The luxury cruise industry is changing, and in their annual Cruise Industry Outlook report, CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) has outlined many of the trends our own experts have been keeping their eye on in 2017.
So, what can we expect from cruising in 2018?
An increase in passengers
25.8 million passengers may have set sail in 2017, but in 2018, CLIA estimates that 27.2 million passengers will embark on seaborne escapes. This tallies with CLIA’s research from July 2017, which stated that 74 per cent of men and 54 per cent of women reported a rise in interest in cruising.
More luxury cruise ships
It feels as though new vessels are announced every day, with 12 new ocean ships due to debut in 2018. These include the spectacular Celebrity Edge, the revolutionary Scenic Eclipse, and the stunning Seabourn Ovation. All promise to turn cruising on its head, offering innovative new features and the ultimate in luxury.
It isn’t enough for passengers to simply sail away and enjoy a relaxing holiday. Now, it is all about the experience, with guests craving cultural immersion, adventure cruises and even voluntourism opportunities. We think that expedition cruises in particular will see a huge rise in popularity during 2018, with Silversea expanded its expedition fleet and launching the once-in-a-lifetime Couture Collection.
A focus on sustainability
It is no secret that the environment isn’t always at the forefront of some cruise lines’ minds, but we are so pleased to see that sustainability at sea has made its way into the spotlight. Hapag-Lloyd’s MS Bremen was one of the first passenger ships in the world to receive a Polar Ship Certificate, while Celebrity Cruises announced a new ship, Celebrity Flora, which will have minimal impact on the environment with a 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and fewer air emissions.
Colder climates gain popularity
Luxury cruise destinations like Alaska have already seen a rise in popularity, but the next 12 months are predicted to see even more demand for voyages in colder climate destinations. Why not embark on an expedition cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic, or pair an Alaskan voyage with a journey on-board the iconic Rocky Mountaineer train?
Cruise holidays might have a reputation for indulgence and weight gain, but cruise lines are now tailoring their menus to suit the growing number of health-conscious passengers. Wellness talks, exercise classes, spa packages and healthy recipes are now on the menu for those who step on-board, while guests with allergies and special dietary requirements now have more choice than ever.
The on-board experience now extends to technology, with CLIA predicting a rise in traveller-friendly on-board tech in 2018. Many luxury cruise ships already include things like in-room iMacs and interactive screens on each deck, making it easier than ever to navigate your way around an unfamiliar ship, make reservations and even edit your holiday snaps.
We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings, but what about you? What are you most excited about seeing on your cruise ship over the coming months? Let us know using the comment box below.