Think you know cruise? Think again! A look at the latest ‘cruise trends’
I am one of the many people who previously said: ‘I’ll never do a cruise; too many people; it’s like Butlins at sea’ etc…how wrong was I? I am now a complete convert from being that somebody who would stick her heels in, once coming down on one side of an argument or opinion, to having it completely overturned by experience.
I’ve now done 2, so I’m still a work in progress; one river cruise, and one ocean. Apart from the inevitable weight gain (get back to the gym immediately afterwards! or not) they were both fantastic experiences. Cruises are becoming more and more fashionable, thanks to people like Jane MacDonald who has an amazing job, travelling the world trying out various cruise liners…not that I’m envious at all!
There is a cruise for every person: yes, seriously! From your big family friendly ships, to your small expedition ships, and everything else in between: they represent amazing value for money, irrespective of one’s budget. We have the top notch 6*/7* companies, such as SilverSeas, Regent 7 Seas (on my bucket-list for when I win the lottery!) all the way down to the friendly and familiar P&O, MSC, Fred Olsen etc: there really is something for everybody.
I’m not biased in any way (well ok, maybe a little) BUT my favourite of all is the Expedition cruise company called Hurtigruten. Not a ball gown or tiara in site, but more like waterproofs and snow boots. Here the destination is King, and the ship just a way (albeit, stunning) of getting you to where you want to be, up the Norwegian coast to experience the most spectacular things Mother Nature ever produced! I’m hoping to finally get on board in October 2019!
What are the main trends for 2019 and beyond?
We’ve seen the advancement of technology for sure with bar robots (Royal Caribbean), onboard Oxygen bars, suspended over water areas for dining (Celebrity’s The Edge) with companies becoming more and more innovative. Much more emphasis too (thankfully!) on wellness and healthy eating (who wants to seriously put on a stone whilst on a cruise!) but have a look at some other trends too.
•Experiential Cruising has evolved as cruise passengers are looking for immersive, cultural experiences beyond sightseeing. Bucket lists have become more goal-oriented and cruise lines are meeting these demands. Passengers can conquer Machu Picchu or complete culinary workshops hosted by Le Cordon Bleu chefs.
•Smart Technology Cruising: Cruise lines have adopted wearable technology for cruise passengers including keychains, necklaces and bracelets in order to provide a highly personalised travel experience while on and off the ship.
•Conscious Travel Cruising: Passengers are wanting to see the world in a conscious, mindful way. The cruise industry is more conscientious than ever, working with local communities to preserve their heritage and implementing innovations that decrease the environmental footprint of cruise travel. The industry is also working with destinations to bring the benefits of tourism to local economies while preserving local cultures, landmarks and environments.
•Luxury Travel Cruising: it has always been with us (Cunard Transatlantic crossings spring to mind) but passengers are setting their sights on destinations that were previously out of reach, some only accessible now by cruise ship. They want to be among the first of their peers to experience destinations such as the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica, but to do it in style.
•Generation Z at sea: Gone are the days when cruising was ‘just for the oldies’. More and more youngsters are being attracted to cruising due to the explosion of music-themed cruises with live DJs at sea. This generation is set to become the largest consumer generation in the next two years, outpacing Millennials. Like the generation before, this age bracket prefers authentic experiences over material items and has an even greater wanderlust.
• ‘Working Nomads Cruising: Combining work with leisure time is on the rise. Straying far from the notion of device-free travel, many modern travellers or “digital nomads” are opting for trips where they can work remotely which cuts down on time off and lost wages. (fewer days holiday to take) With WiFi, desks and work-friendly cafes, travellers can keep up with work while enjoying a cruise vacation.
•Female-Centred Cruising: With the number of female travellers growing, many tourism and travel companies are creating female-centred itineraries based on connecting women with other women. Female-centred cruises can create a female empowerment community at sea while allowing travellers to experience the world around them.
•Going Solo Cruising: With more Google searches for “solo travel” and “travelling alone” than ever before, travelling alone is rising in popularity. Cruising allows for solo travel without the worry while visiting even the most far-reaching destinations and facilitates connecting with other travellers.
If you haven’t even given a cruise a second’s thought, maybe it’s time to give it a go? Pick the right cruise, and you won’t be disappointed.