In 2017 the cruise industry paid A$45.6 billion in wages and provided 1,108,676 jobs. Looking forward, the industry’s peak body, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), predicts that around 30 million travellers will cruise in 2019, increasing from 28.2 million in 2018.
So, what else does 2019 hold in store for cruising? CLIA has released the 2019 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, which predicts further growth and attempts to identify future trends.
CLIA has identified the following trends that will direct its focus in 2019:
The age of new explorers
Many people have always wanted to discover a new place, or at least be among the first to witness it. Now, as cruise lines offer otherwise impossible access to remote destinations, including Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands, people will be racing against their friends to be the first to experience them.
The days of loud people in Hawaiian shirts rushing around taking photos of themselves in front of monuments are passing (thank god) and have instead given way to travellers looking for actual ‘achievements’. You don’t just take a photo in front of a mountain anymore, you have to climb the darn thing. These desires are being met left, right and centre by competing cruise lines as they provide more high-quality classes onboard and take passengers to more adventurous destinations onshore.
Relax, restore, resort
Travelling can be exhausting, and one advantage the cruise industry has over others is that you can completely relax and focus on yourself as you move between destinations. As they target the increasing wellness orientated crowd, expect cruise lines to continue their adaption to a variety of eating requirements, fitness regimes, spa experiences and even onboard oxygen bars!
Instagram on the go
Let’s be real, it’s often difficult to tell whether some people travel for the actual experience or for bragging rights. Instagram, a photo oriented social media platform, is highly travel orientated, with people paying their way around the world just by taking photos of themselves during the journey. All these so called ‘influencers’ need is a phone and a scenic backdrop, and so catering to this market with wifi, reliable connectivity and a diverse array of ‘content’ options will become a higher priority for the cruise industry.
Smart tech at sea
New keychains, necklaces, bracelets and other wearable tech will be developed in order to personalise, simplify and expediate your on-board travel experience.
More and more travellers want to explore the world in a sustainable and moral way, and the cruise industry is onboard with them. Now more than ever, they are focusing on limiting their environmental footprint, assisting locals to preserve culture and the environment, and also spreading the benefits of tourism among communities so that the experience is more mutually beneficial.
Let’s go girls
As cruise lines turn their attention to the growing market of female travellers they are attempting to cater to more ‘feminine’ tastes. These apparently will involve visiting feminist landmarks, connecting women with one another and creating a more female-oriented itinerary.
Work on the waves
For those who want to explore the world but not sacrifice a wage or annual leave, cruise lines are eager to provide desks, work-friendly cafes and reliable wifi, so that travellers can meet their work obligations while abroad.
Solo at sea
Solo travel is on the rise, and cruise lines are homing in on this market, promoting cruising as a safe and relaxing way to experience the world on your own. They will apparently be focusing on creating on-board bonding sessions and communities, to make socialising much easier, allowing for a well rounded and fulfilling experience.
Retirement can free you from the usual yearly schedule, and alongside less competition and a possibly quieter crowd, cruising in the off season offers some serious and exclusive perks. If you’ve dreamed of Christmas Market hopping in Europe, of visiting giant penguin colonies or of going on exclusive tours of the Northern Lights this could be your chance.
Which of these focuses appeals to you the most? Or do you think they’ve missed something completely? Are you planning on joining the other 30 million cruisers in 2019?