Tuesday Briefing: Luxury Cruise Lines Continue to Grow

Seabourn Encore
The launch of Seabourn Encore (pictured) is just the latest development in luxury cruises.

Today in the travel industry we’ve got our eyes on luxury cruises. Crystal is continuing its major brand expansion with the official start of construction for two of its new river cruise ships, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel. The new ships will set sail in Europe in spring 2018 in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Hungary. The new ships are just the latest step in Crystal’s expansion, which has seen the company launch the new Crystal Esprit luxury yacht, as well as new luxury air itineraries set to take flight this year. Plans also call for the launch of new Crystal Exclusive Class Polar ice-rated cruise ships. 

In ocean news, Seabourn Encore, the first new all-suite ship from Seabourn since 2011, is sailing on its inaugural voyage. Protravel International Director of Cruise Sales Marni Becker had a chance to check out the new ship during its recent naming ceremony over the weekend. Guests on the new vessel can expect the new The Retreat private cabana area, as well as two new restaurants: The Grill by Thomas Keller and Sushi

According to a report by travel aggregator CruiseCompete, the new ships are just the latest luxury trend hitting the waves this year and beyond. Soon luxury travelers could have a private robot butler in their cabin, a feature already being piloted in a Los Angeles luxury apartment building opening this year. Other notable trends include new mobile apps and room keys (think Carnival Corp.’s recently-announced Ocean Medallion class), plus new, experiential offerings on the ship and ashore. 

If you’re looking to build your luxury sales this year, don’t miss the latest column from Ruthanne Terrero. She breaks down a panel from our recent Travel Industry Exchange event in which Ken Neibaur from Worldview Travel and David Rubin from DavidTravel talked how to break in to this booming niche. 

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