Cruise Industry Trends for 2020

Cruise Trends for 2020Cruise Critic® looks back at the year that was in order to predict what the future of cruising holds for the new year, and they’ve published their list in USA Today. Here are some of the top Cruise Industry Trends for 2020.

Be Kind to Mother Earth

Climate change has moved environmental responsibility to center stage and the industry has taken tangible steps to address the issue, employing everything from the use of shore power, to elimination of single-use plastics, to building LNG powered ships.  There are more than 12 LNG ships currently on order. Expedition line Hurtigruten’s newest ship, Roald Amundsen, became the first cruise vessel to sail on battery power, and MSC Cruises is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2021.


Private Island Life

Cruise lines have created a whole new private island experience.  Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay® takes the private island experience to new heights, boasting an amazing waterpark, beach club, lagoon, and a separate “chill island” area.  MSC Cruises has created the Ocean Cay Marine Reserve with 6 distinct beach areas, food court, bar, a lighthouse and Ocean Cay Village and Marina. Longer stays at CocoCay, Ocean Cay and Virgin Voyages’ Bimini Beach Club means evenings are filled with live music, beach bonfires, stargazing, light shows and even fireworks!


Themes are a Thing

Theme cruises have gained in popularity and have a wide appeal.  Whether it’s wine tasting with the wine maker, cooking with a celebrity chef, concerts with well-known rock or country music artists, or an LGBTQ cruise, theme cruises have something for everyone.


The Suite Life

For the cruiser who wants to pay a bit extra for a bit extra, they’ve got you covered.  When booking a pricier suite, some cruise lines offer a number of sweet extras; exclusive deck and dining spaces, butler service, and priority tendering, embarkation and theater seating to name a few.  If you’ve got the budget you won’t be disappointed.


You Can Be a VIP

Not everyone has the budget to splurge on a suite, but you can still have some of the swag.  Paying a bit extra gives guests priority embarkation and tender service, early or late disembarkation, exclusive dining and special access to attractions.  They’re all competing for the business and perks will vary by cruise line.


Food Fight

There’s major competition for cruising foodies.  Virgin Voyages is leading the pack, turning the tables on the traditional main dining room and buffet concepts in favor of a Korean barbecue restaurant, a grab-and-go venue with food carts, and a drag brunch.  Virgin will also offer an all vegan/vegetarian restaurant. Carnival’s new Mardi Gras will have a globally inspired Street Eats set up as alfresco kiosks in addition to Shaq’s Big Chicken restaurant. The small plates trend gets a nod in tapas-style venues, such as Norwegian’s Food Republic and MSC Cruises’ HOLA! Tapas Bar.


Food & Drink On Demand

Think Grubhub, Doordash and Ubereats, only on a ship.  That’s the concept come to life, albeit in small waves rather than a big bang.  Carnival and Princess are offering pizza and drink deliveries to anywhere onboard the ship at any time.  Royal Caribbean is currently testing their own on-demand app, and Virgin Voyages, because…well, it’s Virgin, will have a “Shake for Champagne” service on its app.  It won’t be long before the rest of the pack joins these Cruise Trends for 2020


They’ve Got Game

The gaming culture has arrived on the high seas and virtual reality (VR) is leading the experience.  With outdoor spaces maxed out, the VR gaming experience is brought inside and offers everything from escape rooms to virtual roller coasters to race car simulators.  New this year will be Royal Caribbean’s VR playground onboard Odyssey of the Seas.


Sharing the Love

Local communities have expressed concern about over-tourism and the cruise lines listened.  They’re getting creative in their quest to alleviate some of the congestion being felt. In Dubrovnik arrivals will be staggered through the week.  As an alternative to Barcelona, Tarragona is being tested as an option, and a good one given its close proximity to Barcelona and all that city has to offer.  This is a great option that will give some lesser known destinations the opportunity to shine. No doubt we’ll see more creative solutions in 2020.


Exceptional Expeditions

There are 11 new expedition ships being introduced in 2020, and they are state of the art.  These ships will offer 5-star luxury, research facilities, lecture rooms, observatories, theaters, and science and lab equipment.  Additional necessary toys include helicopters and zodiacs.