Eleven Cruise Trends for 2019
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released its 2019 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report predicting social media and restorative travel as top cruise travel trends in the coming year.
1. Instagrammable Cruise Travel: Instagram posts are driving interest in travel around the world, so much so that on an average day, there can be close to 351 million posts with the tag #travel.
2. Total Restoration: Cruise passengers are seeking ways to take a break from daily responsibilities and rejuvenate more than ever before. Cruise lines are responding by offering total wellness in the form of restorative spa experiences, onboard oxygen bars, healthy menu choices for a wide variety of diets and the latest in fitness innovations.
3. Achievement Over Experience: Experiential travel has evolved into achievement travel 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.
4. On Board with Smart Tech: Cruise lines have adopted wearable technology for cruise passengers including keychains, necklaces and bracelets in order to provide a highly personalized travel experience while on and off the ship.
5. Conscious Travel: 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.
6. Access is the New Luxury: 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.
7. Gen Z at Sea: Generation Z 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. The appeal of multiple destinations and unique experiences, such as music festivals at sea, is helping attract this new generation of cruisers.
8. Off-Peak Adventures: The off-peak season is rising in popularity, with passengers looking to escape the cold in a tropical place or embrace the chill in a new destination. Cruising offers a range of experiences during the colder months including excursions to see the Northern Lights, visits to a penguin colony and tours to European Christmas Markets.
9. Working Nomads: Combining work with leisure time is on the rise. Straying far from the notion of device-free travel, many modern travelers or “digital nomads” are opting for trips where they can work remotely which cuts down on time off and lost wages. With WiFi, desks and work-friendly cafes, travelers can keep up with work while enjoying a cruise vacation.
10. Female-Centered Cruising: With the number of female travelers growing, many tourism and travel companies are creating female-centered itineraries based on connecting women with other women. Female-centered cruises can create a female empowerment community at sea while allowing travelers to experience the world around them as well as visit famous feminist landmarks.
11. Going Solo: With more Google searches for “solo travel” and “traveling alone” than ever before, traveling alone is rising in popularity. Cruising allows for solo travel without the worry of arranging a ton of details while visiting even the most far-reaching destinations and facilitates connecting with other travelers.
Outlook by The Numbers
The cruise industry is projected to continue to grow throughout 2019 with an estimated 30 million travelers expected to cruise, up six percent from 28.2 million in 2018. Cruise travel continues to grow and contribute to the overall global economy, and more than eight out of 10 CLIA-certified travel agents are expecting to see a rise in cruise sales in the next 12 months.
In the coming year, 18 new ships are on order from CLIA cruise lines. A total of 272 CLIA-member cruise ships are projected to be in operation by June 2019.
The cruise industry continues to make a positive impact on communities around the globe by sustaining 1,108,676 jobs equaling $45.6 billion in wages and salaries and $134 billion total output worldwide in 2017.