Cruise holidays have increased in popularity year-on-year, and though coronavirus has currently thrust the industry into a momentary blip, the future looks bright for cruises. Once upon a time, cruise holiday may have seemed “boring” to some, a leisurely experience aimed at an older generation.
However, this perception is set to change with ships embracing the modern age.
From on board technology to cruise lines aimed at adventure, exploration and ever partying, the industry is set to expand and welcome a new range of guests to set sail for the first time.
Emma Le Teace is a cruise blogger and the force behind Cruising Isn’t Just for Old People. She is also shortlisted for Favourite Cruise Blogger at The Wave Awards 2020.
Speaking to express.co.uk she explained why, as a young person, she is passionate about the industry and how she thinks it is set to change the way a new audience of cruisers holiday.
“Year on year the number of young people cruising is increasing,” she says.
“The cruise industry is constantly evolving and offering new and exciting products to potential cruisers.
“Technology is changing every stage of the cruise process from the pre-cruise booking of activities to the onboard managing of onboard accounts.”
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Indeed, cruise lines such as Celebrity Cruises are embracing modern technology as a way to boost passenger experience.
The addition of facial recognition technology to its revamped Celebrity Silhouette ship means that guests will now benefit from a “frictionless terminal experience and expedited boarding.” Plus the Celebrity Cruise’s mobile app will boast a guest-to-guest chat feature and, for the first time, the introduction of digital room keys.
Meanwhile, its Celebrity Apex ship boasts an incredible floating deck known as the “magic carpet”.
The deck offers stunning ocean views and space for diners to eat in style.
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“The cruise experience is also becoming increasingly flexible with an emphasis being placed on flexible dining and the limiting of dress codes,” says Emma.
Whereas many cruises once instilled dress codes for certain times of day, or even for the duration of the journey, this Is becoming more relaxed with newer ships.
What’s more, cruise lines are beginning to open up new eateries run by celebrity chefs, offering everything from formal, foreign cuisine and champagne bars to chilled out sports lounges, sushi joints and burger bars.
“The cruise industry has become more and more flexible over the last few years when it comes to dining and dress codes,” continues Emma.
“Most cruise lines have removed enforced dress codes replacing them instead with a dress code suggestion. Passengers don’t have to take part in formal nights or dress up if they don’t want to and the dress codes are rarely enforced in areas other than the main dining room.
“Fixed dining times are becoming less popular with an emphasis being placed on freestyle or anytime dining. This gives guests more choice when it comes to planning their evenings on board as they can eat whenever they would like.”
Cruise: According to Emma, cruises are attracting younger travellers year on year
On board activities are also seeing diversity, with cruise lines such as Celebrity Cruises introducing world-famous fitness classes – in Celebrity Apex’s case ran by F45. Meanwhile, there’s something for thrill-seekers too, with Norwegian Joy boasting an onboard racetrack and Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas home to the longest waterslide at sea.
This diversified offering is also being seen in the introduction of new styles of cruises entering the waters.
Virgin Voyages is the latest venture for Sir Richard Branson and is set to shake up the industry as the new cool and edgy ship to be on.
The Scarlett Lady is the first ship to be unveiled by Virgin Voyages, and though its inaugural sailing has been temporarily postponed, it promises a celebrity experience for guests on board.
Not only does the cruise ship offer countless eateries, luxury accommodation, spa treatments and internment, but it will also be home to its own tattoo parlour, as well as champagne delivery service.
Virgin cruisers will also get to enjoy a stint on the ship’s private Bahamian Island, where they could rub shoulders with celebrities.
In a bid to capture the hearts of a young, party-centric audience, Branson has teamed up with musical stars such as Mark Ronson and DJ Diplo who will perform at exclusive parities for holidaymakers.
“Increased diversification within the cruise industry is a great thing for potential passengers,” says Emma.
“More players in the market mean more competition and overall a higher quality of cruise product for consumers.
“An increased number of options also means that potential cruisers can pick a cruise line that suits their needs best.”
However, while initially, ticket costs may seem high, Emma points out that they are actually great value for money, and this could be one of the main draws for younger holidaymakers.
“Cruises are not only an easy way to travel but they also provide great value for money,” she explains.
“Included within a cruise fare is accommodation, transport, food and entertainment, when compared to a land-based resort cruising often makes more financial sense and offers a lot more.”
She continues: “Cruising is fun, easy and great value for money.
“Younger people are increasingly wanting to travel, and cruising is a fantastic way to do this, on a cruise it’s possible to visit a new country every day it would be difficult, and expensive, to do an equivalent trip on land.
“The value for money aspect of cruising is becoming increasingly apparent and cruising is no longer seen as being just for the wealthy.
“The number of families, young adults and passengers travelling alone is higher than ever.
“MSC Cruises have one of the highest percentages of family passengers with almost one-third of people on MSC cruise ships travelling in family groups.”
Whether its a luxury spa experience, an adventure in the arctic, or dancing the night away in a Hollywood-style nightclub, the industry is changing, and a cruise no longer means just one type of holiday.