Approximately 22 million people are expected to take a cruise this year, But while cruising is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry, only about one in four Americans has ever taken a cruise - as compared to three out of four who have taken a beach vacation. So how are cruise lines going to attract all these cruise “newbies”? And, more importantly, cruise lines are struggling to attract millennials and younger cruisers who feel that cruising belongs to their parents' generation. Here is a roundup of the most exciting cruise trends that major cruise lines have invested in in order to attract a new crowd:
Entertainment Acts with Recognizable Names
Younger “would-be” cruisers aren’t typically interested in Broadway shows and oldies cover bands - the previous mainstay of cruises. They just don’t appeal because its dated, and this concerns millennials as they are worried there won’t be enough to do onboard. So cruise lines are looking to change this with the introduction of major mainstream pop, country and rock acts like Jennifer Hudson, Lady Antebellum and Tony Award-winning musical performances.
Broadening Global Horizons
In the search for new itineraries and destinations that will appeal to a broader global audience, U.S. cruise lines are turning toward Asia. More ships are being sent to Asia for dedicated saplings, and the newest Royal Caribbean ship “Quantum of the Seas” will be positioned out of Shanghai. Cruise lines are looking to give North Americans more destination choices, and to capture the burgeoning Australian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese markets. Interested in seeing major international cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok and Tokyo. River cruise lines are also investing in Asia making it easy to traverse the complex waterways of China, Vietnam and Cambodia.
More Food Options
In a world where you can order your dinner delivered hot and fresh via a smartphone app, many potential cruisers worry about lackluster buffets. So cruise lines have started to partner with celebrity chefs to contemporize their menus and options: Carnival has partnered with Guy Fieri to launch on-ship burger joints, Norwegian has a partnership with the Cake Boss and Royal Caribbean has ties to Jamie Oliver and Michael Schwartz.
Faster, Cheaper Wi-Fi
Connecting to the web on a cruise ship hasn’t always been easy. For years the cruise lines message to passengers was that cruising is a great way to disconnect. However, in this day and age it’s an unthinkable concept. Besides traveling with laptops, most cruisers bring smartphones and tablets with them and want to be able to connect with the outside world and share their experiences during the cruise.
The cruise lines have taken notice and are quickly investing in improving their infrastructure dramatically. Starting with the newer ships, faster and more affordable options are being rolled out which is great news for everyone. Expect cheaper internet access in the future, as well as 3rd party smartphone apps that will work at sea to help passengers connect with one another as easily as they would on shore.