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Look into the crystal ball of cruising -- what's next?


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Look far into the future...or just into next week ūüôā

 

What do you see -- or would like to see -- in the future of cruising?   What will the next 25 years of cruising bring?

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What I see is not very encouraging.  Cruise lines will need to make up lost revenue.  That mean higher prices (we're already seeing this when we try to move canceled cruises until next year.)

 

A good thing, though, is the possibility of making ports such as Ensenada, Cancun, Cozumel, etc home ports.  Places where the dollar goes further, and there aren't union dockworkers expecting to be paid $10 to carry bags 50'.  The embarkation city also becomes a destination in itself.  I'm frankly tired of Miami...

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On 3/24/2021 at 2:53 PM, LauraS said:

Look far into the future...or just into next week ūüôā

 

What do you see -- or would like to see -- in the future of cruising?   What will the next 25 years of cruising bring?

 

I think cruising has changed more in the past year than it has in the past 25 years combined.  Most of the changes will be temporary, lasting a few months to a few years.  Some will be permanent.  Here are my guesses about what will stick around:

 

  • Increased emphasis on indoor ventilation
  • More outdoor space
  • More outdoor dining options
  • More robust medical clinics and medical options in general
  • More attention to spacing between people in enclosed spaces
  • Generally more flexible cancellation and refund options

Other things COULD stick around (like masks as standard attire or vaccine requirements by ports) and the cruise lines would adjust to them.  And, of course, there will be many other changes that I can't begin to predict.

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Cruising will have to reduce its impact on the environment. Maybe fewer gigantic ships dumping thousands of passengers on a port or island and go back to mid-size vessels that can visit more ports and spread the load - or maybe that is wishful thinking. Personally I'm looking to cruise less, cruise better.

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I would like to see cruise lines offering the same offers

and cruise prices worldwide at the same time.

Some of their advertising  "sales"  is very dubious.

 

i also think regulation of cruise agents in the UK  needs to

be tightened up.  When things go wrong it is very difficult

to get them put right  ABTA  do not seem to want to get involved

unless an agent goes bankrupt/insolvent. 

Even when Cruise & Maritime went under  ABTA and agents

were disputing who  would return deposits, leaving customers

nowhere to go.

ABTA do offer a  mediation service but there is a fee charged.

 

The law is that if an agent or cruise line cancels  then a

full refund ( if requested) should be made in 14 days.

Currently agents are back to saying between 90 and 120 days.

That is illegal but there is no simple cheap way  to get the law enforced. 

There doesnt seem to be a government department with any clout

The Office of Fair trading  dissolved into the  CMA  who take reports

but no longer sort individual cases.  So if stuck a legal process

is required  which is quite stressful.  Maybe proper government 

Travel Ombudsman is needed.

 

I would like to see this Next week  as I have been fighting for 235 days

to get a Large TA to send on a  small refund ,sent to them by Princess

to correct an error made by the TA!! on our booking.

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Expedition ships seems to be the new wave. That’s good in my opinion. Exciting travel opportunities. Smaller, better control of the onboard environment. The ship is not the destination. 

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5 hours ago, Host Sharon said:

Cruising will have to reduce its impact on the environment. Maybe fewer gigantic ships dumping thousands of passengers on a port or island and go back to mid-size vessels that can visit more ports and spread the load - or maybe that is wishful thinking. Personally I'm looking to cruise less, cruise better.

 

Cruise lines have already started reducing their impact on the environment through LNG-fueled and more fuel efficient ships, dumping the older less efficient ones to make room, tighter recycling practices, etc.  And I think we both agree that will continue.  Capacity limits on ships will help overcrowding in ports in the short term, while communities that seek a longer-term solution can set up regulations to limit the size of ships and/or the number of passengers.  I'm less certain the largest cruise lines want to reduce the size of their builds,  but it could happen.  

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The future of cruising is grim - I just don't see cruising working properly again for ages, if ever.

Frankly I am just glad we have done 10 cruises as I can't see us going again.

It seems I can book a cruise around the UK this summer but won't be allowed off the ship.

That's just bonkers - the ship itself is not the vacation.

And by the summer I will probably be able to drive to the "ports" anyway.

Without the buffets, theatre, trivia and especially shore excursions it's not cruising.

