Virtuoso unveils its top cruise trends for 2020

Jan 17 2020, 8:42 pm

It is becoming increasingly common for travellers to seek out for more immersive, authentic experiences when it comes to travel.

This theory is supported by the global luxury travel network Virtuoso, who recently released its Top Cruise Trends for 2020, just in time for “wave season” — January through March — when travellers take advantage of the unique offerings put on by various cruise companies.


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Virtuoso’s cruise portfolio includes 33 river, yacht, ocean, and expedition partners who offer a variety of itineraries to a multitude of destinations.

“In 2020, cruisers are choosing itineraries based on destinations and the more unusual and far away, the better,” Virtuoso’s vice president of cruise sales, Beth Butzlaff, said in a statement.

“Cruising used to be considered more passive, but lines have overcome that misperception with more time in port and experiences that are unique to the destination. Passengers want to enjoy the essence of these places through interactions with local people and culture, and the industry has responded with innovative offerings to satisfy evolving preferences.”

The reason travellers are attracted to the idea of going on a cruise, according to the Virtuoso-YouGov survey, is because it allows them to visit multiple destinations.


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Thus, a theme to look out for in 2020 is journeying to distant destinations.

Cruise lines are no longer limited to routes focused on the Mediterranean or Caribbean, with many extending their network to visit more unique destinations such as Muscat, Oman, and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

Similarly, once passengers arrive at these locations, they want to be more immersed in wherever they are visiting, with in-port immersion being another emerging theme.

Cruise lines are adjusting to this shift in demand by developing new itineraries and excursions onshore that provide a more authentic immersion for passengers to feel connected to the destination.


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One example that Virtuoso provides is Azamara Cruises‘ three options for passengers to experience a deeper connection with a given place through complimentary evening performances, late-night and overnight stays, and excursions that encourage more genuine relationships with local cultures and people.

Differential from the typical cruise concept of sailing to warm, tropical paradises, a new trend that is emerging in the new year is passengers looking for idyllic, scenic destinations in colder places such as the Arctic, Greenland, and the fjords of Norway.


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To preserve these picturesque destinations and come back to them again and again, cruise lines are also taking notice of consumers’ increasing interest and awareness of sustainable practices through implementing environmentally friendly technology and methods.

For example, Norwegian Cruise Line recently eliminated all single-use plastic bottles across its fleet of ships and private destinations as a member of the Trash Free Seas Alliance.

Additionally, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, the cruise industry is committed to decreasing its rate of CO2 emissions fleet-wide by 40% by 2030.

As such, conscious travel is another prominent cruise trend for 2020.


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For those who may financially be able to afford a trip but may not necessarily have the time to embark on long-duration journeys, micro-trips are becoming a popular trend.

While one of the trends listed by Virtuoso is travelling to distant destinations, another trend that the luxury travel brand describes is travellers selecting cruise itineraries that are closer to home.

According to the report, “Cruise lines featuring U.S. sailings are flourishing, with American Queen’s Mississippi River cruises in particularly high demand.”

However, the appeal of Mississippi River cruises extends beyond Americans, with Australians also wishing to cruise the iconic river also booking voyages, the network explains.


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In a time that values self-care and wellness, some cruise passengers only want to go on cruises if they can do it in style and live the suite life.

Virtuoso emphasizes this final trend with the example that some passengers will even push the date of their sailing into the future to ensure that they can book a suite.

“Suite inventory is relatively small, specifically for spacious owner’s and penthouse suites,” the report explains.

“So this demand has inspired lines to open itineraries well in advance, especially for world
cruises. With 2020 bookings strong, cruisers are bumping sailing dates out as far as 2022.”

Those who are looking to make the most of wave season and book through a Virtuoso advisor will qualify for complimentary amenities on select sailings.

Emily RumballEmily Rumball

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