In recent years, cruising has become the buzzword when it comes to planning a vacation, and cruise companies are all set to take the experience of cruising to the next level. Innovation is the name of the game in the cruise industry, and the more creative you are the better.
Royal Caribbean International is well known for introducing ‘firsts at sea’. They are the proud operators of the world’s largest ships the Allure of the Seas and the Oasis of the Seas. On both these ships the concept of ’neighborhoods’ were introduced and the ships have their own Central Park that has gardens filled with varieties of plants and flowers. Promenades and Boardwalks are popular public areas on board Royal Caribbean as is the Lawn Club on Celebrity Cruises.
The Quantum of the Seas that promises to change the experience of cruising is much awaited with its launch forecast for November 2014. With innovations like the RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator, the North Star viewing capsule and the Two70°, a multi-level great room that is a living room space by day and a spectacular entertainment center by night these are certain to set trends for other cruise companies to follow.
Cruise companies understand that their guests would like to spend a little more time ashore, and so have started planning itineraries where the ship will dock for two days at an interesting port. This gives the cruisers a chance to experience the local culture and much less rushing around. There is time to explore and take in the local culture and flavor of the destination. With this in mind, Azamara Club Cruises has introduced the concept of long stays, more overnights at ports and events known as AzAmazing evenings at European ports that allow guests to enjoy local dining, live performances and music. All guests on board are invited to the evening onshore, and best of all it is complimentary!
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises make sure their ships dock at ports like St. Petersburg, Venice and Phuket overnight so that guests can enjoy the destinations better.
Nobody likes being cooped up on board a ship and so staterooms are all set to become more spacious, more comfortable and more luxurious. On Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean will introduce new categories of staterooms, including new Studio staterooms, and some with balconies for single travelers, and larger Loft Suites. The best part is that every stateroom on Quantum of the Seas has a view! The new addition is the exciting Virtual Balcony stateroom whereby the design concept brings virtual balconies to interior staterooms offering real-time ocean views!
A happy family is one that cruise companies believe travels together and cruises together. So modern day ships cater to all in the family –grandparents, parents, teens and kids – there is something for everyone! Casinos and dance lessons for the elders, teen clubs for the younger lot, and nurseries for the kids and tots. Ice skating rinks have already marked their presence on Royal Caribbean ships and so have Barbie and DreamWorks characters, who mingle with the children and have their snaps taken with them.
Entertainment is of prime importance on a cruise vacation. Enjoy shows like Chicago the musical, Hairspray the high energy entertainment at its best, tap your feet to the incredible Saturday Night Fever performance feel free to sing along at a Karaoke evening on board.
Food is a very important part of the cruise vacation. Cruise companies recognize this fact and so have introduced specialty dining restaurants serving different cuisines. The year 2014 promises to see more celebrity chefs on board for their guests dining pleasure. Cruise lines also have made available various beverage packages that can be pre-bought, and wine specialists give wine pairing lessons already on board Celebrity Cruises ships. Several bars like the Martini Bar and Vintage Bar find a lot of takers on board Celebrity and Royal Caribbean International.
People like to travel for a sense of adventure and so are always looking for some place that is different. Cruise companies understand this aspect and so have itineraries that include the Panama Canal, Galapagos Islands, the Arctic Circle, South America, Antarctica and many more remote destinations. Australia and New Zealand have also been put on the cruise map and will find many takers in 2014.China is waiting in the wings, and 2014 will see this giant become a big player in the cruise market.
Smoking is hazardous for health and most cruise lines have a strict no smoking policy in place. Earlier in 2013, smoking was banned even on the private balconies, and 2014 will definitely see this policy strictly implemented.
Technology touches everybody. With most people owing smart phones and ipads, one can access the wi-fi on board and send emails or even make phone calls ashore without spending an arm and a leg. Hopefully this trend will continue in 2014 as easy and affordable communication today is not a luxury, but almost a necessity.
Shopping is going to get a lot better with more and more brands being introduced on board ships. Royal Caribbean international already has the Coach Store, as well as the exclusive Michael Kors whose handbags are a rage with the ladies. With technology growing in leaps and bounds, the Apple Store makes its presence on board Celebrity Cruises ships. Royal Caribbean introduced the first Starbucks Coffee on board their ships.
In 2014 cruise companies will certainly raise the bar and strive to provide comfort, innovations and reasons for the guest to keep coming back again and again.