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Survey Reveals Generational Divide Over Relaxation Habits

SANTA CLARITA, Calif., Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --  The 2012 Princess Cruises Relaxation Report, commissioned in celebration of National Relaxation Day on Aug. 15, revealed that Boomers and their adult children's generation of Millennials have very different vacation habits, from social media vices to work-life balance, with the latter finding it more difficult to, or simply refusing to, truly disconnect while on holiday.

The national survey found that Boomers (approximately 48-66 years of age) take their vacation time seriously, with more than one in three finding it impossible to go an entire vacation without doing anything work-related. In contrast, nearly six out of 10 Millennials (approximately 18-31 years of age) would not be able to completely disconnect from work on vacation. Millennials are also leaving relaxation time on the table. Of those employed with vacation time available to them, less than half are using all their paid time off. Boomers on the other hand, appreciate their vacation time and nearly 60 percent used all of their allotted time last year. One potential indication of why Millennials aren't using all of their available vacation time is the fact that nearly one out of five reported they're more relaxed when their boss goes on vacation than when they do.

The national survey was commissioned by Princess Cruises with Wakefield Research for the third annual Princess Cruises Relaxation Report. Princess Cruises, which annually helps more than 1.3 million passengers escape completely aboard its worldwide fleet of ships, conducts the survey to examine Americans' ability and approach to relaxation and vacation trends.

"It's evident through our survey findings that Americans' approach to relaxation and vacationing is changing with each generation," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "We've always inherently known that different people find different settings and experiences relaxing, but to see such a clear shift between generations and their attitude toward embarking on a vacation escape and disconnecting completely is eye-opening. The good news, of course, is that a cruise vacation offers something for everyone."

Social Media VicesIn addition to Americans' varying views on relaxation, many were divided on whether social media is a must-have while on vacation. A vacation get-away won't stop 85 percent of Millennials from making a social media update. In contrast, fewer than half of Boomers would update a social profile while on vacation. The No. 1 social media outlet for vacationing Americans is Facebook, where nearly six out of 10 Americans would likely make an update, 16 percent will reportedly visit YouTube and 15 percent will likely visit Twitter. But while social media is clearly important to most Americans, nothing says 'relaxing escape' to the majority of vacationers like a cocktail, according to the survey. More than 60 percent of respondents would rather go without social media than alcohol while on holiday…cheers!

Parenting & Relaxation – Do they blend?They don't blend for today's parents. Sixty-four percent of parents have taken a vacation without their child, but that comes with a guilt price tag. Of the parents who have vacationed without their kids, 46 percent felt guilty for not taking their kids along, and moms in particular are more likely to feel the pain than dads. More than half of moms felt guilty about leaving their kids at home while hitting the road, but just over a third of dads share their guilty feelings.

Do New Friends and Vacation Mix?It's a mixed bag. Nearly half of Americans have made a "vacation friend" while on a trip. Of those outgoing Americans who have befriended someone during a relaxing escape, the average respondent made six new friends. So are vacation friends the hottest travel accessory? Princess Cruises polled Americans on which TV couple they'd most like to befriend on vacation. Forty percent of all Millennials would want Marshall and Lily from "How I Met Your Mother" as their TV couple of vacation friends. "Modern Family" TV couple Phil and Claire Dunphy, are Boomers' No. 1 favorite with 33 percent.

Dream EscapesWhen asked to describe their perfect vacation libation, 37 percent of females viewed their dream escape as a mai tai – tropical and beachy; whereas 27 percent of men think of their dream escape as a bottle of beer – party time! Perhaps a sign of the economic times – just over one in 10 respondents would classify their dream vacation as a glass of champagne – high-end all the way. Looking ahead to the end of summer, Princess Cruises queried Americans on what they most need to escape from before fall. The No. 1 response was hot weather (50 percent), followed by high gas prices (38 percent) and political campaigns (36 percent).

To Do or Not to Do?Relaxation wins out! Fifty-seven percent of Americans' describe their vacation style as a "relaxer" – sitting back and doing nothing — as opposed to the 43 percent who describe themselves as a "doer" – trying to fit in as many activities as they can into each trip. Interested in trying something new? Sixty-nine percent of Americans say they would try new food and drinks while on vacation, and 38 percent would accomplish something on their bucket list. Thirty-nine percent of Millennials would chat with a stranger, whereas nearly one in four Boomers would stay out all night.

Pop Culture Escape BreakCelebrity mamas are in need of a break! More than one in four Americans responded that of the soon-to-be celebrity moms, Reese Witherspoon is most in need of a pre-baby escape. Drew Barrymore is also an American favorite with 22 percent supporting her for a pre-baby getaway. Snooki and Tori Spelling are in the middle of the pack, with 18 percent and 16 percent. At the bottom of the list are Sarah Michelle Gellar and Anna Paquin, with 10 percent and 8 percent.

On the celebrity vacation friend front, more than one in four females would like to hang out with Chelsea Handler on a relaxing beach day, whereas 25 percent of all men would rather share their sunblock with Jay Leno. In analyzing generational preferences, Boomers prefer Jay over any other late night host (29 percent), while Millennials would rather buddy up with Chelsea Handler (33 percent) or Jimmy Fallon (26 percent).

Politics, Politics!In the presidential race, almost half of all Americans think President Obama is the candidate most in need of a relaxing escape from the public eye. Only 20 percent of Americans think Mitt Romney is most in need of a break. Millennials and Boomers differ once again on the candidate's wives, with over one in five Millennials believing Michelle Obama is in most need of an escape, as opposed to 17 percent of Boomers who think Ann Romney is most in need of an escape.

About the 2012 SurveyThe Princess Cruises 2012 Relaxation Report was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 American adults, ages 18 and older, between June 28 through July 5, 2012, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population 18 and older.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

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