2024: The year of cruises

Wednesday 07th February 2024 09:36 EST

This year is poised to be a landmark year for cruise vacations, with travellers from all income brackets and budget ranges showing unprecedented interest in booking voyages, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

Cruise operators and travel agents have reported a surge in bookings, indicating a strong resurgence in the industry. One of the driving factors behind the popularity of cruises in 2024 is their affordability compared to land-based alternatives. Despite nearing pre-pandemic occupancy levels, cruise operators are still offering competitive pricing, making cruises an attractive option for travellers seeking value and adventure.

Across the board, the entire cruise industry is gearing up for an exciting year in 2024, marked by significant milestones and new offerings. Leading cruise lines like MSC, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean are set to introduce new cruise itineraries and experiences, further enhancing the appeal of cruising for travellers worldwide.

Vas Jesani, a travel expert and founder of Crystal Blue Travels, spoke to Asian Voice, sharing some statistics. She said, “The travel industry is currently experiencing a significant trend in cruising. In 2024, approximately 35.7 million passengers are expected to embark on cruises, compared to 31.5 million in 2023, indicating a steady growth in the industry. This surge in demand has led to the construction and launch of numerous new ships.

“In 2024 alone, 14 new ships are set to debut, spanning both river and ocean cruises. Among these, notable vessels include the Royal Caribbean's "Utopia of the Seas," which is slated for a grand launch in June or July, promising to be one of the largest ships to grace the seas. These offerings cater to a diverse range of preferences, from high-end luxury to family-friendly experiences.

“As for destinations, Antarctic and Alaska have emerged as popular choices for 2024, offering travellers the chance to explore breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. River cruises in Europe and India, particularly along the Ganges and Douro rivers, provide serene and culturally enriching experiences.”

About the appeal of Cruises, she said, “One of the most appealing aspects of cruising is the convenience of waking up to new adventures each day, visiting destinations they may not typically venture to. Moreover, modern cruise ships are equipped with an array of amenities, resembling floating hotels with endless entertainment options. From game shows to theatre productions, water slides, and round-the-clock dining, there is never a dull moment on board.”

Furthermore, she discusses the current trends in the cruise industry, including a focus on sustainability. Ships are now designed with environmentally friendly features, such as battery-powered engines, reducing their ecological footprint. Additionally, there is a growing emphasis on catering to diverse dietary requirements, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.

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