Multigenerational and celebratory travel are among growing trends this year. // © 2014 Thinkstock
According to Cruise Line International Association member lines and travel agents, trends in the cruise industry in 2014 include an increase in first-time cruisers, improved technology and an increase in luxury products and services.
CLIA said the trend toward an increase in luxury cruising, including luxury category ships and onboard upgrades, is stimulated by an improving economy and increased consumer confidence.
That trend is particularly good news for travel agents, according to Beth Levich, owner of Cruise Holidays in Portland, Oregon.
“The successful agent will lean toward the luxury traveler,” Levich said. “I won't sell four-day cruises or some of the lower-priced lines — you don't make money and the customer is there to shop you, to ask you to beat his Internet price. Being able to offer something above and beyond is what distinguishes the good travel agent, and that is what the high-end client appreciates."
Other CLIA-identified trends include:
- Improved technology to lower the cost of onboard communications and provide more efficient passenger servicing
- First-time passenger growth coming from younger generation travelers, especially Millennials
- Growth of multigenerational and celebration travel (anniversaries, significant dates), as well as travel by social/affinity groups
- More all-inclusive options and packaging in accommodations, services and amenities
- More active vacations at sea with extreme and soft-adventure excursions, longer stays in ports for added sightseeing and high-energy onboard facilities
- Exotic locations driving new itinerary competition and cruise ship deployment.
CLIA cruise line members report that trending itineraries and destinations for 2014 include Trans Pacific cruises, world cruises, U.S. river cruises, South America, Antarctic, Middle East, Canada/New England, Africa and exotic river cruises.