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CruiseCompete Currents
Cruise News and Information
January 14, 2018

What's on the Horizon for the Cruise Industry?
Crystal Ball Predictions For Cruising in 2018 and Beyond

All About Scenic Cruises and Emerald Waterways

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  Read the blog to see what’s on the horizon for the cruise industry!   image

 

Here are CruiseCompete's crystal ball predictions for the most noteworthy trends of 2018:

  
1. The “New Chic” in Cruise Ships: Ultra-Luxury Hoteliers Have Entered the High Seas Arena, Offering Intimate Yacht Experiences. Ultra-luxury brands such as The Ritz-Carlton & Virgin Voyages have new yachts on order and are adding cruising to their brand offerings.

Virgin Voyages is new to the seas and already pre-booking for its 2020 sailings. From dining and entertainment to wellness and rejuvenation, nearly every single element of the Virgin Voyages journey will bring a unique Virgin style to the high seas. You must be 18 years of age or older to sail Virgin Voyages(Virgin is taking $500 deposits for the opportunity to advance book their voyages. Contact Faith@CruiseCompete.com for more information if you are interested in reserving a spot.)


The Ritz-Carlton is taking its legendary service and unmatched luxury to ocean venues. Beginning in 2019, the company will offer voyages on three lavishly-built, intimate yachts with space for only 298 guests. Accommodations include 149 suites, each with its own balcony, and several luxurious duplex penthouses.


As with The Ritz-Carlton on land, cruises feature:

  • Thoughtfully designed, modern interiors
  • Destination-based activities with local chefs, artists and musicians
  • Luxury amenities, including The Ritz-Carlton Spa
  • Exceptionally fine dining, including a restaurant from Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg, and Panorama Lounge Voyages range from 7 to 10 days and include overnight and daytime ports of call. The first yacht sets sail in 2019. Reservations open May 2018.
2. There are 2,553 True Ocean Front Restaurants at Sea - The Cruise Lines are Taking Cues from Hoteliers by Expanding Culinary Choices. Offerings span a world of cuisine, from Italian Mediterranean, Pan-Asian, and Churrascaria (Portuguese Barbeque) cuisine, to traditional steakhouses, authentic New York pizza joints, and specialty offerings like the Ice Cream Café, to name but a few. Whatever cuisine you’re craving, the cruise lines have you covered. For a list of all the cruise line restaurants, and what they offer, click here.

Remarkable gastronomic experiences include:
  • Table La Rive – An exclusive dégustation experience on Scenic River Cruises at a 10-seat executive chef’s table. This elegant and intimate dining experience includes a six-course dégustation menu replete with sommelier paired wines.
  • Ultimate Vintage Room Dinners aboard Crystal Cruises(Our favorite) - The Vintage Room promotes wine education and the vast range of fine wines available on board. Crystal’s Ultimate Vintage Room Dinners are one-of-a-kind culinary experiences featuring some of the rarest wines in the world. They are only offered a few times each year on both Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. Depending on the wines selected, these exceptional dinners are priced at an estimated $1,000 per person. The first Ultimate Vintage Room Dinner was an eight-course French meal prepared by Master Chef André Soltner, former chef/owner of world-famous Lutèce, paired with, among others, a nearly impossible-to-get 1959 Château Lafite–Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux and a Screaming Eagle 1996 from Napa Valley, considered its dream year.
3. Personalized Well-Being Experiences –To meet growing demand from travelers, MSC Cruises has launched a personal wellness program with TechnoGym. Each enrolled guest has an entirely personalised cruise experience, which is customized with shore excursions, gym classes and healthy food options that are specific to their needs. “The global wellness travel segment is projected to grow by nearly 10% annually over the next five years, as consumers are increasingly seeking out ways to combine being active and healthy with their vacation,” says Gianni Onorato, chief executive officer of MSC Cruises.
MSC Divina will also be launching the first Weight Watchers cruise in the Caribbean.
Seabourn has introduced a fleet-wide mindful living program with American celebrity Dr. Andrew Weil, which encompasses physical, social and spiritual well-being. The new program focuses on the daily practice of meditation and yoga through a selection of complimentary session and is the first of its kind at sea.

