Biggest cruise ships coming in 2020 Theme cruises, ships going greener, expeditions and much much more…

CRUISE LINES

Some of the biggest cruise ships coming in 2020  makes me and many others beyond excited when we land lovers get a whiff of new cruise lines who are forever coming up on new ideas to tempt us onboard with more exotic locations, more to offer onboard to keep us all entertained.

For me I am already sold though as I peek behind the curtains and only now can stop speculating on what is coming as it is here now!

Check out what we are excited to report in the way of onboard dining, fun, shore side entertainment and what’s more to come in 2020 cruise trends.

1. Greener Cruise Lines Making Changes to lower environmental impact

With global warming a hot topic and growing awareness about the effects of tourism on local communities and the planet as a whole, we’ve seen cruise lines start to take serious action to reduce their environmental impact, with plans to expand those efforts into 2020 and beyond.

Hurtigruten has already eliminated all unnecessary single-use plastics, and most lines have announced plastic bans, starting by eliminating plastic straws and/or water bottles. As we enter 2020, there are more than a dozen LNG (liquefied petroleum gas-powered) ships on order, Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen expedition ship became the first cruise vessel to sail on battery power and MSC Cruises says its fleet will be carbon-neutral by the start of the new year.

Many lines have been implementing scrubber technology to reduce emissions or taking advantage of shoreside power, so ships don’t have to run their engines when docked.

Expect to see more environmentally focused changes – both big and small – as cruising tries to go greener.

2. Request for Private islands is on the rise

Private islands have always been a hallmark of cruising, but decades later, the cruise-sponsored beach day needs a refresh. Pair that with the loss of Cuba as a new cruise destination and cruise lines’ desire to offer something new in the Caribbean, and the result is a new focus on expanding and upgrading the private beach experience.

Royal Caribbean leads the pack with its Perfect Day initiative, reinventing CocoCay in spring 2019 with a thrilling water park, followed by announcements of a private beach club for Royal Caribbean cruisers heading to Antigua in 2021 and Perfect Day experiences in the South Pacific on Lelapa near Vanuatu in 2022. Virgin Voyages debuts as a new cruise line in 2020 with its own beach club on Bimini in 2020. MSC is soon to unveil a pristine marine reserve, Ocean Cay, from what was a former sand excavation site.

3. Theme cruises are bigger and better

Theme cruises have been around for a while, but as cruise lines have realized the appeal of these sailings to first-time cruisers, the number of special interest cruises is now unprecedented. New special-interest voyages are popping up all the time to tie in with some of the most popular movies, TV shows and musical acts.

Sixthman announced a new Broadway cruise for 2020, while TV fans are going gaga for “The Golden Girls” and “Below Deck” theme sailings. A new LGBTQ charter company, Vacaya, debuted in 2019 with plans to open cruising to all members of the queer community in 2020 and beyond.

Other theme cruises have been around for years and are so successful that they’re already sold out for next year. Theme sailings as diverse as Chris Jericho’s wrestling cruise, the “Star Trek” cruise, the ’80s cruise and the Outlaw Country cruise are already sold out for 2020 – and 2021 dates will likely be announced soon. We predict several new ones will be announced in 2020.

4. Suite life only gets better with different cruise lines

Certain cruise lines – think Cunard, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises – have long lured passengers to book ever-more-expensive suites with exclusive spaces and other perks, such as inclusions, priority everything (embarkation, tendering, theater seating, etc.) and staff dedicated to taking care of every need. (On Royal Caribbean, the service is supposedly so magical, your butler is actually called a genie.)

Now, for the first time, we’re seeing the rest of the lines – specifically Carnival’s different cruise brands – getting in on the action. Princess has added its first-ever mega-suites, with enormous balconies offering perfect views of the sea and Movies Under the Stars, alfresco spa treatments and dining, and a telescope for stargazing. On Vista-class ships, Carnival recently expanded exclusive Havana Pool access for its Havana passengers to 24/7. On 2020’s Mardi Gras, Carnival will offer its first suite class, called Excel, with an exclusive area, the VIP-only Loft 19 which will feature a pool, bar and extra-fee cabanas.

