It shouldn’t really be a surprise, but as Baby Boomers & Gen Xers have watched their kids move out, have become proficient cruisers, are seeking new experiences, have more free time and money, and desire a more sophisticated cruise experience, they are increasingly wanting to up their cruise game.
These cruisers started cruising 10, 20, or 30 years ago. They’ve watched ships get bigger and bigger, add more and more entertainment, but over time some the novelty has worn off and maybe they don’t party as much as they did in the past. Now it is more about creature comforts, upscale dining, and an interest in discovery of new destinations, cultures, experiences, and friends.
For some this means moving from their previous balcony stateroom preference into a suite. For others it means moving from one of the mass market cruise ships (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, or Princess cruise lines) to the premium (Celebrity or Holland America) or a luxury line.
These seemingly simple changes can drastically change your cruise experience often at a price increase that isn’t that much higher (more about that in a later post). Plus, for many it has opened up the possibility to see ports they wouldn’t be able to see on the largest mass market ships. For those desiring a higher quality of food onboard, the move up opens new culinary options and a more sophisticated overall cruise experience.
The cruise industry has taken notice of this shift upwards and increased desire for greater comforts and quality of service. To meet this increase demand, the industry is building a lot of new ships.
MSC has ordered four new ships at a $2 billion investment. They will be built off the success and demand for the Yacht Club suites enclave on its existing fleet. These smaller ships will move MSC into the premium/luxury market as they are deployed starting in 2023.
Crystal Cruises, one of the leaders of the luxury cruise industry, will launch three new ships starting in 2022. These 800 passenger Diamond Class ships will be all-suite, and all-balcony. While Silversea Cruises will launch two new Evolution class ships in 2022 focusing more on the luxury expedition and immersion cruising market. Regent and Seabourn are adding new ships in 2022 and 2021. Celebrity Cruises will launch its new “Edge” class of ships in December, with three more Edge class ships on order.
While the share of the upscale cruise market has remained nearly the same over time, the overall industry has experience substantial growth which has proportionately increased the demand for the premium/luxury market. This growing demand will fuel the need for more and more upscale ships to serve these new customers. This will result in a broader variety of options, price points, and features for guests, and the opportunity to continue their love for cruising for many years to come.
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