Cruise Critic Predicts Cruising’s Latest Trends

PENNINGTON, N.J., Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ — In an era in which cruise lines are searching for ways to carve out their own niches, trends are constantly developing and evolving. At Cruise Critic (http://www.cruisecritic.com/), the nation’s leading consumer information source for cruise travel, we’re also thinking ahead to 2006. Here’s what to watch over the next year in cruising:

More Family-Oriented Amenities

The Family Cruise Explosion. From the “good news, bad news” corner here at Cruise Critic, we watch cruise lines’ all-consuming desire to attract families with some trepidation. The positive aspect is that a cruise can be a perfect family vacation. The potential downside? Ships that aren’t prepared for families — via kid-related programs and facilities — can have trouble managing hundreds of energetic children.

Pool Decks. Royal Caribbean is pioneering a whole new approach — one that more closely emulates a water park rather than a traditional pool area.

Is McDonald’s Next? More and more cruise lines are incorporating favorite brand names into cruise ship restaurants and facilities — most notably Royal Caribbean’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Fisher Price under-three kids’ activities, Carnival’s teen program with Coca-Cola, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s partnership with Second City.

The Teen Conundrum. Cruise lines, running with a trend that really began last year, continue to scratch their heads to try to find teen cruisers an experience that will appeal to them (and keep them busy and out of trouble, too).

Increased Cost of Cruising

Fuel Surcharges. In addition to all of the other a la carte features you pay for onboard (spa treatments, shore excursions, craft activities, alternative restaurants), Crystal and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises have already passed fuel surcharges on to passengers — and we expect more lines to follow suit.

More Exotic Destinations

World Cruises. More popular than expected last year, world cruises continue to gain momentum with the announcement that in 2007, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 will join Queen Elizabeth 2 in offering an around-the-world sailing.

Down Under Cruises. Australia and New Zealand couldn’t be more perfectly suited for cruise travel — and it looks like Americans are starting to take the plunge.

About Cruise Critic

Cruise Critic, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, is a comprehensive cruise vacation planning guide which includes cruise reviews, ports of call profiles, cruise features, message boards, member reviews and cruise news. Cruise Critic was named to Travel & Leisure’s “The 35 Best Travel Sites” in 2004 and has also received the Society of American Travel Writers’ Lowell Thomas Bronze Award.

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