5 travel trends set to influence cruise travellers in 2024 and beyond

MSC Cruise ship docks at its private island. Picture: Supplied.

MSC Cruise ship docks at its private island. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jan 5, 2024


When it comes to cruise voyager insights, city trips and multi-destination vacations are more popular than ever as holidaymakers look for the ultimate experience-value return.

MSC Cruises, the world’s third largest cruise brand, revealed some of the important travel trends that are driving guest holiday decisions for 2024 and beyond.

According to the cruise line, there has been a heightened demand for products that offer extended stays in destinations, holidays rich in cultural experiences, upgraded adventures with touches of luxury, sustained enthusiasm for Europe’s vibrant cities, and guests looking for the biggest experience-value return.

According to MSC Cruises, here are five travel trends set to influence cruisers in 2024 and beyond:

Linger for longer

Cruise travellers are increasingly expressing a desire for more time in their destinations, and itineraries with extended or overnight port calls are gaining popularity.

“This extra time ensures guests can truly explore their destinations in an authentic and leisurely way, allowing enough time to soak up unique cultures, savour local flavours and explore everything a destination has to offer,” said MSC.

The cruise line said that many of its 2024 itineraries feature full-day or overnight stays in highly sought-after destinations, including the Greek Island of Mykonos, Dubai in the UAE, and the line’s own private island in The Bahamas – Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.

“These extended stays allow ample time for guests to explore at their own leisure, whether it’s relaxing in the slow pace of life in the Greek islands, shopping in one of the world’s fashion hubs, or taking in an after-dark lighthouse show in The Bahamas,” said MSC.

Cultural exploration

According to MSC Cruises, the new year sees a heightened eagerness among travellers to explore diverse cultures and experience new destinations.

“Travellers are no longer content with just visiting well-known tourist attractions; instead, they seek to experience destinations in a way that reflects the local lifestyle,” it said.

In 2024, MSC Cruises will offer itineraries to trending destinations that are full of rich cultural heritage and history to discover around every corner.

“MSC Bellissima will sail in Asia, giving guests the chance to explore the art, history and traditions along with the present-day vitality of Japan and China,” said the cruise line.

“For those who want to experience the Middle East, MSC Virtuosa will sail the region with stops in cultural hubs including Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE and Doha in Qatar.”

“While those eager to dive into the unique history and traditions of Scandinavia and the Baltic region can opt for a cruise on MSC Poesia next summer,” said the cruise line.

Upgraded experiences

Globally, travellers are increasingly seeking more exclusive and luxurious experiences, aiming to transform their annual holiday into truly unforgettable and indulgent adventures that result in lifelong memories.

“Addressing this desire, MSC Cruises offers the MSC Yacht Club – an elevated cruising experience within the ship,” said MSC Cruises.

“First introduced in 2008, this concept has gained immense popularity, leading to its expansion across 14 of the line’s ships.”

The cruise line said that guests in the MSC Yacht Club can take advantage of everything from 24-hour butler service and lavish suites, to private lounges and a dedicated high-end restaurant.

They can also benefiting from easy access to the array of entertainment, dining options and facilities offered throughout the rest of the ship.

European city escapes

MSC Cruises highlighted that travellers are more enthusiastic than ever to delve into the vibrant cities of Europe and these urban destinations offer a well-rounded appeal, featuring an abundance of historic sights, culinary experiences, diverse shopping options, renowned attractions, and immersive opportunities to engage with local culture.

“MSC Cruises is the market leader in Europe, providing a growing number of itineraries that allow guests to explore a variety of different active urban hubs all on one journey without the need to repack their suitcase,” they said.

“From the iconic landmarks of Paris (Le Havre), London (Southampton), and Amsterdam in Northern Europe to the historical vibrancy of Rome and Barcelona in the Mediterranean, MSC Cruises delivers an unparalleled exploration of Europe’s dynamic urban landscapes.”

Ultimate experience-value return

The cruise line said that cruising is gaining popularity among those who have never sailed before, with more Gen X and millennials considering taking a cruise holiday for the first time.

“More and more individuals are recognising the inherent value of a cruise holiday compared to alternative land-based options,” said MSC Cruises.

Couples, families or groups of friends can choose itineraries containing multiple must-see destinations.”

The cruise line said that those who sail with MSC Cruises can tailor their time ashore with a plethora of different shore excursions, to really see the best of a destination.

These include being back on board and seamlessly transitioning between a different dining venue for each meal.

Other options include seeing a different full-scale theatre production each evening and relaxing in outstanding wellness facilities – all with unbeatable value.