Oprah plans cruise in Alaska in Holland America partnership
Oprah Winfrey will take a cruise this summer in a place she's never been before: Alaska. The trip launches a partnership between O, The Oprah Magazine, and Holland America Line, according to an announcement Thursday by the cruise company and Hearst magazines.
It’s cruise season, but what are travel agents see as trending?
Samarah Meil has been seeing an increase in requests for Alaska. “I use to feel this destination was more geared towards an older crowd, but lately we have been sending more families and multi-generational groups,” said Meil, of the Amarillo Travel Network.
According to the Virtuoso Luxe Report, these are the most popular cruise itineraries predicted for 2017: Mediterranean; Alaska; European river; Caribbean; and the Greek Isles.
Europe seems to be on top of the list due to the Euro going down, according to Rae Ann Wright of Carefree Vacations. “Azamara Club Cruises is really picking up new business due to its all-inclusive pricing and longer stays with more overnights than other ships.”
Travel Leaders Reveal Top Cruise Trends for 2017
The demand for cruise vacations is on the rise.Actual booking data corroborates the survey results with year-over-year increases of eight percent or more reported for key cruise segments.
RELATED: Thrilling cruise activities that are worth the cash (provided by GoBankingRates)
Justin Wolfson said that his clients are asking for more high tech and newer ships, such as ships that have a skydiving simulator or surfing simulator, even a ropes course.
Royal Caribbean Is Building the Largest Cruise Ship in the World
Even though they already hold the current record. © Royal Caribbean Royal Caribbean Is Building the Largest Cruise Ship in the World During a phone call with journalists, Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley told Skift that the company's new ship, Symphony of the Seas, will be the "latest, greatest, newest, most beautiful baby that's coming soon." It'll debut in April 2018 and will be able to hold 5,494 people . That's the population of a small town (no big deal).
“Everyone wants the newest ships out there,” said Wolfson an independent travel consultant with Chubit Travel. “Another thing trending is drinking packages. More and more cruise lines are including the packages as a perk which catches a lot of clients, as they prefer to go with one of those lines rather than a line that does not have the drinking packages.”
Speaking of technology, one of the biggest trends in cruising is the use of technology to enhance the cruise experience, according to Chris Caulfield, CruiseOne Franchise Owner and Vacation Specialist.
“It was not too long ago when having internet service aboard a ship was unheard of, and maybe preferred by some,” he said.
Caulfield explained that cruise lines are investing in technology that will change the way we cruise. “It began with shipboard apps that have many features including daily activities and the ability to text fellow passengers,” he said.
What's Trending in Future Cruise Ship Architecture?
Current ship design is influencing the future in increasingly bold new ways.It would seem AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line are the source for emerging trends as recently seen in renderings at the Seatrade Cruise Global convention.
“The next phase can be seen with the recent announcements from Carnival Corporation about their Ocean Medallion and the feature-packed MSC for Me technology that will be implemented on the brand new MSC cruises ships, where almost every aspect of a cruise will be touched by technology. I believe we are entering an exciting new chapter in cruising.”
One new trend that Greg Geronemus, the co-CEO of smarTours, is seeing interest in exotic river cruises.
“River cruising is becoming an increasingly developed and mature market, so travelers are now looking for more exotic river cruise sailings/itineraries,” he said. “With the river cruise boom over the last decade, there are a lot of travelers who have already done the Blue Danube and the Rhine, and now they're looking to push the envelope a bit.”
This is translating into more and more interest in cruises to places like Russia, less mainstream parts of the Danube River like the Southern Danube, China’s Yangtze River and of course the Galapagos.
Wright also sees a continued growth of river cruisers too. “It really is picking up steam,” said Wright. “The baby boomers are wanting something else to do, due to the bucket list getting checked off.”
Rejoice! Cruise Prices are Cheaper Than Last Year
Cruisewatch survey finds the best savings on oceanview cabins."Our study shows that there are still good savings to be found for a summer cruise vacation this year. While some lines raise prices across the board, other are reducing. This might be a good year to utilize some next generation cruise price drop services on the web to identify the best deals.
WATCH: The best cruises for your money in 2017 (provided by Money)
The Ritz Carlton Just Debuted a Cruise Line—and the Photos Will Make Your Jaw Drop .
Planning your next vacation just got a whole lot easier. Ritz-Carlton’s first fleet will only roll out three 298-passenger yachts—but boy, do they pack a big punch. Each will have 149 suites with private balconies, two penthouses, and a restaurant that boasts a three Michelin-starred chef. And they are also available for private rental if you, y’know, want to splurge.