4. “Millennials only” allowed – River and small ship cruising continues to gain traction among the millennial generation. With exciting new itineraries and destination experiences that provide the perfect “Instagram moment,” the younger generation is embracing river cruising.
In a controversial move, U by Uniworld has imposed an age requirement of 21-45 for those who cruise on their line. (See https://www.ubyuniworld.com/US.)  
Other lines are enforcing a minimum age to sail. You must be 18 years of age or older to sail Virgin Voyages. On a similar note, children are prohibited on Viking’s ocean cruises.

5. Children and Family Camps at Sea. Each year the programs get more and more sophisticated. A book that details every aspect of the family cruise vacation experience: Hot Off the Press, the "Sea Tales 2018 Family Cruise Travel Planner" is the Ultimate Cruise Resource for Families. The 2018 edition has updated information and new sections that cover family suites and children’s dining, as well as details about the popular onboard cruise line characters from children’s books and movies. See the book here.

6. The Excitement of Exclusivity … So Many New Ships—So Many Choices … Plus, Which Lines are All-Inclusive – There is nothing like an inaugural cruise and this year there will be so many choices. You will have been written into a page of history as a member of the “elite” group of passengers present for the very first sailing of a new ship. Not to mention, there are some serious bragging rights that go along with being able to say, "I was on the maiden voyage of that beautiful ship." See a list of the new ships here.

It’s important to know what is included on your cruise vacation. This chart details everything from bottled waters, to specialty coffees, to Wi-Fi and shore excursions included in your cruise fare. See the all-inclusive amenities chart here.

7. Cruise Lines Are Coining New Vacation Words – Here’s a “Cheat Sheet”
  • Skip-Gen cruising – Multigenerational cruising is projected to increase in popularity, as forecasted by CLIA’s Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook in April 2017. But there’s a twist: “skip-generation” trips, with grandparents and grandchildren traveling together without their parents, are predicted to be highly popular in 2018 and beyond.
  • Boomerang cruising – Round-trip cruises are always popular, however 'boomerang cruising' seems to be a growing trend within the industry. Cruisers travel to one destination and spend some time in port before booking a different cruise home, either days or weeks later.
  • Back-to-back cruising – Cruise agents are seeing more bookings for back-to-back trips, during which cruisers will drop anchor at one port and board another ship to continue their journey elsewhere. Perfect for travelers with plenty of time, you could book as many back-to-back cruises as you like.


CruiseCompete member-agents are the most well-educated, forward-thinking and trusted cruise specialists in the industry. If you’d like more information or assistance planning your next cruise, please visit us at CruiseCompete.com

 

Land Tour Activities     image
Shore Excursions      image 

The Top 4 Reasons to Book Your Excursions Before You Sail

CruiseCompete has made dreaming about and planning travel experiences easier, offering online tools to book land tour activities or shore excursions at substantially discounted rates prior to arriving at a selected destination. Experiences such as yacht racing in Antigua, a 4x4 Jeep Safari ride, ocean treasure hunting in Aruba, or private scuba lessons in the Bahamas are bookable online. These are just a few of the many exciting adventures to choose from, whether vacationing on land or at sea.

In addition to the excitement of dreaming and planning, there are also some very practical reasons to plan land tour activities and shore excursions before arrival at a destination:

1. Time is valuable. Booking ahead allows avoidance of standing in long lines at ship or hotel’s concierge to book land activities or shore excursions.

2. Land tours and shore excursions sell out, thus travelers miss out.

3. Looking at all possible options in advance allows you to weigh your options more fully. Cruise Compete links you to tour providers on every continent, in almost every county, and in many cities and destinations.

4. CruiseCompete’s excursion provider gives access to higher quality excursions at substantially lower prices.


How to: 

Staying on land?  Visit CruiseCompete’s Land Tour Activity Offers.

Traveling via cruise ship? Visit CruiseCompete’s Shore Excursions Offers

  • Click on the name of the ship and destination to find available shore excursions, or call 1-866-578-7508 or +1-954-449-6309 for expert advice to help select the best excursions for you.)

 

Find Out More About Scenic

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Australia-based Scenic operates luxury river cruises specializing in Europe, Russia and SE Asia with a fleet of "Space Ships," so named because they are longer than standard European river boats and have a higher-than-normal space ratio. 

