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These are among some of the trends predicted to define the cruising industry in 2015 by experts at Cruise Critic, which calls itself the world’s largest online cruise resource.
Editor-in-chief Carolyn Spencer Brown notes that the cruise industry is beginning to model itself after the traditional land resort, in which guests pay a base rate for their room and can tack add-ons to their vacation package.
Likewise, cruise lines are getting creative and developing innovative add-on features to enrich the cruising experience, a strategy meant to woo first-time cruisers who are already comfortable with the scheme.
“Where cruising has the advantage is in the number of inclusions already part of the base cruise fare ― lodging, meals, entertainment ― so it's exciting to see lines focusing on improving the basics and adding more options,” Brown said.
Here are some of the trends expected to make waves in 2015:
Standard cruise vacations are being enriched with creative add-ons like unique dining experiences, land excursions and private lessons to help build more personalised experiences for cruisers. Crystal Cruises, for instance, has created a half-day excursion for “Game of Thrones” fans that takes guests to key filming locations in Northern Ireland.
While January-March has traditionally been the high season for scoring cruise deals, expect to see deals outside the sale period.
While high-speed internet has been a challenge for the industry, cruise lines have been working frantically to try and deliver faster, more reliable service for their highly connected customers, notably their millennial and Gen X base. Recently, Carnival Corporation announced that it had found a way to bring high-speed internet to their ships thanks to a hybrid network that taps into land, air and sea.
Cruise lines are recognising that solo travelers make up a coveted market with disposable income to spend, such as PANKs, “Professional Aunt, No Kids.” Expect more cruise lines to build packages to cater to the single traveller, either by eliminating the traditional single supplement, or by creating special lounges for the singles onboard.
Onboard entertainment is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Cruise lines are tapping Grammy award-winning artists, and staging Broadway and Cirque-style shows for cruisers with sophisticated tastes.
Cruise Critic is a subsidiary of TripAdvisor. ― AFP-Relaxnews