Cruise tourist numbers are at an all-time high, seeing more than 27 million travellers predicted this year worldwide, up 6%. Chinese passenger numbers are rising the quickest, up ten-fold over the past five years and India’s Cruise Lines Association is just as ambitious. There are about 50 new ships on order, to be in service in or by 2025.
Millennials currently outnumber baby-boomers and spend an annual $1.4 trillion, so while cruises have traditionally been the preserve of over-50s, there’s a new effort to attract younger audiences, including the use of improved technology, ‘no children’ rules, designer décor, on-board clubs and modern restaurants, and a focus on communal socialising spaces.
Surveys show Chinese tourists are also seeking in-cabin technology, the ability to manage the trip on their smartphones using WeChat more than iOS or Android, an extra-large range of on-board shops, and cooking by Chinese chefs.
AI is also going to be key in allowing on-board payment but also tracking behaviour to maximise the guest experience and keep track of family members on vast 13-storey passenger liners, along with wearable tech, virtual personal assistants, robot bartenders and other high-tech advances.