Cruise booking numbers are back to pre-pandemic levels and here are the main cruise trends that you should be looking out for next year.

Cruising, meanwhile, has become more family-friendly, with upmarket lines such as Explora Journeys offering kid-friendly programmes and onboard kid-suites. More, too, are operating in warmer-water destinations such as Western Australia.

Social Media

In return for people helping to book cruise lines, social media has helped them become easier to book. The lines’ fun products and thriving constituencies have helped their followers create desirable social content.

Reality series such as MTV’s C*mparing Notes – Cruise with Susan Calman (£11.99 for a week’s worth of printable worksheets) – and TikTok posts by couples discussing how they plan to spend their children’s inheritances are making the industry’s case for free trips while clearing a path to the orlop for women and younger people alike. Meanwhile, the remaining half of the decorative sector works overtime. ‘After the pandemic, my customers,’ pet-owners and gardeners, he explains, ‘wanted to see the world.’ Cruises tick the box.

Even the luxury cruise lines have catered to the trend: some now offer ‘boutique’ excursions featuring food, drink and other elements that help to immerse passengers briefly in local cultures. One intrepid passenger even tweeted: ‘Anyone got a drink I can get off a cruise ship? I’ll pay anything.’ His plea was actually answered in real time.

Work and Play

With cruise lines operating at close to full-capacity since many COVID restrictions and testing requirements were dropped, passengers are once again WALKING the upper decks of cruise ships, finding shorter lines at the restaurants and ease of entry to shows. But with this normalcy returning for the crew on board cruise ships, let’s consider a few ‘unexpected’ changes.

Many cruise ship employers insist on changes in employee social lives and recreational options; Work to Play is the policy.

Cruise ship employees are used to living among a family of equals every day, and making enduring friends – it doesn’t matter if you are still learning the ropes or a veteran. The other leg of this learning module teaches you to have an ‘on’ or ‘off’ persona – a compartmentalised way of living depending on the people you are with: be it temporarily during a shift, or with whom you share your living space continually.

Cold-Weather Cruising

Cruise travel has rebounded this year and bookings have returned to record highs, giving cruise lines a chance to expand new features while modifying older offerings to entice passengers to climb aboard their ships.

The cruise business is embracing cold-weather cruising. Expedition cruises to Alaska, Antarctica and Greenland are becoming more popular. Such destinations as Madagascar, West Africa’s Cape Verde islands or Kimberley in Western Australia are also relatively exotic.

Consumers, including more young adults and families, are choosing cruises for their vacations, which is something travel advisors are seeing more and more on their booking calendars. And specifically, we’re hearing about more repositioning cruises more families, and more healthy options on board.

Helicopters and Submarines

In an attempt to re-elegantise cruising since the pandemic, cruise lines have added extra services that appeal to passengers: helicopter tours on Antarctica itineraries this winter and the following, as well as Nile and Mekong itineraries on river ships are particularly popular.

A submarine is on board Compagnie du Ponant’s opulent Le Jacques Cartier for cruises to the Great Lakes, but the expedition manager for one of the largest cruise lines recently cautioned against these ‘gimmicks’, which can injure delicate environments and possibly harm wildlife.


Workcations are an extension of bleisure travel, the trend of combining business travel with leisure travel; during the pandemic, knowledge workers decamped their overcrowded apartments for a cabin in the mountains or a beach house for more spacious ‘working’ areas.

As the demand for workcations has grown, the cruise lines have bent over backwards to accommodate them; all the while, they offer diners the opportunity to consume in air-conditioned peace, devoid of heat, noise and stench. Children – increasingly getting a foot into the adult world with the rise in workcations – are given their own opportunities for entertainment: deck parties and stand-up-inspired shows like ‘New York, New York’, while parents can get drawn in to game shows or cocktails mixed by robots.

Workcations allow us to keep up with work right where we are, and the hope is not to end in a post-vacation bluesie kind of a way. Before setting off on your workcation holiday, amicable communication is key – do set your friends’ expectations about being able to contact you while you are travelling, while setting aside enough time to relax and focus on activities that are important to you.

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