Where next for cruise? Andy Harmer shares his predictions for 2016
Over the next seven weeks, seven industry experts will share their predictions for the coming year as part of our ‘Where next for cruise?’ series to mark the launch of Cruise Adviser’s Preview guide 2016 (out next week). First up is Andy Harmer, director of Clia UK and Ireland.
The cruise industry will be setting sail into 2016 with very fair winds. We will not only see the continued worldwide growth in cruise passengers but will also witness more than 32 ocean and river ships being launched to the tune of more than $7.8 billion. That’s a very strong message showing the strength and determination of the industry to grow the market while providing amazing experiences for today’s holidaymaker.
UK and Ireland will remain a major source market and I am sure that the introduction of a number of new ships in 2015, including P&O Cruises’ Britannia, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas and Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Magellan has helped enormously in promoting cruise holidays to those yet to step on board.
But what is different and exciting about 2016 is that new ships will be launched across all sectors showcasing the great diversity of cruising and highlighting that the industry continues to set the pace for innovation and creativity. There will be more than 20 new river vessels sailing on the world’s waterways offering amazing itineraries taking in America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
And then there are 12 new ocean ships providing memorable experiences for those with a lust for adventure through to those seeking ultra luxury holidays.
I’m sure there will be a number of hot spots in 2016 including Cuba and China. One of the key advantages in having assets that move is that cruise lines can respond pretty quickly to the continually changing travel landscape.
2016 is also likely to see the rise of the ‘Bleisure’ traveller – someone who mixes business with pleasure and, according to recent reports, something which has never been so popular. The technological advances found on today’s ships means that a cruise holiday can perfectly fit the requirements of the Bleisure traveller.
We will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of our Clia Conference in 2016. There have been some amazing changes that have taken place over the last decade – the launch of the largest cruise ship in the world, recognisable high street brands on board ships and the opening up of new destinations to name but a few.
I have no doubt the next 10 years will continue to bring unimagined change and given the exciting opportunities that lie ahead, we at Clia are focusing on the revolution that is happening within cruise with the 2016 Clia Conference.
Andy Harmer is the director of Clia UK & Ireland