In this section, several leading industry figures talk about what the future holds in 2018 and beyond, looking at changes in innovation, legislation, luxury and family cruise, the rise of river, meeting the needs of millennials and the latest destination hotspots. Here, Dave Mills, the product and commercial director at Iglu.com, looks at new destination hotspots
If you’re asking yourself the question ‘where next?’ when it comes to cruise in 2018 the answer is, I’m afraid, that there’s a great deal of choice!
With the advent of extra ships there’s an ever-expanding choice of places to see. Azamara alone have recently added 61 new ports to their existing list of destinations and many more have followed suit.
In terms of events to help stimulate inspiration, we have the Fifa World Cup in Russia. St Petersburg will host a few big matches and many cruises include at least one overnight during the summer, so it’s definitely a top tip.
Following the sports theme, if your customers wanted to see how Lewis Hamilton gets on defending his F1 championship, there are cruises paired with the Grand Prix in Monaco, Catalunya, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Melbourne, Monza, Austin and more. If the jet set lifestyle and life in fast lane of formula isn’t your thing, swap race tracks for rails with one of the phenomenally popular rail and sail packages. Here you can combine stays in unforgettable US cities such as New York, New Orleans, Chicago and more with fabulous cruises to the Eastern Seaboard or Caribbean, or the Orient Express with a luxury Mediterranean cruise from Venice, Rovos Rail in South Africa with a cruise from Cape Town, Japanese Bullet Trains and, of course, the Rocky Mountaineer and Alaska Cruise combinations, including the Calgary Stampede, still available for 2018.
Exploration cruises are becoming increasingly popular, with passengers swapping the large ocean liners for smaller 100-200 guest ‘luxury yacht’ style ships which sail well off the beaten track to locations such as Antarctica, the Galápagos Islands, the Arctic Circle and beyond. Exciting new vessels such as Scenic Eclipse launching in 2018 will arrive complete with Blue Planet-style submersibles and two helicopters, enabling views of some of the most stunning vistas and landscapes on the planet, never before achievable from a cruise holiday. Galápagos is proving particularly popular right now, particularly with Celebrity cruises who are adding to their exploration fleet to keep up with demand.
Finally, the other new hotspot for cruising next year is the Italian Lakes – which, when combined with a Mediterranean cruise, offer stunning vistas and relaxing opportunities to stroll along the lakeside and stop for an authentic Italian coffee or gelato. Fly into Milan and Lake Como is the closest choice and currently the single most popular option. Dramatically set in the foothills of the Alps it is shaped like an upside down Y. Resorts include Bellagio or Como itself. From this sumptuous base, many take a boat trip to the Villa del Balbianello, one the finest villas that surround the lake with stunning gardens and a large art collection to discover.
Also reached from Milan are Lake Maggiore which is the second largest in Italy and Lugano which is a curious mix of Italian and Swiss cultures.
Alternatively, fly into Verona for Lake Garda, the largest lake in the Italian lake district, surrounded by the Alps and the Dolomites. Each of these can be paired with cruises from Genoa, Rome or Venice.
Part of the reason for the continued growth in the popularity of cruise is the constantly evolving nature of the lines and the destinations unlocked by them – the above is just the beginning of a whole world of exploration.