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I find it difficult to look much into the future, whether about cruising or anything else. We hope to cruise in August next year to celebrate a special occasion. But we'll not be making any booking until things are much clearer on the Covid front. I think it is going to be tricky. To cruise, you want to be reassured that your fellow passengers are safe so I anticipate that somehow an international "Covid passport" will be developed - showing that you have a current vaccination or a current negative PCR test. But we will also want to know that the various port countries are safe, with low infection levels. 

 

I imagine some things will become the norm. Mask wearing in public, for example, as it currently is East Asia, is likely to continue to be normal in crowded surroundings.

 

 

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COVID-19 is here to stay for many years to come, since people will not be restricted for more than a few weeks. Many countries as of today have reached new record numbers of infections, and we have yet another surge in the US, probably because people 'had to have spring break' and burn their masks [sigh].

 

What should certainly change is the expectation about what will happen on the cruise, including

-definitely pre-/post testing and routine testing during the cruise

-possible pre-quarantine

-passengers having to adhere to many rules (daily temp, health checks, controlled shore excursions, masks etc), otherwise getting disembarked, as has happened already on MSC

-cruise prematurely discontinued due to COVID-19 case(s)

 

I can imagine especially the out-of-control party type cruises will no longer happen, or only once or twice until they will be shut down due to natural consequences.

Impaired folks won't adhere to distancing and/or masks.

 

Personally, moving around the ship (and in port) at leisure is part of what makes cruising so relaxing for us. Walk on deck, look at photography exhibit, get a pizza, go swimming, walk around in port and talk to locals...

This will be no longer the case. Now you have to watch where you go, keep your distance, did we bring the masks?, no more buffets, when is our next temperature check?, getting herded around in controlled excursions....

We were on cruise when COVID-19 hit and got a small taste of hygiene regimens, standing in line for daily temperature and health checks etc. and although our vessel had no problems, it was no longer a relaxing vacation, since there were more rules than options.

 

The only type of cruise I can imagine for us now are expeditions, which are pre-planned anyway, you expect a rigid routine, and you don't visit any cities, so the cruise is mostly about Zodiac outings and wildlife/nature, rather than visiting different countries and cultures. Therefore, possible exposure is limited to the low number of vessel occupants, and it's easier to plan disembarkation with infection cases if the vessel only navigates to/from certain ports. 

The downside is that those cruises are expensive, however, they typically have a doctor onboard, and sophisticated equipment.

 

All in all, who will be restricted most are the people who like to do frequent low-cost cruises on huge ships to high-volume destinations. If cruise lines have to reduce occupancy, we can expect much higher base-costs.

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Our crystal ball tells us that "what's next" in cruising will be very bad for normal people.

 

We've cruised around 20 times, and there's a 95% chance we never will again. That will depend on changes and revisions due to over-reaction to the 2020 flu abomination which stole our freedom.  If/when cruising reverts to pre-2020 protocol then, yes, we would LOVE to cruise again.  It was our most fun thing to do for vacation.  If mandates such as masks, temperature taking, physical distancing (it isn't "social" distancing; it's anti-social distancing), no buffets, no activities such as Trivia, etc., are incorporated, we will be happy to vacation another way.  We don't do those things in our "real life" and wouldn't pay money to be forced to do them.

 

We've always been MUCH more fearful of what cooties are lurking in the pools and hot tubs.

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Assuming the CDC doesn't kill cruising out of the USA entirely - something I think is a real possibility to consider - I think we may have seen the last of the huge ships delivered. My thinking is this: Destinations are going to limit the number of ships docking for a day and the number of people allowed to visit from them. Thus, a ship with four or six thousand passengers may find no where to visit. The destinations have found they like not having hordes of people clogging up their venues.  Moving the size of ships back to smaller vessels which I prefer.

 

I also believe the virus testing, vaccinations, and instant testing may become a way of life. If you object you won't be cruising. It is not going away according to most health authorities; it is going to mutate and we'll need vaccination 'boosters' along the way. If you are unwilling - for any reason - to get vaccinated, take a test before being allowed to board, and maybe on board as well, you've taken your last cruise.

 

I'm not sure the 'mask' requirement will survive; there is more and more medical opinion saying it is useless, but it could. So again, if you are vaccinated, pass a screening test, but are unwilling to wear a mask you have taken your last cruise too. We'll cheat in our cabin and on our veranda anyway. 

