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Cruise Holiday Trends 2020

Cruise holiday numbers are higher than ever before! Between July 2018 and July 2019 one in ten travellers took a cruise, 2% more than the previous year. With an ever expanding offering, we expect this trend to continue and younger travellers are are leading the increase. More than a quarter (28%) of 18-34 year olds taking a cruise, up 6% on 2018. Furthermore, one in five (20%) of this age group say they would like to go on a cruise again.

“Taster” Cruise Holidays

There have always been shorter cruise durations but in 2020 there are so many more. And a short taster cruise is surely ideal for new to cruise travellers. The demand for short cruises is increasing, especially from the 18-34 year olds.  

Royal Caribbean will continue to provide a range of short sailing itineraries across a variety of its ships around the world, tailored for younger holidaymakers. One of these is a four night Bahamas sailing round trip from Miami, which includes a stay on the cruise line’s exclusive private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay. 

Multi Generation Family on a Cruise Holiday - Strawberry Holidays Blog

Multi Generational Cruise Holidays

The family travel market continues to be another very important trend in the cruise industry, as highlighted at the ABTA cruise conference. I’ve seen a gradual increase in multi generational family holidays, particularly with cruise holiday enquiries, Which is why cruise lines are now catering to this demand with new family-sized cabins and cruise itineraries that offer fun for the whole family.

NCL Haven offers suites that sleep up to six. MSC Cruises’ newest ship, MSC Grandiosa will offer connecting staterooms that allow up to 10 people to share.

Sustainable Cruise Holiday

Meanwhile, holidaymakers seeking greener cruise trips have plenty of options to choose from. Royal Caribbean has announced 1,400 sustainable tours for the year ahead, offering responsible excursions while ashore, such as kayaking along Mallorca’s west coast and grape harvesting at a winery in Uruguay, all provided by operators certified to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standard. 

Many cruise lines have pledged to extinguish single use plastics from their ships. Fred Olsen continues to run its ‘Refill’ campaign and has installed free water stations across its ocean fleet with passengers encouraged to bring their own bottles. Plastic water bottles that were previously supplied in passenger rooms have also been removed and replaced with glass carafes of drinking water, which are replenished daily. Intrepid has a no single-use plastic rule on all of its cruise holidays and sources 90% of its meals from local producers. 

The cruise lines are making great strides in the technology and improvements to the cruise experience on the environment. A #traveltalk I did during Cruise Month goes through some fascinating stats, facts and figures.

Crowds at a Santorini sunset on a cruise holiday - Strawberry Holidays Blog

Over Tourism with Cruise Holidays

Over tourism has been another big buzzword this year, sparked by the crash in Venice, which resulted in the government calling for a ban on all large cruise ships from entering the city’s grand canal.

Over tourism is a big problem in small locations, with the likes of Amsterdam, Venice, Barcelona and Dubrovnik being the most prevalent.

With continued advances in technology, the industry believes there will be more apps appearing which will help to distribute people in cities so that they do not get too overcrowded. However, in the meantime, it is down to the individual tour operators and cities to advise people.

Princess Cruises’ vice-president and CLIA’s chairman for the UK and Ireland Tony Roberts – who spoke at the ABTA conference about how we can work together to grow the cruise industry further – highlighted how the cruise body is working closely with Dubrovnik’s mayor to stagger ships, so “guests can experience the city in a controlled and managed way”.

Solo Cruisers

Solo travelling has been another key trend for 2019, having grown by 2 per cent in the last year with 17 per cent of people now going on a solo holiday, according to the latest figures.

Even though more than 85 per cent of solo travellers are female, there’s a range in ages and are interested in adventure travel. Our Holiday Companions Facebook group is a thriving community of solo travellers, we want to encourage to mingle, learn from each other and get advice. 

Kate on a cruise holiday onboard Sky Princess - Strawberry Holidays Blog

The Rise of the Cruise Holiday Expert

Finally, ABTA sees the return of the travel expert as a trend that we will continue to see even more of in 2020. While technology is important when it comes to booking holidays, ABTA noted how there is “a continued renaissance” in consumers wanting a real-life expert to ensure they make the right decision.

“We are seeing a return of the travel agent and people wanting that expert advice and booking process made simple. Agents can therefore play a big role,” he commented.

When you think of a holiday, you should be thinking about turning your focus away from strategy and work to relaxation. But if you self-serve your travel, it’s you that has to create itineraries, navigate language barriers and book reservations all on your own. 

If you want to immerse yourself in local culture, and place accountability on someone else, a modern travel agency is a great option. 

As a bespoke travel consultant I execute the trips stress-free. Trips are ATOL protected and you have someone in your corner, helping you every step of the way. 

Fancy a fresh way to book your holiday? Let’s book your discovery call today!


About the Author
I've worked in travel for 13 years. As a marketer I've worked for Thomas Cook, Going Places, Direct Holidays, Gill's Cruises, Virgin Holidays and cruise brands,, and Strawberry Holidays was born because I LOVE TRAVEL. In the last 5 years my family and I have been to 39 places and 17 countries.