What's next for cruise travel in 2016? CruiseCompete has compiled a list of top cruise trends for the coming year, based on feedback from the company's customers.
1. U.S. River Cruising Steams Ahead
American Queen Steamboat ships and American Cruise Lines’ small-ship cruising along the inland waterways and rivers of the United States will be more popular than ever. Beginning in 2017, Viking Cruises will operate two ships on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, joining American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat Company. These two new Viking ships are the first of six Viking plans to roll out on the Mississippi over a three-year period.
2. Cuba Will Be the Hottest Cruise Destination
Since the U.S. and Cuba have restored diplomatic relations, many people are booking cruises to Cuba based on pent up demand. Largely unchanged since the Cuban Revolution in the late 1950s, and under strict embargo by the U.S. since, a visit to Cuba shows a world largely without commercial advertising, where classic cars are the most popular means of transport.
3. All-Inclusive Is Becoming the Industry Standard
Across the board, cruise lines are going more and more all-inclusive. Although this trend began with the ultra-luxury sector, due to consumer demand more and more of the lines are following suit.
4. Family and Multigenerational Cruises Increase Demand for Suites
Cabins designed for families, such as Royal Caribbean’s Family Connected Junior Suite with Balcony and Norwegian Cruise Line’s The Haven 3-Bedroom Garden Villa are booked way in advance. What do these suites have to offer that make them so desirable for family travel?
Royal Caribbean’s Family Connected Junior Suite with Balcony has special layout that has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a balcony for all your family needs, sleeping 8 to 10 guests. This suite is 575 square feet with a balcony of 216 square feet. In the coming year, Royal Caribbean is also debuting their Royal Suite Class accommodations on Oasis Class and Quantum Class ships, starting May 2016. These Royal Suites will include expansive accommodations designed for a larger group of guests- and with plenty of included amenities.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s The Haven 3-Bedroom Garden Villa luxury suite boasts three separate bedrooms and three full bathrooms plus a half bath. There is a private garden with hot tub, outdoor dining area with terrace, dedicated concierge service, and butler service 24 hours a day. The 3-Bedroom Garden Villa sleeps up to 8 and is up to 5,750 square feet.
5. More Internet and Tech Conveniences
Royal Caribbean will roll out high-speed “Voom” service to all its Caribbean based ships by mid-2016. This service will allow passengers to surf the internet quickly and also use services like music streaming sites and Face Time. This trend is widespread, with more Wi-Fi and apps at sea across many of the lines.
6. Rising Demand for Asia Cruises
From the serenity of ancient temples, to the distinctive culinary flavors, to the thrill of shopping in the lively open-air markets, cruisers long for the combination of exotic sights, sounds, tastes and experiences. The cruise lines hear these requests and are responding. Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises and Star Cruises are putting new ships in Asia – and Asian river cruises are on the rise, too.