By employing a social-psychological approach to the study of tourist experience, the present study investigated the social interaction between fellow cruise passengers and the impact of such interaction on cruise vacation experience as perceived by the customers. Results based on content analysis of interviews and virtual focus group discussions showed that cruise passengers had diverse experiences meeting fellow passengers, which were categorized into three broad scenarios. The levels of interaction among passengers generally followed Levinger and Snoek's (1972) model of relationship development, starting from unilateral impression, through surface contact (superficial and role-bounded interaction), to increasing mutuality (relationship beyond that demanded by externally structured role prescription). Apparently, interaction among fellow passengers only entails special meaning when it exceeds the common role script for unacquainted travelers, and interactional partners identify each other as unique individuals. This exploratory study demonstrated that the social dimensional approach of studying tourist behavior was able to unfold a neglected aspect of the tourist experience, i.e., how interaction between tourists encountered in the tourism space contributed to the cruise experience to various extent.
- Cruise experience
- Customer-to-customer interaction
- Tourist-to-tourist interaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management