Boutique Travel PR Agency Highlights Top Five Post Covid-19 Cruise Travel Trends
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the cruise industry has played a major role in the global economy through job opportunities and high growth rates in terms of financial performance. After nearly a two-year drought, cruise lines are embarking on international ports of call, despite some obstacles, such as the emergence of new strains of the Covid-19 virus and its variants.
“CLIA (Cruise Lines Industry Association) forecasts passenger numbers will not only meet but exceed pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023. And according to Cruise Industry News' cruise ship orderbook for ocean-going vessels, nearly 40 new ships are lined up to debut this year alone, with more than 75 vessels on order through 2027,” according to CNN.
Cruising is undoubtedly back, albeit with a somewhat revamped look and feel. In addition to the ongoing pandemic-driven protocols, such as proof of vaccination or fulfilling testing requirements before and after embarkation, there will be several slightly different approaches to ensure the wellbeing of everyone onboard, and by extension, the population of all the destination spots.
Allen Marketing Communications, Inc., a boutique travel and lifestyle public relations agency based in New York City, spotlights the top five cruise trends to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Enhanced Contactless Experience
Now, more than ever, digital experiences are vital for the future of cruise lines as we emerge from the COVID pandemic. Granted, cruise lines have already begun employing the use of technology onboard, such as touchless payments and QR codes for menus.
Before embarking, you can expect to check in for the cruise ahead of time. Boarding passes will be available on your phone, and in combination with staggered arrivals, this will help speed up the boarding process.
“Smartphones and wearable tech like bracelets or medallions now commonly double as boarding passes and keycards; some wearable devices even allow guests to track traveling companions onboard,” according to CNN
Most, if not all, major cruise lines feature their own mobile apps. The more modernly designed apps offer key cards for cabin unlocking capabilities, tracking devices for kids, real-time visibility into venues.
Select cruise lines now feature numerous booking options to reserve dining and shore experiences, as well as booking spa treatments, shows, and activities with the tap of a screen.
Unique Cruise Opportunities
Recently, there’s been an increase in the cruise industry offering unique cruise experiences. Women-centered cruises are largely becoming common, with activities ranging from panel discussions to visiting businesses operated by other women.
“Women can travel in many ways, some of which include themed cruises, singles cruises, LGBT cruises, luxury cruises, party cruises, and relaxation. Although they are unique options available to women-centered cruises, these themed options are offered generally as well,” according to CruiseBooking.com.
Solo trips are increasingly common, and for solo cruisers, it definitely costs a pretty penny, which can make it difficult when you have a tight budget. In response, cruise lines are offering special discounts and are even now designing a stateroom for one.
Food and Beverages
This rising trend stems from focusing on dispersing cruisers to dine throughout the ship, which in this new era, future cruisers can expect to see an emphasis on. Majority of newly designed ships provide a wide range of venue choices, which will now include more specialty restaurants that either have a set per-person price or are available a la carte.
“The dining packages, which will vary in price and options across cruise lines, allow the cruisers to prepay for the specialty restaurants, to avoid the stress of paying the bill at the end of a relaxing venture.,” according to Travel Weekly.
Cruises are stepping up to the plate with healthier options on the menu that offer everyone something to enjoy. “The goal is to emphasize wellness and healthy eating, while cutting back on unnecessary fats and calories.,” according to CruiseBooking.com
Passengers can expect the self-service buffet to be replaced with a staff-served buffet, and many even offer a variety of complimentary locations on the ship!
The luxury expedition cruising market is expected to have its most successful year this year. Even before the pandemic, data shows that cruisers demonstrated a strong preference for a smaller and a more intimate ship experience.
Although this option is on the pricier end, these smaller vessels can visit exotic, must-see destinations, otherwise inaccessible to larger cruise ships.
This is great news because this means smaller expedition ships will account for fewer crowds, which will keep port cities steady afloat and mitigate over tourism.
In addition, future cruisers can expect more “cruise line private island calls and off-season destination options,” according to Travel Weekly. Get ready to show off your hot vacation spots this winter.
Array of Onboard Experiences
In recent years, large cruise lines have perfected the superior experience: a ship-within-a-ship! This concept combines the lavish and cozy atmosphere of small expedition voyages with the attractions of big commercial cruise liners.
Features can include private sun terraces, garden rooftops, pools and decks, bars, restaurants, and lounges with round-the-clock butler service reserved just for passengers staying within. Most of these exclusive ship areas are built with keycard access-only. As mentioned earlier, all this is dependent on the ship and the cruise company itself.
For those who are just looking to build excitement for their first cruise, you can expect an infinity pool on almost every cruise line! Some ships will even feature a cantilevered pool, which refers to a pool that just out over the edge, which in this case is a ship.
“Other onboard activities will expand to entertain passengers with trivia nights, cooking classes, wine-tasting, rope courses, etc. Select lines are looking to arrange conferences and seminars.,” according to CruiseBooking.com.
This is perfect for networking opportunities and elevating your education if you love to travel, but can’t seem to stay away from work or school.
By Rania Perales at Allen Marketing Communications, Inc.
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