The past few years have certainly seen the beginning of a shift in the cruise industry, with more ships trying to cater to a younger market. For many years, cruising has been considered unappealing by younger generations, with many millennial holiday-makers considering it to be a boring and unpalatable experience. Only now are the myths of cruising finally being dispelled, with the average global age of cruise passengers dropping to a 20-year low of 46. In the UK and Ireland, the figure may still be 55, but this is the lowest average age in the region since 2011.
2018 looks perfectly poised for these figures to drop even lower, with a number of trends set to impact the industry this year. There are not only many new ships being introduced, but also new guidelines and on board culture. For years, the industry has been trying to encourage younger holiday-makers to embark on a cruise for the first time and this year may mark the beginning of this shake-up. This week, GoCruise Franchise take a look at three of the reasons why 2018 is the year for millennial cruising.
In 2015, Viking decided to branch out from their popular river cruise fleet and expand into the world of ocean cruising. Viking Star became the first ocean-bound vessel for the fleet in 2015. She was subsequently followed by Viking Sea in 2016, and Viking Sky and Viking Sun in 2017. From the offset, the line made the intention to offer these ships exclusively to over 18’s – a move which has proven to be very popular. This has ultimately paved the way for a much more romantic experience, with no children on board and plenty of elegantly-designed public areas in which for you to relax and unwind. This is a move that Virgin Voyages has also pledged to follow with their new ships and other lines are also likely to follow suit.
On the other hand, however, there are lines striving to appeal specifically to the family as a whole. MSC Seaside launched towards the end of last year and has become renowned for offering an ultimately family-friendly experience. In addition to offering a range of age-appropriate children’s clubs, there are also a number of connecting staterooms that appeal specifically towards the family. Each stateroom features its own balcony and bathroom facilities for passengers to enjoy.
Sticking with the theme of appealing to particular age groups, there are several new additions to the industry scheduled to launch throughout the course of 2018 that will cater specifically to millennial cruisers. Namely, these include Royal Caribbean’s fourth Oasis-class vessel, Symphony of the Seas, which will offer popular features including the Abyss slide, water slides, robotic bartenders and a few new additions. The Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade will appeal to passengers looking to follow their favourite teams while also offering a relaxing environment to catch up with friends.
The slower pace and generally more enriching experiences of river cruising have previously been reserved for older passengers seeking the finer things in life. U by Uniworld, however, looks set to offer a daring contrast to river cruising, where over 45’s are banned altogether. Launching in spring, this unique experience will see 21-45 year-olds travel aboard a futuristic vessel to all of the European destinations that may be familiar with river cruisers, but with a strong appeal to the younger market. Excursions will include clubbing in Amsterdam, kayaking in Bamberg, and graffiti tours in Paris.
Many cruise lines realise the importance of protecting the environment and releasing as few emissions into the atmosphere as possible. Last year, Channel 4’s Dispatches programme found that pollution levels on board the top decks of some cruise ships were higher than some of the world’s most polluted cities. Needless to say, action needs to be taken and the answer may have been discovered in the form of liquefied natural gas or LNG.
As a liquid, this fuel takes up 600 times less space than it would as a gas, which means it can be transported much more easily and will have a significantly lesser impact on the environment. The cruise industry is slowly adapting new builds to run on natural gas and the first ship of its kind, AIDAnova, is due to launch later this year.
Whatever views you may have of the upcoming year of cruising and the trends that may be introduced, it is certainly clear that the industry is continuing to grow at an exponential rate. More ships are being built, new experiences introduced, and new destinations are being added to itineraries all the time. There has, therefore, never been a better time to be a part of this exciting industry and GoCruise can offer a unique opportunity.
As a franchisee with GoCruise, you can run your own flexible business while earning competitive rates of commission on every booking you secure. For more information, contact us via the number above or complete an Online Enquiry Form.