Pricing may be moving a bit higher. Caribbean pricing for this winter is stronger than it’s ever been and Europe is already filling up for 2015, says Stephanie Serino, a cruise expert with Tzell Travel Group. CruiseOne reports that 2015 business is tracking 5% higher in price versus what is was in 2014.
Longer booking times: People are beginning to understand that booking further ahead often secures the best deal.
There is more value and bundling:People understand the value of cruising. The number one trend is added value. Price is always a key factor, but guests want added value extras-everything from drink packages to pre-paid gratuities and onboard up-front discounts. Packages might include choices of shore excursions, shipboard credits, free gratuities, reduced deposits, and third/fourth cruisers sailing free. Some of the packages offered by cruise lines include: Holland America’s Explore4, Celebrity Cruises Pick Your Perk, Princess Cruises Three for Free, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s all-inclusive package. These packages have been offered in the past, but now more options are being offered on further out sailings and at a higher frequency. Customers still pay for the packages, but when they are one board, they don’t feel like they are nickel and dimed.
There is more small ship and river cruising: New river vessels are launching in 2015. River cruising is comparable to ocean cruising in that everything is taken care of for you with longer port stays and more immersive destination experiences. There are many itinerary choices from multiple river lines sailing the Danube, Seine, Rhine, Mosel, Rhone, and Douro rivers. More exotic river itineraries can be found in India, Laos, and China.
There are more emerging ports: Travelers are hungry for new destinations, new experiences, new ports and new horizons. Cruise line supported private-island experiences are increasing. An example of this is Carnival Cruise Lines’ new private beach in Tortuga, off Haiti’s coast. In the winter of 2015-16 Norwegian will have a fleet visit Harvest Caye, Belize, a new island experience. Honduras just opened a port off Banana Coast. Also, Europe is expanding ports in Valencia, Spain and Tunis Tunisian. Ports that have had increased interest are Bandol in France and Norway caused by Disney’s movie Frozen. Also, it is expected that Cuba will become a popular cruise destination.
More Techie Ships: Ships are catering to the Millennials because of the technology. For example, Millennials are interested in the new Quantum of the Seas not only for its high-speed Internet, but also for its Robotic Bar and new types of entertainment where technological aspects – not simply the performers – are the stars. Freed says her line’s research has showed Millennials want to bring all their devices along, get connected fast and do not wait for anything.
More Overnights in Port: Cruisers have more time for in-depth destination experiences, while cruise lines also save money on fuel costs.
Continuing Demand for Luxury: Demand is still strong for both traditional luxury products (Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line and others), as well as luxury suites on contemporary brands (The Haven on Norwegian Cruise Line, the new generation of suites on Royal Caribbean’s mega-ships, Celebrity Cruises’ spa suites and others). Many new ships fill “top down” so booking clients ASAP on luxury products is essential.
Call Peterson Travel Pros to plan your next cruise: 612-559-6545.