Surprising New Trends That are Changing Cruising as We Know It

The world of cruising is constantly evolving, bringing new experiences and amenities to the seas every year. This is because cruise lines are continually striving to keep up with the needs and wants of the modern traveler.

If the last time you went on a cruise (or even thought about going on one) was more than a couple of years ago, you might be surprised by some of the new trends that are reshaping cruising.

Exciting new destinations and foods? Check. New cruisers and new technologies? Double check. Here’s a rundown of new cruise trends that we expect to rock the boat (not literally) in 2020.

New Itineraries Expanding Options for Destinations


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💭 “Sea, autumnal sweetness, islands bathed in light […] Happy the person who is deemed worthy, before dying, to sail the Aegean. This world offers many pleasures: women, fruit, ideas. But I think no pleasure exists that plunges a person’s heart into Paradise more than the joy of cutting across this sea on a gentle autumn day, murmuring the name of each island.” ✨ Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek 1946 . 💭 « Mer, douceur automnale, îles baignées de lumière […] Heureux, pensai-je, l’homme à qui il a été donné, avant de mourir de naviguer dans la mer égéenne. Nombreuses sont les joies de ce monde – les femmes, les fruits, les idées. Mais fendre cette mer-là, par un tendre automne, en murmurant le nom de chaque île, je crois qu’il n’est pas de joie qui, davantage, plonge le cœur de l’homme dans le Paradis. » ✨ Nikos Kazantzakis, Alexis Zorba, 1946 📸 Studio PONANT – Julie Gourio

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Cruising has long been about more than hitting the Caribbean for a mid-winter getaway (although who could turn up their nose to that?).

In 2020, we’re seeing some next-level cruise itineraries that have got us drooling.

The Madagascar, Réunion, and Mauritius itinerary from Ponant

  • 2 weeks on the Indian Ocean, with opportunities to scuba dive with manta rays and sharks at nearly every stop along the journey.

A Taste of the Danube with Avalon Waterway

  • Explore the river Danube from Budapest to Vienna — a great pick for solo travelers, as this line is currently waiving the typical “single supplement” fee.

Grecian Wonders on Regent Seven Seas

  • Athens to Istanbul with stops at 7 Grecian islands along the way? Yes, please.

Digital Cruise Planning Apps on the Rise

In the past, planning your cruise was a matter of throwing a swimsuit and your formal wear into a bag, crossing your fingers, and hoping for the best.

Not anymore. Now there are dozens of apps you can download on your phone to help you plan every aspect of your cruise.

Some of the best features of these apps are:

  1. Store all your travel info in one convenient place — think hotel and rental car confirmations, flight itineraries, ferry tickets, directions, and more
  2. Access to highly curated travel guides to any city in the world, so you can make the most of your stops in various ports of call
  3. On-board maps and directions for navigating your way around your ship
  4. Guided itinerary planning to help you figure out what to do during stops on your cruise

Apps to look for include Blink, Deck Director, Visit a City, and TripIt. Read our full guide on the best cruise planning apps out there »

Dietary Needs Taking Center Stage

Cruise ships have always had great food, but you may not think of them as top choice when it comes to eating with a dietary restriction. Think again.

Each year we find delicious new vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-free, and raw menus on board more and more cruise ships.

Options on cruise menus are expanding at a remarkable rate. Now you can often find not just gluten-free bread and pasta on cruise ships, but gluten-free beer, too. Cheers!

When it comes to milk, cruise ships are expanding options at all their restaurants, cafes, and bars to include almond, soy, and coconut milks.

Vegetarians need not weep, either, except for joy — cruise lines like Carnival have mind-boggling vegetarian dishes on offer.

Oceania is now dishing out a menu with a whopping 250 vegan items, and SeaDream Yacht Club does an entirely raw vegan menu.

Truth be told, you’ll probably find more options on board a cruise ship than you will in your hometown. Read our guide to cruising with a dietary restriction »

Self-Care Becoming a Top Priority

Cruises have always had gyms, pools, and jacuzzis for you to take care of your body and relax. But in 2020, we’re seeing a whole new focus on options for wellness and self-care onboard cruise ships.

For starters, regular meditation and yoga sessions are becoming more common on cruise ships. You’ll also found some ships with wellness counselors and holistic treatments for whatever’s ailing you.

Throw in private hot tubs, saunas, and massage and spa facilities, and you can say that cruise ships have got wellness, well…taken care of.

Cruise Lines Going Green

The cruise industry recently made a commitment to reduce the emissions of the global cruising fleet by 40% before the year 2030.

New ship designs are looking to use liquefied natural gas to power their engines, which is a much cleaner option for the environment. Fuel cell technology is another green development that Royal Caribbean is implementing in their ships, while other ships are employing a hybrid approach, which gives them the flexibility of refueling at all ports — not just ones that have updated fuel offerings.

On top of that, state-of-the-art engine designs are now quieter than ever, and they create less of a wake. This means minimal noise and vibration disturbance of the water and the wildlife that calls it home.

That means you can sail the seven seas and enjoy the wonders of each, all while helping to protect them for future generations to marvel at as well.

Younger Cruisers Are Getting On Board


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Ready to go all in? Tag your cruise (and cannonball) buddy! #ChooseFun #Carnival

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If you think a cruise is just for retired couples, think again. Millennials are joining the cruise craze in record numbers, and not just because of all the new destinations and foods on offer.

The main reasons younger people are cruising are:

  1. It’s the safest, easiest way to take an international vacation
  2. Cruising is the most affordable way to take the trip of your dreams
  3. With a general itinerary planned (plus lots of flexibility to do what you want at each stop) and meals included, a cruise is a stress-free way to see new places and experience new cultures
  4. It appeals to aspirational travelers who want to share their epic adventures on social media
  5. Cruise lines have been expanding their itineraries to include longer, overnight stays at ports of call, so the younger traveler seeking a transformative experience can really explore each city and region in depth
  6. Cruise ships are becoming more environmentally friendly, a particularly important issue for younger generations

More Cruisers Turning to Travel Agents

We’ve been seeing a steady uptick in people choosing to work with a cruise travel agent rather than try to plan their trip themselves. And those people say their entire vacation is better than previous trips which they planned on their own.

The reasons people prefer working with a cruise travel agent?

  1. Travel agents have access to the best deals on cruises
  2. Intimate knowledge of every cruise line and even every individual ship means a cruise travel agent can help you plan the perfect cruise for your taste and budget
  3. A cruise travel agent can assist with planning pre and post cruise travel details
  4. A cruise agent like CloudBlue Travel doesn’t charge you for our services — we get you the best price possible and do all the heavy lifting, then we collect our fee on the backend, so it doesn’t cost you any more to work with our team of cruise experts than if you try to do it all by yourself.

Even millennials who are used to doing everything online on their own are turning to travel agents in record-breaking numbers, for all the reasons listed above.

Ready to check out these exciting new cruise trends for yourself? Then it’s time to book a cruise. But before you do, check out our must-read guide on how to get the best deal on your cruise vacation »

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