference in the "information channels", "route" choice "and so on.

We further do the cross-analysis for the two groups according to the "cost", "actual product choice" and "post-purchase evaluation". The results show that the Low cruise cultural awareness group's acceptable cost is lower than in the case of the High cruise cultural awareness group. The high cruise cultural awareness group has more knowledge and experience about the cruise than the low cultural awareness group. Meanwhile on the purchase evaluation, the high cruise cultural awareness group has higher satisfaction, and demonstrates willingness to recommend the cruise to other.

Conclusions and recommendation


Cruise culture system is composed of material culture, spiritual culture, institutional culture and behavior culture. We can improve customers' cognition of cruise culture from the three levels and targeted train their awareness of cruise travel combined with actual situation.

The results of the correlation analysis on the cruise cultural awareness and demographic variables show a reasonable explanation of the positive relationship between Cruises cultural awareness, "educated" and "family income". Cruise itself is an important concept as a whole, and it is related with human spirit. According to Maslow's "hierarchy of needs theory", the consumers with higher family income will pursue higher level of demands on the basis of their low-level needs are met. Besides, their Living Values are closer to LOHAS values.

The results of the analysis of cruise cultural awareness and consumer behavior show the following. The selections of motivations, like "port style", "relaxing atmosphere" and "on board entertainment" are different between the cruise cultural awareness groups, and the group with higher cruise cultural awareness is more in line with the characteristics of cruise culture.

Suggestions for improving customers' cognition of cruise culture

Using the government power to promote cruise culture, some actions could be taken. We refer to: establishment of an international cruise culture festival; creation of some sites for cruise culture; development of cruise behavior code; and launch cruise culture ambassador.

Driving the population of cruise culture depends on the influence of the academic initiatives. For example, we can set up a research center on cruise culture. At the same time, we can also publish universal's readings about cruise culture and cultivate cruise cultural talents.

Further actions recommended might be: using the industry's execution to conduct the cruise culture infiltration; promoting the cruise culture by cooperative marketing, experience marketing; pulling the transmission of cruise culture by the tourists' mouth of word; cultivate positive reputation for cruise culture actively.

Study limitations and suggestions

This study is only an exploratory attempt, the definition of the concept, the type of division and conclusions all need to be further explored and validated.

Sample for survey

We distributed questionnaires under line, high cost, inconvenience of operation, time-consuming and heavy workload. These are the obvious disadvantages. We recommend that the follow-up studies to combine online and offline methods.

Research Methods

This study was designed to identify the scale of cruise cultural awareness according to related research. Due to specific experience and ability, it is difficult to achieve high reliability and good validity. We recommend that follow-up studies should focus on improving the reliability and validity of scales.

Research Contents

We only discussed some basic issues on cruise cultural awareness, and not carry out in-depth analysis. Therefore the follow-up studies should focus on consumer psychology and its mechanism.


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Received on July 14, 2014

ZengFei REN, Shanghai University of Engineering Science, 20 th building North San Xing Road. Song Jiang. ShangHai. China,

PengJu LI, Shanghai University of Engineering Science, 20th building North San Xing Road. Song Jiang. ShangHai. China.

Table 1. Status of Cruise Cognition in Shanghai Market

Cognition        Mean   Variance   Approval   Disapproval
                                    rating      rating

Culture          3.70    1.312      63.83%      18.62%
Security         2.74    1.285      50.53%      26.60%
Cost             3.58    0.951      64.36%      19.15%
Time             3.52    1.321      62.77%      25.00%
Service          3.66    0.942      64.89%      13. 30%
Etiquette        2.96    1.640      42.02%      35.11%
  and behavior
Prospect         3.68    0.860      61.17%      10.11%

Source: Authors provide the data

Table 2. Core concepts of cruise culture

Concepts for measuring   Operational definition

material culture         Awareness of material culture like
                           cruise features, route and shore
mental culture           Awareness of mental culture like
                           humanistic connotation and experience
institutional culture    Awareness of institutional culture like
                           cruise norms and practices
behavior culture         Awareness of behavior culture like
                           Etiquette and Communication

