Friday, 17 January 2020

Discover why cruise passengers want to spend less time at sea


Cruise passengers are looking to expand their horizons in 2020 with an increased demand for far-flung, pristine destinations. 

Cruisers also want yo immerse themselves in each location, a survey by global luxury travel network Virtuoso reveals. 

The network is revealing its top cruise trends for the year in time for “wave season,” occurring each January through March, when savvy travellers book voyages to benefit from special incentives. 

Virtuoso’s cruise portfolio includes 33 ocean, river, yacht and expedition partners offering thousands of itineraries to global ports-of-call.

“In 2020, cruisers are choosing itineraries based on destinations and the more unusual and faraway the better,” said Beth Butzlaff, vice-president for cruise sales at Virtuoso. 

“Cruising used to be considered more passive, but lines have overcome that misperception with [ships spending] more time in port and passengers enjoying experiences that are unique to the destination. 

"Passengers want to enjoy the essence of these places through interactions with local people and culture, and the industry has responded with innovative offerings to satisfy evolving preferences."

Virtuoso’s top cruise trends for 2020 include: 

Distant Destinations
The No.1 reason travellers are interested in cruises is the ability to visit multiple destinations. No longer just focused on the Caribbean or Mediterranean, cruise ships visit ports as diverse as Muscat, Oman; Manta, Ecuador; Tasmania  and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. 

In-Port Immersion
Cruise lines are creating new itineraries and shore excursions to provide more destination immersion. Azamara offers three ways to further that connection with a locale: late-night and overnight stays, complimentary evening performances in port and shore excursions that encourage deeper connections with local people and cultures. Seabourn also offers cultural, culinary, adventure and mindful-living experiences during shore excursions, bringing the destination to life for passengers. 

Cold is Hot
Lines as varied as Crystal, Seabourn, Viking and Ponant are offering more expedition cruises as the boom in adventurous cruising continues building. Passengers seeking pure, scenic destinations are attracted to chilly locales such as Antarctica, the Arctic, Greenland and Norway’s fjords. 




Conscious Travel
Cruise lines are responding to consumers’ growing awareness of sustainability by implementing more environmentally friendly technology and programs to boost the destinations they visit, both economically and culturally. Hurtigruten, Lindblad Expeditions, Aqua Expeditions and Royal Caribbean International are among those leading the way. 

Micro-Cruises
Micro-trips – short jaunts for people with more money and desire to travel than time – are trending in the cruise world in North America. Lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity and Virgin Voyages offer two- to five-night Caribbean cruises. Equally convenient, passengers have multiple options for their port of departure, with Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, New Orleans and Galveston, Texas, all offering micro-cruises. 

Americana
Cruise lines featuring U.S. sailings are flourishing, with American Queen’s Mississippi River cruises in particularly high demand. The appeal extends beyond Americans, with Australians who want to cruise the legendary river also booking voyages.  

The Suite Life
Some cruise devotees only travel in style by booking a suite, and if the category they desire is not available, they push their sailing date further into the future. Suite inventory is relatively small, specifically for spacious owner’s and penthouse suites, so this demand has inspired lines to open itineraries well in advance, especially for world cruises. With 2020 bookings strong, cruisers are bumping sailing dates out as far as 2022. 

Travellers who want to take advantage of wave season and book through a Virtuoso advisor will receive complimentary amenities on select sailings. To view cruises from Virtuoso’s partner lines visit www.virtuoso.com/luxury-cruises

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