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What's New In The Cruise Industry?

What's New In The Cruise Industry?

Today I'm referencing an article by David Swanson in his post “Beyond the Guidebook” for some excellent insight into the cruise industry in 2016.

The cruise industry carried more than 23 million passengers in 2015, and this year there are nine new oceangoing ships that will make their debut. Would you believe there are millions of Americans who have never cruised? Many of those who cruised in 2015 were repeat guests, because they have discovered that this is absolutely the very best way to vacation. So, for those who haven't cruised, the lines are targeting you, so what's new?

The larger lines continue to break the size barriers of the new builds as they try to compete with the mega all-inclusive resorts with the giant slides, sky diving simulators, rock climbing walls, and cooking classes. They have enlisted outside brands to help enhance the experience; for example, Royal Caribbean offers Starbucks, Carnival offers Guy Fieri burgers, and Norwegian Cruise Lines entices folks with Broadway shows like Legally Blond. Of course, Royal Caribbean has been offering Broadway shows like Chicago and Mama Mia for several years on their 5,000 plus passengers ships. Carnival has recently been inviting name stars, both rock and country and western stars for performances in their showrooms while they are in port.....standing room only!!!

Viking River Cruise recently introduced 6 more longships for service, making over 64 river ships in their inventory, and this year they debuted a cruise ship catering to those who long for a smaller number of passengers and offering an excursion in every port as they do on the river cruises.

The question is posed: “I think I'm prone to seasickness. Are cruises a bad idea?” Most modern ships are well stabilized but if that is a concern, then the Transderm scop, a prescription patch that you can get from your physician, we have discovered is an excellent solution. Also, as best as you can, try to get a more mid-ship location where if there is rocking and rolling, it will be less noticeable. The secret there is to make reservations as early as possible, because everyone else wants those mid-ship locations.

“Is a balcony worth springing for?” Almost everyone covets a private veranda, and as a result, those guys that set the cruise prices are aware of that fact. I think they are nice if you plan on spending a good deal of time on the ship. On the other hand, if the cruise is port intensive and you are off on an excursion every day then sailing to another port at night, the balcony might be an expense you could cut. Interestingly, “inside cabins” are evolving. Royal Caribbean's new ships have inside rooms that are designated as “virtual balcony” rooms. They have a floor to ceiling, high-definition screen that displays real-time views of the sea and ports...very interesting.

“Are cruises all-inclusive?” Not totally, and you'll have multiple opportunities to experience the nickel and dime expenses if you don't watch yourself. One interesting recent development is that tipping has become mandatory, generally varying among lines from $12-15 a person depending on room category, but added to your room bill at the end of the cruise. Other opportunities are the internet charges, drink packages, spa charges, and the ultimate!!

The experienced travel counselors at The Travel Factory can help you sort out the very best vacation ever...just give us a call at 698-1421 or 800-760-4040.


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