Nine Cruise Trends that will Shape 2018

cruise ship
file photo

By The Maritime Executive 12-16-2017 08:20:21

The Cruise Lines International Association has released its 2018 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, highlighting nine key industry trends:

All Budgets Will Cruise

Almost all income brackets are cruising. A third of the cruisers surveyed who have taken a cruise within the past three years, have a household income less than $80,000. While the data shows cruising does skew a bit more to the affluent consumer than other types of vacations, the report indicates almost all levels of income enjoy cruise vacations.

Transformational Cruise Travel 

The next evolution of experiential travel sees travelers taking a step further and seeking transformational experiences. From cultural immersion and “voluntourism” to extreme adventures, those returning from a cruise will have shift in perspective and a sense of accomplishment. 

Sustainability at Sea

In the coming year there with be an even greater focus on sustainable tourism. Travelers can look forward participating in sustainable practices both onboard and off from recycling and waste management to popular “voluntourism” initiatives that focus on creating a positive environmental and social impact at destinations around the globe.

Millennials Take to the River

River and small ship cruising continues to gain traction among travelers, specifically with Millennials. With ever-expanding itineraries and destination experiences that reach far beyond walking and coach tours and endless options for the perfect “Instagram moment,” the younger generation is embracing river cruising.

Skip-Gen Cruising 

Multigenerational cruising is projected to increase in popularity, as forecasted by CLIA’s Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook in April 2017. But there’s a twist: “skip-generation” trips, with grandparents and grandchildren traveling together without their parents, are predicted to be highly popular in 2018 and beyond.

Travelers Warm to Chilly Destinations

The coming year is projected to see an increase in popularity of colder climate destinations including the Baltics, Canada, Alaska and Antarctica. With an array of unique excursion options, from penguin watching to ice fishing, these winter wonder destinations are drawing in both new and repeat cruise travelers.

Healthy Doses 

Travelers are seeking health and wellness trips more than ever before and the cruise industry is responding with services and experiences for the mind and body. Today’s cruise travelers can participate in onboard health wellness seminars led by popular health experts, custom fitness programs, stress management and spa services. There are also entire cruise itineraries dedicated to weight management and healthy living including Weight Watchers cruises and menus for a variety of dietary needs from diabetic-friendly to plant-based.

Smart Travel Technology

The coming year there will be a rise in traveler-friendly onboard technologies. Several cruise lines are introducing wearable technology for cruise guests that provide a personalized and seamless experience while on board. Ranging from keychains to bracelets to necklaces and more, wearable technology on cruises interacts with sensors on the ship in order to do everything from turning the lights on as a cruiser approaches their cabin to acting as a security agent.

Tapping Travel Agents 

Travel agents continue to see a steady demand from consumers in planning and executing vacations. Some of the largest factors behind continued popularity of travel agents are ease of planning, valued expertise and affordability.