Cruising is Becoming More Trendy, More Luxurious and More Popular: Here’s HowNovember 2nd, 2018 by Holly Godbey | Comments Off on Cruising is Becoming More Trendy, More Luxurious and More Popular: Here’s How
Surely you remember when luxury liners were the crown jewel of the luxury travel world. Cruises were desirable — you could dine, drink, dance and play all in the same place, while stopping off at exotic, scenic locales. For one or two short weeks a year, you could live the exciting life of a nomad abroad, and do it in style.
However, as with many aspects of luxury travel, efforts to cut costs and attract a wider audience cheapened the experience, turning it into something no more special than a weekend at Disney World. Fine dining turned into subpar buffets, top-flight entertainment devolved into a gaggle of faded pop stars and cover bands, and the exotic destinations turned into the same old overcrowded tourist traps you’d rather avoid when “getting away” is the top priority.
If you haven’t been on a cruise for a while, you might think this is still the norm. We are happy to report that it’s all changing for the better. Elite cruise lines now recognize an underserved cruising market — the original luxury traveler.
“Luxury accommodations and unique experiences are becoming more and more commonplace on cruise ships, as more cruise lines recognize they can serve high-end luxury travelers — the business leaders and retirees looking for an uncommon vacation,” says Jason Hartman, founder of Platinum Properties Investor Network. The globetrotting businessman is always in a new destination, exploring the latest trends in luxury and business travel.
“Now you can take a river cruise in Europe that includes royalty-led tours of palaces; you can meet Michelin-starred restauranteurs while cruising in South America; you can even raft your way around Antarctica, if you’re looking for an adventure like no other.”
According to the 2018 cruising outlook report produced by Cruise Lines International Association, 27.2 million travelers are expected to cruise this year, across nearly 500 available cruise ships, including 27 that made their debut just this season.
What are these cruise lines doing to attract all of these travelers? They’re making cruising trendier, more luxurious and more popular in the process. Here’s how.
It’s All About the Luxury Travel Experience
Transformational travel is a big luxury trend right now. Transformational travel refers to any kind of travel experience intended to “transform” you in some way, whether through a meditation and yoga retreat, cultural immersion or voluntourism.
Many cruise lines are definitely upping the ante when it comes to cultural immersion opportunities. For example, Azamara Club Cruises (the luxury travel leg of the more budget-friendly Royal Caribbean brand) now offers an itinerary that includes dining in the oldest inhabited house in the Americas, seated at the table with a 17th-generation member of the family who built the house in 1536.
Technology is Key
Whether you travel for business or pleasure, you’ve experienced the ways technology is shaping the experience. From using your smartphone for mobile check-in and then as your room key, to expecting a smart TV and a complimentary iPad in your room, the best properties offer the hottest technology.
Jason Hartman jumps in with an example. “In years past, communicating with the outside world while cruising was nearly impossible. If the office tried to call you from back home, they’d pay an exorbitant amount to reach the ship, then you’d be paged and hopefully found in order to take the call. Now cruise lines provide fast, stable Wi-Fi service so you can stay in touch with the office, with family and social media, with no delay.”
The tech amenities don’t end there. Many lines have their own apps, just like hotels, for handling payments, scheduling spa appointments, securing dinner reservations and more. Digital signage is commonplace and touch screens provide instant information at your fingertips.
This is Hardly Key West or Nassau
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with Key West or Nassau, these cruise ship ports can be an undesirable mess. Hundreds of travelers flock off the ship for a few hours of play, before all crowding back on at the same time. Plus, you’ve probably already seen the best of the Florida Keys and Bahamas. You want to see something new and exciting.
Cruise lines and cruising providers from Princess to Regent to Ritz-Carlton are continuously adding new destinations that provide unprecedented experiences. As Jason Hartman mentioned above, Antarctica is a readily available cruising destination if you so desire. From riverside European hamlets to the remote villages of Polynesia, if you want to get there, a cruise is most likely your best bet.
Ready to Give Cruising Another Try?
If you haven’t been on a cruise in recent years, you’ll be surprised how far the industry has gone to win back the luxury travel market. Whatever your travel style — all leisure, all adventure, retirees only, or the perfect family getaway — you can find a cruise line that delivers. Regardless of the destination you have your eye on, from Cambodia to Colombia, a cruise could be the right ticket.