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Key trends to shape the cruise industry in 2020

Sustainability, solo cruising and wearable technology to shape the cruise industry in 2020, says GlobalData.


Laura Beaton, research analyst, travel and tourism at data and analytics company GlobalData, looks at the key trends that will shape the cruise industry in 2020, ranging from sustainability to solo cruising:



“Sustainability is likely going to be a major focus for all segments of the travel and tourism industry and cruises will be no exception. A large cruise ship can use up to 250 tons or 80,000 gallons of fuel per day, and mile-for-mile the carbon footprint for cruises is worse than flying. Cruise companies will need to use technologies such as exhaust gas cleaning systems and advanced wastewater treatment systems to ensure they are as efficient as possible.

“Single-use plastics are chastised all over the travel industry and as hotels increasingly switch to more sustainable alternatives, cruises will be expected to follow suit. Royal Caribbean has a dedicated plastics team that works to reduce plastic both on board and in the supply chain. From January 1, 2020, Norwegian has reported that single-use plastics will no longer be used.”



Wearable technology

“Carnival-owned Princess Cruises’ Ocean Medallion has been a game changer for the cruise industry. This wearable disc enables passengers to benefit from keyless cabin access, tracking of family and friends, and high-speed internet. In return, the company can collect valuable data while also providing a streamlined way for its guests to get around the ship and pay for services. The technology will be rolled out to more ships in 2020 and Carnival may look at introducing the medallion to its other cruise brands.”


More overnight stays onshore

“According to GlobalData’s Q3 2018 survey, 53% of 18-24 year olds would rather spend on new experiences than new products so this age group could be very lucrative should cruise companies choose to target them. The younger generations are also most likely to want to experience the bars and clubs of the cities they visit so this would give them a reason to go on a cruise.



“Carnival Corporation, which owns P&O, has already ventured into late and overnight stays at ports, with Princess Cruises’ ‘More Ashore’ program. Evening stays are available in multiple places across the Caribbean, California and Hawaii with overnight stays in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico proving popular. One of Carnival’s largest competitors, Royal Caribbean, is also already offering overnight stays. Its brand Azmara has already introduced AzAmazing nights, and its celebrity brand has ‘Evenings Around the World’ offering an array of options for night owls.”



“Cruises are an ideal holiday type for single travelers because there is so much to do and a lot of opportunity to meet other people. Single supplements are being wavered and single berth cabins are increasingly common. As more people search for solo trips, cruise companies are in a great position to showcase their offerings and catch the attention of new potential customers.   


“Norwegian’s single studio cabins each feature contemporary designs and are all clustered together so that solo travelers can easily meet. They can even make use of the studio bar, exclusive to these solo travelers. Fred Olsen is another player actively focused on solo travelers – the ship’s staff ensures there are enough dance partners and bridge players, and singles are seated next to each other for meals.”



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Published: 6 January 2020

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