BELLEVUE, Wash., Oct. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- October is Plan a Cruise Month, prime time for sea veterans and newcomers alike to start planning a cruise vacation. 25.3 million1 people are expected to take a cruise by the end of 2017, a number that has steadily grown over the past few years. With trips on top cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian bookable up to 18 months in advance, Expedia.com® makes comparing cruise lines and finding a great deal easy. To help travelers find and book the perfect cruise getaway, the experts at Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® have compiled insights on the latest cruise crazes and how to save on your next trip.
"With cruises you get the complete vacation experience and you can relax knowing that everything has been taken care of, from your food and accommodations to your entertainment and transportation," says Matthew Eichhorst, VP, Global Cruise, Expedia, Inc. "Travelers can easily book their cruise online at Expedia.com, or they can visit one of our Expedia CruiseShipCenters locations to speak with our knowledgeable Travel Consultants who can help them plan the vacation of their dreams."
Cruising Trends and Growth
Cruises are gaining popularity, and more than 100 million people are expected to take a cruise in the next four years.2 In fact, cruises enjoy the highest satisfaction rate of any vacation, and 84 percent of cruisers would recommend cruising to a friend.3 And despite misconceptions and anxiety about cruise expenses4, included amenities like meals, activities, and room service can make voyages much more cost-effective than land-based vacations. Plus, travelers can visit multiple destinations without extra transportation costs. As cruise lines look to continue to shake up assumptions of what a cruise can be, here are some industry trends making major waves:
- New ships on the block. Over 100 new cruise ships will debut in the next decade, and 26 new ocean, river and specialty cruise ships are expected to debut in 2017 alone.
- All-time favorites meet new frontiers. According to a recent survey5, the most in-demand cruises continue to be ever-popular routes to the Caribbean and Alaska. However, expedition cruises are also growing in popularity as more cruise lines are offering itineraries to the Galapagos Islands and remote polar regions.
- New Panama Canal. Another key catalyst driving the cruise industry's growth is the widening of the Panama Canal. The nine-year canal expansion project will enable bigger cargo ships and many of the world's biggest cruise ships to pass through, cutting off the extra 8,000 miles it would take to sail around Cape Horn.
- Nearly 20 percent of millennials plan to take a cruise in the next 12 months.6 Many cruise lines are wooing millennial travelers with high-tech amenities, fun onboard activities (ziplines, mixology classes, skydiving simulators) and late-night dance parties with international DJs. Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Vista even has its own brewery.
- Private beach attractions are gaining popularity. Cruise lines are investing more in exclusive ownership of private islands to enhance the guest experience. These islands – like Royal Caribbean's CocoCay – are equipped with luxury amenities, bars, easier accessibility, acres of lounge chairs, and beach pavilions.
- Sea foodies. Survey respondents ranked cruises for foodies and gourmands as the most popular themed cruise type7, and there is no shortage of delectable options to explore. Norwegian Cruise Line has their "Meet the Winemaker Cruises," which allows passengers the opportunity to wine and dine with leaders and legends of the wine making industry. Last year Holland America partnered with America's Test Kitchen to bring live onboard cooking shows and hands-on workshops on select ships.
- Celebrity performances. Cruise lines continue to draw celebrities to perform on their ships, with past headliners including Demi Lovato, Bonnie Tyler, and Carrie Underwood. It's been two years since their last cruise, but next year Backstreet's back! The Backstreet Boys Cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines sails from Miami to Grand Turk May 3-7, 2018.
- Luxury cruises are going all out. The world's finest cruises allow travelers to experience first-class amenities and other extravagances like infinity pools, underwater lounges and helicopters.
6 Ways to Save On Your Next Cruise Vacation
For travelers looking to get a great price on their next sea voyage, Expedia has a few money-saving tips to keep in mind:
- Book your cruise through a travel agent – like Expedia CruiseShipCenters. Travel agents can negotiate contracted rates directly with cruise lines so they can save travelers on average $452 per trip.8
- When planning a cruise vacation, book early. Often, cruise lines will offer early booking incentives in the form of low fares, value add-ons and upgrades if you book months in advance, typically six – 18 months out.
- If you have a few friends or family members who want to go on a cruise, take advantage of group booking discounts. In general, if you book as a large group with most cruise lines, one person will often cruise for free. Fun fact: Expedia CruiseShipCenters has a Group Program that allows travelers to take advantage of the group booking price without needing to be part of a group. This is something that isn't offered if you were to book directly with the cruise line.
- Consider taking a cruise during the off-season or shoulder season when people are no longer taking vacation to net big savings. There can also be a tremendous price difference between one week and the next, so consider alternative weeks to reduce the price of your cruise fare. It pays to be flexible!
- Arrange your own shore excursions instead of booking them through the cruise line. Cruise lines offer shore excursions for their passengers but paying for the convenience is pricey. Book your shore activities on Expedia to save money.
- There are many options for finding cruise deals on Expedia and there are new deals every day. Now through October 31 travelers can get up to $150 to spend onboard 2017 Holland America Line Caribbean cruises. Check out the Expedia Deals page for more last-minute cruise offers.
Travelers looking for more information can explore expert tips, FAQs, on our Guide to Cruising.
In honor of Plan a Cruise Month, Expedia is offering travelers several promotions:
- Carnival 1-Week Sale: Ends October 8. Free cabin upgrades, plus $50 onboard credit.
- Norwegian Free at Sea + Dash Sale: Ends October 9. Choose up to five free offers, plus get up to $1000 to spend onboard.
- Royal Caribbean 100 Hour Sale: Ends October 10. 50% off 2nd guest + up to $200 instant savings + up to $150 onboard credit.
- Win 1 of 5 Free Cruises: September 1-October 31. Enter for your chance to win one of five free cruises on Norwegian Cruise Line.
- World Explorers Sale: October 5-25. From Asia to Europe, set sail to exotic destinations and discover the world by sea. Book Oct 5-25 and take advantage of incredible Expedia Extras like free drinks, up to $600 onboard cash credit, or up to $1000 savings in onboard coupons.
- Disney Cruises: October 1-31. Get a $100 onboard credit
- Holland America Line Exclusive Sale: October 1-31. Get up to $150 to spend onboard 2017 Caribbean cruises.
Ready to start planning? Visit us at https://www.expedia.com/Cruises and book your sailing in a snap. Travelers can also visit Expedia CruiseShipCenters to get trustworthy travel advice and personalized, 1-on-1 service.
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1-3Source: Cruise Lines International Association.
4-7Survey commissioned by Expedia during September 2017 and conducted by Google Consumer Surveys, polling more than 1,000 respondents, aged 18-55+, located in the U.S.
8Source: ASTA's Best of Both Worlds: Quantifying How Travel Agents Save Consumers Time and Money.