As the industry grows, cruise lines are finding new ways to appeal to passengers of all ages, with better technology, more exciting destinations and adventures, trendy entertainment (a floating escape room, anyone?), health-centric themes and more.
"There's a cruise for everyone and there's something on every cruise for everyone," says Megan King, senior vice president, global strategic communications and research at Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
Cruise experts weighed in on what's trending now in the world of cruises.
Here's what's new:
- Cruises are making it easy to visit places that can be challenging for travellers.
Expeditions to hard-to-reach places are big draws to cruising. Lots of people cruise to places such as the Antarctic, the Galápagos Islands, Cuba and other off-the-beaten path locales.
Access is the new luxury - people are defining luxury as these individualized experiences to places that their friends don't necessarily get to go.
- Cruise lines are getting more creative with attractions, entertainment and other offerings
Cruisertainment goes well beyond karaoke and shuffleboard these days. Take Go-Karts on a cruise, for example or Escape rooms - those interactive games where you have to solve puzzles and riddles to get out - are also becoming more popular on cruises.
- Technology keeps getting better.
Over the years, the Internet has gotten more reliable and affordable on cruise ships. All of the cruise lines are competing for the title of 'best Internet at sea,' Cruise lines are also experimenting with other technology, such as Princess Cruises' "Ocean Medallion," which is a wearable device that stores your digital identity and allows you to make payments and access your room.
- Health and wellness can be a part of cruising.
Weight Watchers participants can count their points easily on a branded cruise via MSC Cruises, for example, and O, the Oprah Magazine, recently partnered with Holland America to offer trips influenced by Oprah Winfrey that keep wellness at the fore.
- Conscientious cruising is in.
Cruise lines are trying to decrease their carbon footprint. Every major line is moving toward eliminating single-use plastics, such as straws, and most either have ships on order that use liquefied natural gas - a.k.a. LNG, the cleanest-burning fossil fuel - or are looking into doing so in the near future.
- The whole family is going along for the ride.
Travellers are realizing that cruises make a lot of sense for family vacations. A cruise is a good fit for a family because everyone can spend the day doing what they want - mom and dad can go to the spa; the kids can hit the pool or the zip line or the kids club; and if grandparents want to join for a multigenerational trip, they can amuse themselves, too.
Cruising remains hot and it is continuing to grow and with new technology on the horizon passengers can have really great customized service on board. It continues to be a great vacation with great value.