Six changes to expect on cruise ships in Australia

cruise ship

New cruise ships are continuing to arrive in 2023, and with better technology, dedication to sustainability and a new generation of cruisers, there’s a lot to look forward to.

Solo cruising

Taking a cruise for one is becoming increasingly more attractive (and attainable) with cruise lines offering deals that banish the single supplement. Two’s a crowd, a travel company dedicated to those wanting to strike out on their own, offers cruises exclusively for those travelling on their own – no need to share a room with a stranger. 

Meanwhile, the new Oceania Vista from Oceania Cruises, is set to launch in May and will feature dedicated solo cabins. Their sister brand Norwegian Cruise Lines pioneered purpose-built solo cabins way back in 2010.

Working from sea

In the past few years, many of us have successfully managed to integrate our professional commitments with much-deserved leisure time. Some of us have even taken the liberty to properly slow down and get away from the hustle and bustle of the working environment.

For those who can’t fully leave the office behind or don’t feel ready to take a complete break (we understand the feeling!), cruise ships have adapted to the demand. Princess Cruises’ fast internet (the Medallion Class ships have MedallionNet) offers what they call “the ultimate remote workstation: an office at sea”. Likewise, Royal Caribbean is supersizing internet capabilities across the group’s entire fleet, including Celebrity Cruises, Silversea and Royal Caribbean, by May. 

The improved wifi allows people of all ages to take longer cruises, rather than the usual three-day long weekend. So they can work and play without any tech hiccups.

Domestic destinations on the rise

Perth, Broome, and Darwin are at the top of the list of most popular domestic travel destinations in 2023, according to Virtuoso, a leading global network specialising in luxury and experiential travel. The strong demand for luxury cruises in the Kimberley region of Western Australia is driving this trend.  

“The revival of travel from this region has only just started,” says Fiona Dalton, Virtuoso’s general manager of Australia and New Zealand. You can expect to see more and more travellers from all over the world flocking to this beautiful corner of the world in the coming years.

Experience and meaning

As the trend for immersive experiences grows, travellers are increasingly looking for opportunities to learn something new while they’re on holiday. When it comes to shore excursions, cruisers are especially interested in personalised experiences that are taught by passionate experts. For example, Coral Expeditions offers hosted walks on country with local Tiwi guides, while Viking provides Italian cooking lessons with a countess in Venice. These types of experiences can make for a much more meaningful holiday.

Sustainability, sustainability, sustainability

As cruise lines increasingly explore sustainable alternative energy sources, we’re likely to see some exciting innovations in the coming years. For example, Viking is building ocean ships that will run on hydrogen fuel cells. And Silversea Cruises’ Nova-class ships utilise hybrid technology that includes fuel cells, batteries, and dual-fuel engines that run on liquefied natural gas, emitting zero local emissions while in port. 

Ponant is also developing an eco-designed cruise ship concept that would have no negative impact on the environment when sailing.

These initiatives are in line with the Cruise Lines International Association’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon cruising by 2050. To this end, cruise lines are working with ports to use shore power and switch off engines while in port. Sydney is set to become the first port in the Southern Hemisphere to offer shoreside electricity at the end of 2024, but more ports and governments around the world are committing to the infrastructure needed to support renewable energy use.

All ages ships

A 2021 study by TripAdvisor and Accenture found that millennials are more interested in cruising than ever, with 58 per cent of those polled planning to take a cruise for their next holiday. Probably because the younger generation has cottoned on to the fact that there’s a cruise to suit every taste. 

Virgin Voyages has been a game changer in the cruising industry, and this year will mark the cruise line’s debut in Australia. Resilient Lady will head here in December, giving us the opportunity to check out the onboard tattoo parlour, the RockStar suites, and a vinyl record store.  

Another ship that appeals to millennials is Celebrity Edge, which will also make its debut in Australia come December. On board are beautifully designed two-storey villas with plunge pools – the perfect way to relax and enjoy your cruise vacation.

What cruising changes are you most looking forward to? Do you have a cruise planned this year? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Don’t book these cruise ship cabins

Written by Ellie Baxter

Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.

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