The past decade of cruise news has seen innovation, creativity and sad endings. As we enter 2020, we thought what better way to start a new decade than by looking back over the last one at some of the key things that happened in our beloved world of cruising…
1. Celebrity Cruises First All-Female Crew
In 2019 Celebrity Cruises announced that in March 2020 Celebrity Cruises will have the first all-female crew. The first American female cruise ship captain, Kate McCue, will be leading the team of 26 women with her 27 strong female crew onboard Celebrity Edge. This will also include three British women; first officer Rachel Arnold, cruise director Sue Denning and guest relations director Julie Sherrington. This historic sailing celebrating International Women’s Day is part of the Celebrity Cruises #BRIDGEthegap initiative. The initiative highlights the sector being male-dominated when it comes to leadership roles.
2. Virgin Voyages Launches
From the conception of Virgin Voyages, Sir Richard Branson wanted to create an environment where adults can truly relax. Fun is the goal of Virgin Voyages and on the upcoming fleet, you won’t find typical Broadway shows and comedians but a dodgeball tournament at 1 AM in the morning! Every aspect of the cruise experience has been reimagined and personalised to the passenger. Food will not be served in the traditional buffet style as Branson believes all meals should be served individually to suit each passenger. There will be no gratuities onboard any Virgin Voyages ship, as staff will be paid higher wages as to not rely on tips for income. Despite this, Virgin Voyages plans to keep cruise prices reasonable and competitive. As if launching a cruise line wasn’t enough, Sir Richard Branson has also purchased an island in the Bahamas, which will serve as a private port of call for extra fun and entertainment for his guests.
3. The First and Last Norwegian Breakaway Plus Class
The past 10 years have seen the rise of Norwegian Cruise Lines largest class of ship yet, the Breakaway Plus Class. These four mega-ships are bursting with entertainment, food and drink. They have every feature you could wish for; a go-kart track, laser tag arena, virtual reality arcade, waterparks, comedy club and broadway entertainment to name a few. Starting production in 2015 with Norwegian Escape and ending in late 2019 with Norwegian Encore, this class of ships has brought a huge amount of innovation and changes in the cruising world. The Breakaway Plus Class has now come to an end as the cruise line moves on to the rise of the Leonardo Class. Little is known of this upcoming project from NCL but, it has been confirmed all six ships will be arriving from 2022-2027. From what we have seen from the cruise line, we are excited to see what the Leonardo Class will bring to the next decade.
4. Thomson Cruises Rebrand to Marella Cruises
In late October 2017, Thomson Cruises rebranded as Marella Cruises. This decision came from the cruise lines new managing director Chris Hackney. The cruise line rebrand came at the same time as the parent company, Thomson, changed over to TUI. Marella, meaning ‘shining sea’ in Celtic, was chosen to help the cruise line ‘stand out in the cruise market’ and to give it its own identity from the company’s European cruise brand, TUI Cruises.
5. Cruising Goes Eco-Friendly
Over the past decade, there has been a big push towards more environmentally friendly practices onboard all major cruise lines. Following the bad rap the industry has received, cruise lines have taken huge steps over the last 10 years to make a conscious effort to minimise there impact on the world and seas. Green technologies, such as solar power, are being incorporated on newly built ships and fitted into some of the older ones. All major cruise lines are making small changes onboard which contribute to reducing the overall waste of up to 6000 passengers can produce, for example, scrapping all single-use plastic items such as straws, water bottles and plastic cups.
6. P&O Cruises Oriana Retires
After 24 years of service with P&O Cruises, Oriana left their fleet in August 2019. Since her maiden voyage in 1995, Oriana has captured the hearts of cruise passengers worldwide. Whether it be down to her traditional teak promenade and lido decks or her timeless features, Oriana will be sorely missed from the P&O Cruises fleet.
7. Booze at Sea
The past decade has seen a rise in cruise lines having their own exclusive drinks onboard and a few have even gone has fare as hosting beer breweries, wine cellars and even gin distilleries onboard. Carnival Cruise Line has partnered with Parched Pig brewery to create their own ‘Thirsty Frog’ ale, named after their own famous top deck bar. And P&O Cruises have partnered with Salcombe Gin to produce their very own Gin onboard Iona, ensuring you always have the perfect English G&T.
8. Demographics Change
Gone are the time’s when cruise holidays were ‘exclusively’ for retired couples. Over the last 10 years, there has been a considerable drop in the average age of cruise passengers. With the rise in popularity of cruises, this form of holidaying has never felt so accessible to younger generations. Reportedly, just under 15% of 18 to 34-year-olds have considered booking a cruise within the past year which is up from around 11% previous years. With major cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean being so jam-packed of activities, families are opting for cruises over your traditional beach package holiday more than ever! Travelling the world and entertaining the little ones has never been so easy.
9. Wi-Fi at Sea
Now we can’t imagine a time not being connected, but just 10 years ago you would still be hard-pressed to call home when at sea. Thankfully this is no longer a concern. Every cruise ship (with the exception of some small expedition ships) is fully equipped with 24/7 Wi-Fi, ensuring you can always stream that movie, call your loved ones at home and send those crucial emails. The luxury of internet access at sea is still sometimes charged for, but most cruise lines allow you to add this onto a package, making Wi-Fi at sea easier than ever before.
10. Rise of Cruise Line Private Islands
Cruising has always been a way of visiting the worlds most exotic places but over the past decade, we have seen many large cruise lines offer something unique and exclusive. Now it’s a common thing to have a port of call at a cruise line’s private island; whether that be Royal Caribbean‘s CocoCay or MSC‘s Ocean Cay Marine Reserve. These exclusive islands, usually in the Bahamas, are only accessible to the public via cruise ship. They offer a whole host of extra activities such as watersports, scuba diving in coral reefs, kids waterparks and much more.
What do you think is the best cruise news story of the past decade? Let us know in the comments below …
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