Cruises are more popular than ever before. Every year new ships with exciting innovations and even more additional highlights set sail. That’s why often the motto is: The ship is the destination! In other words, often it is not so much about where you go, but how you travel. Therefore, many cruise companies move in new directions in order to appeal to passengers of all ages – with creative design concepts, new attractions, extensive entertainment and better technology. Itineraries to special and exciting places are as much part of the effort, as theme cruises, which range from musically-oriented and culinary trips to sports and wellness cruises. Not all companies build new ships, however, some just modernise their ships and fleet to adapt to the guests’ needs.
We are going to introduce you to some of the trends, destinations and vessels that promise exciting cruises in 2019.
Special destinations thanks to smaller ships
Although over the last couple of years we could observe a trend towards building bigger ships, some of next year’s newly built ships, as well as the ordered ones, will be relatively small. That does not mean that cruise companies will only build smaller vessels, they will not in fact, but a trend for some companies becomes observable. Thanks to relatively little numbers of passengers, the atmosphere is mostly relaxed and familiar. Because of their size they can visit places and call at ports that bigger ships simply cannot call at, for example the Viking Jupiter. Remote locations, such as Antarctica, Greenland, and the Galapagos Islands or smaller ports like St. Barth or Portofino are just as popular nowadays as Amazon expeditions. Another great example is Saga Group’s Spirit of Discovery. Being built for the British market, the ship combines comfort and luxury within a smaller space for up to 999 guests. The ships’ design is rather that of a hotel than a cruise ship.
Experience nature with expedition cruises
If you have certain destinations in mind already, expedition cruises give you the opportunity to discover all the exciting places. Those type of cruises enable us to visit places that are otherwise hard to visit. One of the few expedition vessels in 2019 is the Celebrity Flora by Celebrity Cruises. The ship will cruise around the Galapagos Islands. Besides the library aboard, guests can find and take part in talks, presentations and events that mostly deal with the archipelago. The environmentally friendly interior shows how important sustainability is to Celebrity Cruises. The Flora is just one of many great examples that bring you closer to astonishing places.
Detail-oriented service on luxury cruises
Nowadays, when we talk about luxury cruises one would not define it by magnificent dining rooms and tasteful salons. Luxury is much more, it means small, innovative ships paired with unusual destinations outside of the mass flow. The cherry on top is the slowing down thanks to longer overnight stays in the harbours. Depending on one’s preferences, themed cruises, such as culinary trips or star-cooking, could also complete the luxury cruise concept.
Due to high demand, other cruise companies also focus on areas of higher standards. One of the additions to the Spectrum of the Seas, for example, is the exclusive, suite-only area on decks 13 to 16. A special key card does not only grant access to a private elevator, but the deck has its own restaurant and lounge.
New sustainability technologies
Sustainability in general is a theme that has come up even more in recent years, so it won’t surprise you that it is increasingly gaining importance for cruise companies. Going green is not a 2019 cruise trend, but rather a trend over the next few years where there will be many LNG (liquefied natural gas) powered vessels setting sail for the first time. MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean are making some of the most noteworthy investments to become more environmentally friendly. However, sustainability does not only show in form of LNG fueled vessels, but also in other factors. One example of that is the Celebrity Flora, which has an interior that takes into account its cruise environment, namely the Galapagos Islands.
Whether it’s enjoying first-class ballet performances on the open ocean, discussing current events with Oprah Winfrey or diving into the world of culinary arts with Claudine Pépin, the world of event cruises is diverse and growing. Live performances by entertainers, dancers, and celebrity chefs make a themed cruise a truly unique experience. Event cruises are becoming increasingly popular, which is why cruise lines are getting more creative. Besides the great entertainment, celebrities aboard are also a factor why event cruises are so popular. The ships godmother or godfather, as well as other famous guests and artists involved in the christening, often stay for the whole duration of the trip.
If you want to learn more about event cruises 2019, you can read more here.
Design – more than a cruise trend 2019
Design is one of the main factors as to why the ship is sometimes more important than the destination and that makes sense – guests spend a lot of time on the ship when on a cruise, so they want to feel comfortable. Of course, newly built ships follow a modern design approach, but many cruise lines modernise their fleet. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jade was modernised in 2017, after being at sea for eleven years. The cruise line took 400 million us-dollar to modernise its fleet. Oceania Cruises modernises its fleet as part of its OceaniaNEXT program according to the motto “better than new”, especially focusing on passengers’ suggestions. Whether modernising the fleet or building a new ship, a lot of cruise lines work with famous designers to provide the highest level of design.
Many generations on one ship
Cruise companies have something up their sleeve for families planning to travel in 2019. Bigger cruise ships normally offer facilities and entertainment for every age group. Therefore, the fact that not only parents and their children, but also grandparents and their grandchildren go on a cruise together, seems logical. People have different interests, so there is plenty of time to try out many things with the family, however, there is also enough time to have some time alone. Generally speaking, the bigger the ship, the better the variety of entertainment for children of all age groups – from a child club to the teens club. Adults can use the time to relax at the pool deck or in the spa, while the grandparents enjoy shows and lounges aboard.
The Spectrum of the Seas offers the new Ultimate Family Suite, which has room for up to 11 guests. The Carnival Panorama offers spacious rooms in their so-called “Family Harbour” with enough space for the whole family. Another fun activity for the younger guests is the waterpark. Aboard the Sky Princess, parents can relax in the spa, while the children can enjoy the teenage playground Camp Discovery.
Attractions and entertainment aboard
For the longest time shuffleboard and karaoke used to be the entertainment highlights. Nowadays guests are in search of more thrill and excitement. Go Karting, laser tag, and escape rooms are popular. The Spectrum of the Seas promises new attractions: Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s first ship of the Quantum Ultra Class created a virtual bungee trampoline experience with their Sky Pad, which promises fun and thrill. The Carnival Panorama gets its guests in airy heights: The “bike gondolas” connect sports with a fantastic view over the sea. On board the Norwegian Encore by Norwegian Cruise Line there are certain highlights, such as the 300-metre-long go kart track and a laser tag area. Guests that love sports really are going to appreciate the climbing wall or the running track. The 800-seat theatre ensures entertainment with its nightly 2 shows, for example the Broadway hits of the Four Seasons. Generally, guests are increasingly interested in musical and cultural programs. In this regard MSC Cruises agreed on a very interesting cooperation. Aboard the new MSC Bellissima 2 Cirque du Soleil shows, specifically created for the vessel, are a highlight that one needs to see when on a cruise with the ship.
Internet at sea
Of course, you want to share your cruise with the people you love, whether that is some of your most beautiful experiences, the best food or simply show them your room via FaceTime or Skype. A properly functioning internet connection is becoming increasingly important nowadays. That’s why affordable internet packages are an important criterion when evaluating your different cruise alternatives. Cruise companies know that, and technology improves. Over the last years internet has become more reliable and cheaper. Cruise companies like Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean offer special internet packages, so you can be sure that your connection is fast enough to even stream your favourite tv shows.