Cruise Critic Names Top Cruise Trends of 2014

Top Cruise Destinations of 2014
Cruise Critic also made predictions for the top cruise destinations of 2014:

• Panama Canal: “The Panama Canal celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2014 and the new visitors’ center will welcome a number of cruise ship passengers,” Cruise Critic says.

• Japan: “Watch out for more Japan-centric cruises in 2014,” Cruise Critic advises. “Japan can be expensive and tricky to navigate by land, so cruising is considered an ideal way to see the country.”

• Australia: “Cruises are a great way to experience all that Australia has to offer, and with more choices offered in 2014, it’s definitely a cruise destination to watch,” Cruise Critic says.

Event planners and attendees might want to take a fresh look at cruises next year, as 2014 will bring a renewed focus on flexibility and affordability, according to cruise review website Cruise Critic, which last week released its list of the top cruise trends of 2014.

Among its predictions:

• Custom deals: “Cruise lines are now introducing pick-your-own deal offerings that allow passengers to choose the deal of their choice — airline, onboard credit, etc.,” Cruise Critic says. “These new deal options not only offer add-ons, but leave the choice in the cruisers’ hands.”

• Shorter cruises: “More new ships are offering short cruises — including Norwegian Breakaway, which launched in 2013 and will offer some two-day sailings,” Cruise Critic observes. “Short cruises are especially popular with local residents looking for a short break or last minute deal, and new-to-cruise travelers.”

• Non-smoking: “Six cruise lines announced amendments to onboard smoking policies in 2013, and it’s expected that a number more will follow in 2014,” Cruise Critic says. “Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Cunard, P&O, Disney Cruise Line and Seabourn all announced that they would ban some, if not all, smoking on balconies by 2014.”

• Engaging experiences: “A majority of cruisers (80 percent) book shore excursions prior to embarkation — 45% of those book through an independent operator, rather than the cruise line,” Cruise Critic explains. “To counter this excursion competition, lines are introducing new, immersive shore experiences that cruisers can only experience by booking directly through the line.”

• River cruising: “River cruises continue to rise in popularity,” Cruise Critic says. “A key trend will be the improved levels of inclusivity available — while some lines have more inclusive offerings at a higher base cost, others offer less inclusivity at a lower base cost.”

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