 

We have reached V2 plus 30 days and are willing to wear (we won't like it, but...) a mask JUST TO GET BACK ON A SHIP!

 

Just my thoughts on the upcoming 'changes' we may see.  

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Posted (edited)

Covid has accelerated existing changes in many areas (work from home, for instance) and created new ones.

 

I think we will see the era of ever-larger ships end.  Today, each Carnival class has larger ships than the one before.  The crowd adds to the possibility of a large contagion and reduces the number of available ports.  So, I think there will be a better mix of ships in the future, not all Mardi Gras class.

 

The experiment of beginning cruises in Nassau may become permanent. Cozumel seems likely as a future homeport. Saint Martin, less so.  While some costs will be lower than, say Miami, the cost of operating from an island is higher than operating from the mainland.  Cancun would cost less than Cozumel, for instance, but the hotels in Cancun are very against the notion.

Edited by Trueblueky
Clarity
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I see further polarisation of the market between the major cruise lines and the smaller operators, some of which are actually owned by the majors as niche brands. The major cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival will concentrate on ever larger ships offering effectively a resort hotel at sea. Their size will restict the ports in which they can dock but this will not bother many of their passengers, to whom the ship and its onboard facilities will increasingly be the prime destination. Economies of scale will keep fares low. Smaller operators such as Oceania, Viking and (in the UK) Saga will concentrate on smaller ships providing fewer facilities and will major on standards of service and cuisine, and on visiting ports which the big ships cannot.. They cannot keep fares down by economies of scale so will (continue to) emphasise quality - and charge prices to match. The midddle market will effectively dissappear.

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Just now finished watching the HBO documentary "The Last Cruise", based on the Diamond Princess...hello corona virus...Covid 19.  We felt bad for the passengers, and even worse for the crew members.  We've learned so much since then.

 

Yes, the pandemic and Covid 19 has changed the cruising industry.  And just like the virus, the cruising industry will mutate just as fast in the next 25 years.  If we are still alive in 25 years, we "see" cruising will become more expensive.  With all the safety protocols, new machines and equipment, extra crew members, more emphasis on cleaning and disinfecting the ship, retro-fitting of ships, limiting number of passengers, and so many more that the cruise lines will simply add to the cost of our cruise...Sigh.

 

 

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To the Cruise Lines legal teams: Remember, The Vaccines for COVID were authorized for use by an EUA. Emergency Use Authorization. They were never approved by the FDA. As such, it is illegal to  mandate this vaccine for anyone. Don't set yourselves up for a class action suit.  The Cruise lines have already lost enough money. Of course this is only applicable at US Ports departures, for that is where this law can be applied, in the US. Hence the departures from Bahamas and Bermuda follow their respective laws and sailings can begin in accordance with their rules.

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My wife and I were giving this some thought last month. My thought was/is, I see interest in cruising waning in America over the next quarter century . The generations following us now aren't interested in this type of holiday.  However I do see an increase in ship sizes and bookings coming from Asia. 

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On 3/27/2021 at 6:59 AM, Honolulu Blue said:

Capacity limits on ships will help overcrowding in ports in the short term, while communities that seek a longer-term solution can set up regulations to limit the size of ships and/or the number of passengers

Like all things where capacity constraints exist, I see cruise prices going higher and the industry becoming less affordable to many.  

 

On 3/27/2021 at 6:54 AM, larry1365 said:

Expedition ships seems to be the new wave. That’s good in my opinion. Exciting travel opportunities. Smaller, better control of the onboard environment. The ship is not the destination. 

Agreed that the industry will continue to splinter and separate between various forms of cruising with high end cruising being many times more expensive than mass market.  Think of the difference between first class and coach on some airlines -  the same flight offering $10k+ first class seats might also be offering $500 coach seats.

 

On 3/27/2021 at 1:45 AM, Host Sharon said:

Personally I'm looking to cruise less, cruise better.

Heading towards retirement, I am looking to cruise more while still have a good onboard experience!

 

On 3/27/2021 at 3:54 PM, Trueblueky said:

The experiment of beginning cruises in Nassau may become permanent. Cozumel seems likely as a future homeport. Saint Martin, less so.

I agree that cruise lines will diversify more and more away from the US.  Policy considerations now and in the future will make the cost of doing business in the US less attractive.  COVID is only a taste of a future migration.

 

On 3/24/2021 at 11:53 AM, LauraS said:

What will the next 25 years of cruising bring?

