The cruise industry has had to adapt to many challenges over the years. From the emergence of the megaship to the rise of AI to the explosion of online travel agents, it is now more important than ever to offer unique, memorable experiences. Cruise lines are responding with innovations to meet the growing demands of their customers.
A number of new cruise lines are launching, including Star Clippers, Virgin Voyages and Princess. Other companies like Norwegian and Royal Caribbean are looking to bring in a whole new wave of cruisers. One thing is for sure, the future of cruising is bright.
Many of the new cruises will be a combination of new ships to existing classes of ship. But some will be game changers. This includes the aforementioned Star Clippers, which is designed to revive the glory days of sailing ships.
Another big change is that the cruise industry is shifting its focus to sustainability. Lines are using state of the art technology to reduce emissions and limit disturbance to wildlife. They are also using advanced wastewater treatment systems and hull coatings to keep the ships clean.
While there will still be plenty of new mega ships in the industry, many will be smaller and more efficient. There are even hybrid-powered expedition ships on the market, including the new ships by Aurora Expeditions and Hurtigruten.
The cruise industry has taken measures to restore public confidence, namely implementing best practices such as banning single-use plastics, LED lighting and air lubrication systems that eject bubbles under the hull. In addition to these improvements, the industry has committed to meeting the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) greenhouse gas emissions requirements by the year 2030.
For the most part, the industry has been able to weather the storms thrown its way. In fact, some ships are already sailing in other countries for months on end. Nevertheless, the industry has had to take a look in the mirror to determine what works and what doesn’t.
Besides the technological advances, the cruise industry is also trying to improve the customer experience by making a series of smaller changes. They are introducing an app that allows for electronic check-in and mustering, and providing safety information in the form of Muster 2.0. The Royal Caribbean Group has developed a ‘healthy sail’ panel of medical experts and other experts in a variety of fields to suggest ways to maintain and improve the health of the fleet.
Some other new developments include the introduction of a smartphone-like device that will allow passengers to make dinner reservations, upload selfies before embarkation, and control the lighting in their rooms. It is also estimated that these devices will be able to serve drinks from the ship bar.
The most important thing to note is that the cruise industry is currently in the midst of a long recovery. New ships are on the horizon and the industry has the time to figure out what it wants to do next.