What will 2020 bring for the cruise industry? Now there’s a question. If I could predict the future, I’d be writing this column while lying on an exotic beach somewhere afterwinning the lottery!
So I may not be able to tell you for certain what is going to happen over this new year, but there are a few trends that I am sure about in the cruise world for 2020.
Despite 2019 being a turbulent year for many, we did see that consumers still wanted to travel. They may have been waiting for that extra special deal, booked later or maybe less frequently, but travel they did. I think this will continue in 2020, people will want to travel, but they’ll make their budgets go further and travel more often for shorter periods. There are a multitude of shorter duration cruises, from two- to five-night ocean cruises to four-night river cruises – perfect options for those with less time on their hands, or maybe even that second or third trip of the year.
Currency exchange rates were not kind to us in 2019 (although as I write this, we have seen a spike in the USD and EUR), and as a result people want to know what their final cruise price is. They want to know that drinks, meals, excursions are all included – or if they’re not, what it’s going to cost them. This may mean that the holiday cost is front loaded, but people know what they are paying. Showcase the value of cruises by giving a monetary value to extras that are included
Luxury cruises will continue to thrive too. While money and time may be more precious, people are opting to maximise their holidays and “push the boat out” with extra luxury touches, not just for special occasions, but, well, just because!
lost count last year of people saying to me, “I don’t want a gift, I want to do something”. Many will continue to seek experiences over material items. They will want to partake in excursions where they are part of the local communities and participate, rather than watch. Enjoy dinner with the locals or paint like Van Gogh in a gallery – think of cruise lines that o er excursions and experiences that are more immersive, not just the must-see sights.
To top it all o , guests expect cruise companies to be responsible in their sustainability efforts. While few customers right now are actively choosing a cruise line because of their responsible tourism policies, it won’t be long before customers will, and they will want to know what cruise lines are doing to help protect our planet.
So, with no crystal ball, what will2020 bring? Shorter holidays, but more of them; customers knowing how much they are spending upfront; touches of luxury and experiences that they will remember for a lifetime – all encompassed by being delivered by cruise lines that care for the environment.
I wish you all a healthy, prosperous Whatever the year may bring, and busy 2020
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In this issue, we look ahead to the next 12 months, bringing you expert opinion from travel industry leaders as we ask them, where next for cruise? Andy Harmer of Clia, Ben Bouldin of Royal Caribbean International, Lynn Narraway of Seabourn, Craig Upshall of Aurora Expeditions and Neil Barclay of Viking Cruises all share their views, in this special section of the magazine. Click here to read the magazine in full.