The travel industry is experiencing a boom in cruising, with over a millions Britons choosing to set sail for the holidays in the previous year.
Luxury cruise experts at Panache Cruises have analysed the market and booking data to uncover the travel trends we can expect to see this summer and beyond.
This comes after CLIA data revealing British and Irish holidaymakers took approximately 1.7 million cruises in 2022, up from 479,000 the previous year.
These numbers are expected to rise this year, as the intent to cruise is stronger than ever amongst travellers, with 85% of cruisers intending to take a holiday at sea again.
The growth of the expedition holiday market indicates a desire for adventure post-lockdown with tourists keen to explore lesser-trodden routes.
And with travel restrictions a thing of the past after many months of being unable to travel, holidaymakers are looking to tick off the destination at the top of their bucket lists.
The industry is responding to consumer demand for more environmentally friendly forms of travel with sustainability at the centre of many travel businesses’ plans for 2023.
This is most evident in the cruise sector as cruise lines introduce cleaner fuels, eliminate plastics and reduce waste whilst producing fresh water on board.
With more regional UK ports open to cruise vessels than ever before, holidaymakers need to travel less by road or air before they start their holiday proper. This not only saves time but also has environmental benefits too.
James Cole, Founder and Managing Director at the specialist in ultra luxury cruises said: “Following the pandemic, we have seen a shift in the priorities of travellers across the wider travel sector as people move away from mass-market style holidays. After being cooped up inside for two years, people are looking for adventure further afield.
“Advancements in cruise ship technology such as hydrodynamic hull design and more efficient propulsions systems mean that vessels can cruise comfortably at over 20 knots whilst using much less fuel. This is allowing tourists to travel further from home even on shorter itineraries.
“Destination trends in Europe have been impacted significantly by the war in Ukraine as ships are no longer stopping at various ports in both the Baltic and the Black seas. This has led to travel itineraries moving the focus away from Russia to other less explored Eastern European destinations like Tallinn in Estonia – which has seen cruise tourists almost double in the past 12 months.
“And with sustainability an increasing concern for consumers, a growing number are voting with their wallets by choosing travel brands that provide sustainable options. We are seeing a big shift towards environmentally friendly travel generally across all modes of transport and the cruise sector is driving this change.
Cruise operators are building ships that run on greener fuels as well as developing wastewater management systems to eliminate water pollution. Marine engineers are coming up with more streamlined hulls which reduce drag and are therefore much more efficient. This is allowing passengers to travel further afield in a much more efficient manner.”
Panache Cruises’ travel trends for this summer:
- Bucket List Holidays
The demand for big-ticket bucket list trips has increased in popularity after the confines of lockdown. Travellers are looking to spread their wings with a renewed sense of perspective and a desire for adventure. Cruise lines are seeing an increase in bookings to destinations such as the US, Canada and Australia as well as previously inaccessible destinations. The pandemic halted everyone’s ability to travel and now holidaymakers are realising they can, and should, visit somewhere they have always wanted to go whilst they now have the opportunity.
- Expedition Holidays
A surge in interest in expedition cruises reflects a desire within Brits to travel further afield and create new experiences. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have fueled a desire to explore off the beaten track. Adventurists want to see some of the most remote parts of the world and walk along yet-to-be-trodden paths. Antarctica cruises are a popular choice amongst those wanting to see landscapes that have only been seen by a few. The rapidly growing expedition cruising sector has seen many new ice rated expedition vessels – equipped with submarines, helicopters and Zodiac inflatable boats to explore remote areas up close.
- More of a focus on our environment
Environmental issues are to the fore in the travel sector in 2023 with a bigger focus on sustainability and protecting the natural environment. The cruise industry is taking a lead with new greener fuels and more efficient vessels. More regional UK ports are opening up for large vessels too meaning that holidaymakers have significantly less distance to travel between home and their nearest cruise ship dock. Many holidaymakers won’t need to board a plane and generate further emissions as a result.
- Baltic travel changed inexorably by the Ukrainian war
The cruising industry in particular has seen a switch in tourism to other eastern European seaports because of the war in Ukraine. Rather than visiting Russian ports such as St. Petersburg, cruise ships are stopping off in ports such as Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia. As a result, tourism numbers to these eastern European countries are soaring – bringing in more money to these countries. Tallinn alone has seen tourist numbers from docking cruise ships almost double in the past year.
- Being able to cruise further on shorter trips
CLIA data shows for the previous year, the average length of cruise for British and Irish holidaymakers was 9.7 days, which is down slightly on the length of cruise in 2019. Recent advances in cruise ship technology have seen the creation of vessels which can cover greater distances per day due to improved hydrodynamic hulls and more efficient engines. In 2023 travellers heading away on a week’s cruise on the most modern ships will be able to explore further afield due to this new technology. With sailing speeds in excess of 20 knots, travellers are now able to spend more time at each port and experience destinations within Scandinavia and the Mediterranean more easily than ever before.
Panache Cruises is the leading UK provider of luxury and ultra-luxury cruises and partners only with the World’s most luxurious cruise lines. With full ATOL financial protection, Panache Cruises’ customers also benefit from the company’s Customer Trust Fund which provides total peace of mind.