It is difficult to keep up with the trends in cruising, I know. There's always something new and exciting happening. Here are my top 5 recent trends in cruising (both river and ocean cruises).
1. Upgraded Onboard Dining – Back in the day, there was typically only two options for dining onboard a cruiseship – either the buffet or the main dining room – and the food was mediocre at best. My, how things have changed! Not only are you finding celebrity chef restaurants (Jamie Oliver, Jacques Pepin and Thomas Keller to name just a few) but “farm-to-table” inspired venues and an emphasis on fresh produce is growing. There are also unique options like molecular gastronomy restaurants and robot bartenders (!). The trend also continues in the bars where specially crafted cocktails, fine international wines and craft beers are increasing in popularity. There's also cooking classes and demonstrations on some ships as well as chef's table dining experiences. You’ll likely see these innovations on the premium and luxury brands, but even some mass market companies are joining in as well. Not sure what cruise line is best for you? Don’t worry – I can help you figure that out. I am familiar with all the different options and what is best for certain clients – not all companies are the same!
2. Longer Time in Port – The trend is turning into having not only longer time during the day in the different ports of call but some cruise lines have started to stay in port for a night or two so you can experience nightlife and dine onshore without having to rush back to the ship. Some also offer unique itineraries planned around special events such as the British Open and the Monaco Grand Prix so you can experience these events in combination with other ports of call. So if you have a special event on your bucket list, let me know and I can advise you on the travel options, and if a cruise could fit into the itinerary.
3. Family Friendly River Cruises – It used to be that river cruises were geared towards those in retirement but that is another trend that is definitely changing. Adventures by Disney has teamed up with AMAWaterways to offer kid-friendly river cruises along the Danube and Rhine Rivers in Europe. These family-friendly river cruises offer something for everyone regardless of your age. Tauck River Cruises and Uniworld also have certain departure dates which feature more kid-friendly activities and excursions (sailing dates usually during the summer and school holidays).
4. River Cruises for Millennials - Beginning in Spring 2018, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises will launch a new brand called U by Uniworld. These ships and sailings will feature modern designs (rumors are that they will have an all-black exterior), celebrity DJs, wine tastings or mixology classes, rooftop lounges and cocktail bars. Uniworld has also said they'll have overnight stays in major cities so travelers can stay out late and not have to worry about missing their ship. They are marketing the product to those aged 21-45. Bookings are now open for their 2018 cruises on the Rhine and Danube Rivers in Europe. I'm keeping a close eye on this as many of my clients (and myself) could be perfect for this experience!
5. Small ship cruises - like really small - River cruises are great but have you heard about hotel barge cruises? A hotel barge can typically accommodate 6-20 passengers and includes all gourmet meals, regional wines, an open bar, and use of facilities such as bicycles and sundecks. You can ride a bike along the tow path while others may choose to sit onboard and relax. This is a perfect option for families or groups of friends who want the privacy and intimacy of their own boat. Shore excursions typically include visit to wineriers, "off the beaten track" villages, food markets and castles. Popular barging destinations include France, Holland, the UK and Belgium.
Ready to book your next cruise?