From: Author's consolidation

Table 3. Description of questionnaire about consumer
psychology and behavior

Variable        Operational           Measure of operational
                definition            definition

Consumer        What is most          Cruise motivation
  motivation      interesting of
                  cruise to you
Sources of      You select which      Channels to obtain
  information     channel to            information about
                  understand cruise     cruise
Select          What factors you      Factors to consider
  Criteria        take into account     when select cruise
                  when make
                  decisions about
Knowledge       The actual choice     The experience, type
  and                                   and cost of cruise
Post-purchase   Evaluation of         Satisfaction on cruise
  evaluation      postconsumer

Source:The model of Engel-Kollat-Blackwell

Table 4. Reliability statistics

Cronbach's Alpha   Based on standardized items   Item
                   Cronbach's Alpha

.806               .806                          16

Table 5. KMO and Bartlett's test

Sampling sufficient degree of Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure   0.702

Bartlett test of spherical    Approximate chi-square       3344.810
                              Df                           120
                              Sig                          0.000

Table 6. Rotating factor loading

Indicator        Factor loading
                                          Factor      Cumulative
            1      2      3       4       explained   explained
                                          variance    variance
                                          (%)         (%)

COG16       .664                          27.123      27.123
COG18       .658
COG19       .694
COG20       .900
COG8               .981                   20.313      47.436
COG9               .981
COG10              .658
COG11                     -.616           14.581      62.016
COG12                     .687
COG13                     .729
COG14                     .808
COG21                             .759    11.354      73.371
COG22                             .981
COG23                             -.578

Table 7. Correlation analysis between demographic variables
and cruise cultural awareness

Demographic            Correlation Analysis
                  Hypothesis   Pearson   Sig    N     Result

Level of          H1-3         .716"     .000   188   Moderate
  education                                             positive
Family            H1-4         .635"     .000   188   Moderate
  income                                                positive

Table 8. Intersection index of consumer motivation

Motivation                     Cruise cultural awareness

                             Low awareness   High awareness

Luxurious            Count   25              10
  appearance         %       28.70%          9.9%
Port Customs         Count   11              24
                     %       12.6%           23.8%
Relaxing             Count   2               4
  atmosphere         %       2.3%            4.0%
Food on board        Count   12              9
                     %       13.80%          8.9%
Entertainment        Count   10              20
  on board           %       11.5%           19.8%
Status symbol        Count   10              6
                     %       11.5%           5.9%
Acquire new          Count   10              20
  knowledge          %       11.5%           19.8%
Close relationship   Count   7               8
  between family     %       8.0%            7.9%
  or friends

Table 9. Chi-square test

Behavioral variables          Hypothesis   Chi- square   df

Information channels          H2-2         7.791 (a)     5

Selection      Travel way     H2-3         1.384 (a)     4

  Criteria     Cost                        184.073 (a)   4

               Sailing                     1.783 (a)     3
               Route                       2.362 (a)     5

Actual         Experience     H2-4         71.325 (a)    2
  choice       Familiarity                 69.116 (a)    4

Post-          Satisfaction   H2-5         61.832 (a)    5
  evaluation   Recommend                   63.521 (a)    5

Behavioral variables          Sig.   Result

Information channels          .168   No significant
Selection      Travel way     .847   No significant
  Criteria     Cost           .000   Significant
               Sailing        .619   No significant
                 cycle                 difference
               Route          .797   No significant
Actual         Experience     .000   Significant
  product                              difference
  choice       Familiarity    .000   Significant
Post-          Satisfaction   .000   Significant
  purchase                             difference
  evaluation   Recommend      .000   Significant
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Article Details
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Author:Ren, ZengFei; Li, PengJu
Publication:Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends
Article Type:Abstract
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jun 1, 2015
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