I think the biggest mega trend will be the relocation of cruising away from its current homes to being more Asian centric.  With India and China home to the both growing economies and enormous populations it seems that in 25 years time that may be where cruise operations are concentrated.  Add in other parts of Asia and we'll see even more growth.  This will also likely include the development of new Asian headquartered companies competing for business against today's incumbents. 

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quote by Selectsys:

"Heading towards retirement, I am looking to cruise more while still have a good onboard experience!"

 

I retired on Dec 31st, 2019 and 2020 was supposed to be my MULTIPLE/MULTIPLE year of

cruising.........my future is now......I don't miss the job at all. I am going to have to figure out

what my cruising life is going to be.......land trips have not held an appeal to me for many

years.......

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Posted (edited)

I expect more emphasis on safety, especially concerning virus transmission. Not just coronavirus- also norovirus etc that can ruin vacation for everyone on board and put the crew's livelihoods at risk. 

Examples:

Buffets with plated portions and sauces in cups, so passengers don't have to share serving utensils 

More cleaning 

No restrooms in common areas- passengers must use their own cabin restrooms 

 

Using phone apps or other scheduling advancements for reservations for tenders etc. to avoid having to wait in line and congregate in crowded hallways 

 

Also:

Smaller environmental footprint, especially regarding garbage and waste : less packaged food and drinks, more reusable containers 

Higher crew wages 

Higher fares and/or more upsell opportunities such as premium restaurants accordingly 

Edited by zzdoug
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On 4/3/2021 at 8:18 PM, Lois R said:

quote by Selectsys:

"Heading towards retirement, I am looking to cruise more while still have a good onboard experience!"

 

I retired on Dec 31st, 2019 and 2020 was supposed to be my MULTIPLE/MULTIPLE year of

cruising.........my future is now......I don't miss the job at all. I am going to have to figure out

what my cruising life is going to be.......land trips have not held an appeal to me for many

years.......

I just turned 72 and had planned to increase cruising for the next few years, to see as much of the world as possible including repeating stops. We do quite a lot of land trips, so don't quite understand that you do not like them. Have been on the Cinque Terre, Monaco, St. Tropez,  Lake Garda, Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, quite a few of the large cities like Vienna, Rome, Florence, Milan, London, Paris..... too numerous to mention all of them, We usually stay one week in one city, then move on and try to diversify, like we did Florence, Cinque Terry and Geneva in one trip, trips are usually about 4 weeks and we have enjoyed every one of them tremendously. Also when cruising we add a week before and after on land. Since most of these trips are in Europe, trains are perfect to change locations, when you don't need to fly because of the long distance.

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51 minutes ago, BVILady said:

I just turned 72 and had planned to increase cruising for the next few years, to see as much of the world as possible including repeating stops. We do quite a lot of land trips, so don't quite understand that you do not like them. Have been on the Cinque Terre, Monaco, St. Tropez,  Lake Garda, Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, quite a few of the large cities like Vienna, Rome, Florence, Milan, London, Paris..... too numerous to mention all of them, We usually stay one week in one city, then move on and try to diversify, like we did Florence, Cinque Terry and Geneva in one trip, trips are usually about 4 weeks and we have enjoyed every one of them tremendously. Also when cruising we add a week before and after on land. Since most of these trips are in Europe, trains are perfect to change locations, when you don't need to fly because of the long distance.

I travel on my own....and sailing (for me) gives me what I want......unpack once and see places

around the world I would not normally fly to by myself.  Cruising also gives me a safety factor

as well.  When you say you don't understand me not liking land trips? I like unpacking once,

having my food and drinks all taken care of....meeting new people, seeing new places and 

I LOVE being on the water as well.  I don't really need for other people to understand it....I don't

question folks who enjoy land trips. They like what they like. I LOVE to cruise.ūüėÉ

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On 4/6/2021 at 3:38 AM, zzdoug said:

Smaller environmental footprint, especially regarding garbage and waste : less packaged food and drinks, more reusable containers 

Higher crew wages 

Higher fares and/or more upsell opportunities such as premium restaurants accordingly 

Agreed - the trends are towards higher prices to meet all the new requirements.  

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Wondering why higher crew wages would be in the future.  With many places in the world experiencing economic downturns, I would think that wages would fall, not rise.  But would be interested to know if I'm missing a piece of the puzzle.

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