Expect to see more perks, amenities and spaces dedicated to suite passengers going forward, as cruise lines announce details of their newest ships.

5. VIP where you pay for the privilege

Cruise lines recognize that not all cruisers can afford the suite life, but many people are prepared to pay for extra perks that give them a taste of those VIP privileges. Carnival was the first with its Faster to the Fun (FTTF) program, which offers priority embarkation and tender service, plus early or late disembarkation. It has since been followed by Holland America, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean adding programs that wrap priority embarkation into a grouping of perks, such as exclusive dining and special access to attractions.

We expect that these programs will grow and get more expensive and that lines like Princess and Celebrity will soon follow suit with their own pay-for-perks offers.

6. Trendy food and beverage trends come to cruise ships

stay healthy during your cruise vacationCruise lines have never been early adapters when it comes to modern food trends, long holding on to banquet dining, assigned seating and dress codes. Yet cruise lines are now picking up the pace and embracing modern dining concepts, both to lure younger cruisers onboard and to keep up with new cruise lines entering the market.

New cruise line Virgin Voyages is leading the pack, ditching the traditional main dining room and buffet for a Korean barbecue restaurant, a grab-and-go venue with food carts and a drag brunch. Carnival’s new Mardi Gras will have a globally inspired Street Eats, set up as alfresco kiosks, plus an onboard outpost of Shaq’s Big Chicken restaurant to capitalize on American’s love affair with the fast-food chicken sandwich. Tapas-style venues, such as Norwegian’s Food Republic and MSC Cruises’ HOLA! Tapas Bar, are embracing the small plates trend.

On the heels of Oceania expanding plant-based menus fleet- and venue-wide, Virgin Voyages is also introducing an all-vegan/vegetarian restaurant onboard. For those who may eat meat but not drink, lines like Princess and Cunard are offering zero-proof cocktails for travelers who want sophisticated craft cocktails without the booze, rather than virgin coladas and calorific smoothies.

Even luxury line Silversea is embracing the authentic food trend, a la Anthony Bourdain, and offering its S.A.L.T. program of hyperlocal culinary tours with real food (e.g., eating chicken butts at a night market in Malaysia).

What’s next? A keto/paleo restaurant or detox bar featuring kombucha and kefir? All our crystal ball shows is that you can expect new ships and refurbs to continue to bring onboard dining in line with modern trends.

7. Food and drink on demand, anywhere onboard

Pairing modern technology with the long-held cruiser love of room service, cruise lines are testing the waters of food and drink on demand, anytime and anywhere. Because sometimes you just don’t want to leave that sun lounger when hunger calls.

8. Expedition cruises are trendy, with new ships on the rise

Move over, couch potatoes. A major trend in cruising is a rise in ships that seek out adventure over suntans, exploring remote locations and offering active onshore pursuits. The expedition niche of the cruise industry has been growing, and 2020 might just be the year of cruise adventures.

Longtime purveyors of rugged cruising, such as Hurtigruten, Lindblad and Quark Expeditions, are all rolling out new-builds in 2020. Look for expedition-focused features such as ice-strengthened hulls, environmentally friendly features like hybrid-battery propulsion, Zodiac hangars and mudrooms.

Adventure and luxury are now going together like caviar and Champagne, as upscale lines like Crystal, Ponant and Silversea unveil new high-end expedition ships (including Crystal’s first-ever foray into this space). Butlers, fine dining by celebrity chefs and lavish suites are now firmly fixed in the world of naturalists, binoculars and heavy-duty parkas and boots.

As travelers continue to seek out authentic experiences and off-the-beaten-path locales, no matter the price, we predict that the explosion of expedition ships we’ve been seeing will continue – at least, until there’s pushback from the remote destinations they serve.