More than 80% of cabins have "Sun Lounge" convertible balconies, which are unique to Scenic. When the weather is poor, guests can press a button and a hidden glass panel rises up to create a fully-enclosed all-weather room extension. All accommodations have luxury bedding (and a pillow menu), WiFi, flat-screen high-definition television (hooked up to a MiniMac computer, for in-room surfing), Infotainment entertainment system, complimentary mini-bars, bathrobes and slippers, L'Occitane products and larger-than average bathrooms with walk-in showers. 

Twenty-five percent of the Balcony Suites are Deluxe Balcony Suites, with 225 square feet of space. Onboard facilities include a 24-hour fitness center, a walking track, gift shop, three outdoor viewing areas and a larger-than-average lounge and dining area. 

There are two restaurants: the main dining room and the (Italian) alternative restaurant, Portobello's, which requires reservations. Other options: Table la Rive, a six-course tasting menu served with wine pairing and the River Cafe, which serves light food all day long, and 24/7 room service. 

The technology aboard Scenic boats reduces vibrations, which makes for a quieter passenger experience. Scenic's "Tailormade" GPS system offers audio information not only during shore tours, but also on sites traveled along the river. 

Scenic Space-Ships are purpose built. For instance, the Scenic Gem (the Tsar is not a Space Ship), is capable of navigating areas along the Seine that are not accessible to bigger boats; passenger can then disembark directly to such appealing ports as Honfleur in France. 

Scenic's cruise fares include meals (including theme dinners), unlimited drinks (including those in the cabin mini-bars), shore excursions, concerts and performances, gratuities and butler service (in Europe), transfers and use of electric-assist bicycles (as well as the regular type). 

Guests have the ability to customize their experiences through the Scenic Enrich, Scenic FreeChoice and Scenic Tailormade programs – at no additional cost. 

As you might expect on a luxury cruise, the passengers are fairly affluent, well-traveled, 50+ , most of whom are English speakers (North Americans, Europeans and Australians). 

Scenic is best for: 

Well-traveled, mature adults who seek a luxury river cruise that is entirely inclusive. Those seeking the finest river experience and not concerned about price.

Ships:
Scenic Amber
Scenic Aura
Scenic Azure
Scenic Crystal
Scenic Diamond
Scenic Eclipse
Scenic Gem
Scenic Jade
Scenic Jasper
Scenic Jewel
Scenic Opal
Scenic Pearl
Scenic Ruby
Scenic Sapphire
Scenic Spirit
Scenic Tsar

 

 

Find Out More About Emerald Waterways   image
 

Exceptional. Amazing. Unique. Expect more from your deluxe river cruise with Emerald Waterways. Our award-winning river cruise fleet and inspiring itineraries reveal the stunning scenery and fascinating culture of Europe and Asia as you've never experienced them. 

Enjoy the Emerald Waterways difference. Awarded 'Best Value for Money' by Cruise Critic Editors three years in a row, our innovative Star-Ships offer you panoramic views of the stunning scenery, and feature contemporary boutique hotel styling, deluxe in-suite comfort, gourmet dining options and exceptional service, all included in the price. Explore unique cultural experiences at every destination with our included exclusive EmeraldPLUS and EmeraldACTIVE excursions. See even more, with our adventurous DiscoverMORE optional tours and destination hotel extensions. We guarantee you the best value in river cruising, so you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest. Welcome aboard.

Ships:
Emerald Dawn
Emerald Destiny
Emerald Liberte
Emerald Radiance
Emerald Sky
Emerald Star
Emerald Sun
RV Mekong Navigator

 

Sea Tales 2018 Family Cruise Travel Planner   image


The Sea Tales 2018 Family Cruise Travel Planner is Here! Our comprehensive guide to family cruising details every aspect of the family cruise vacation experience. Readers will find the 2018 edition has updated information and new sections that cover family suites and children’s dining, as well as details about the popular onboard cruise line characters from children’s books and movies.
 

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We are interested and truly welcome and encourage feedback about our Currents newsletter. Please email any comments or suggestions to Heidi Allison, Executive VP & Group Publisher, at Heidi@AllThingsCruise.com

 

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Photos by ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews, iStock, R. Levinstein, Jackie Sheckler Finch

 



 
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