What Will Be the Biggest Cruise Trends in 2018?


As the cruise industry gears up for another 12 months of adventure, we can expect all manner of new destinations and innovations, but which cruise trends will capture the imagination of cruisers across the globe?

Last year saw a rise in cruising to Alaska and Cuba as well as the increased use of celebrity chefs, but what’s in store for this year? Here, we’ll list what you can expect to increase in popularity in 2018, the biggest cruise trends of the coming months.

The Rise of Expedition Cruising

Tourists in a zodiac on an expedition cruise | Cruise Trends in 2018

Increasingly, it seems that cruisers are looking to get more adventure out of their cruise experience. Guests want to explore further climes, go deeper into waters or take to the skies, and certain cruise lines are keen to help make their journeys that little bit more memorable. Nearly 20 expedition ships are set to enter the cruise market between the start of 2018 and the end of 2020, a clear sign of this cruise category’s growing popularity. Usually in the realm of luxury lines, even traditionally non-expedition brands such as Windstar and Seabourn are getting in on these more immersive experiences, so you won’t have to fork out to go that little bit further.

Increased High-Tech Cruise Experiences

Virtual reality shore excursion | Cruise Trends of 2018 | Cruise1st UK
After steadily making inroads over the past few years, technological wizardry and a plethora of gadgetry are set to make more of an impact in 2018. Traveller-friendly tech in the form of apps will make reservations easier, allow guests to read daily activities and see what attractions are open on the ship there and then. Elsewhere, virtual-reality dining experiences and shore excursion samplers enrich your time onboard, while ordering food at the click of a few buttons is a treat not many could resist. Especially when you’re soaking up some sun by the pool. Wearables devices such as Princess’ Ocean Medallion and Disney’s MagicBands allow guests to open their cabin door, pay for things and much more.


Norwegian Bliss | Cruise Trends 2018
Several cruise lines are favouring a “bigger is better” approach to the new year, adding huge megaships to their expanding fleets that offer guests an abundance of amenities, space, and choice that’s unlike anything they’ll have sailed on before. Both Norwegian Bliss and Carnival Horizon will launch this year, the former featuring everything from laser tag, unbelievable entertainment and the largest race track at sea, while Carnival’s entry features the SkyRide, a suspended two-lane bike course that lets guests view the deck from high in the sky. MSC and Celebrity will follow suit with their first entries into this market too, so could 2018 be the year of the megaship? 

River Cruises for Millennials

European River Cruise | 2018 Cruise Trends | Cruise1st UK
Walking tours and coach journeys don’t exactly scream opportunity for younger travellers, but more and more, a step towards catering towards millennials is something cruise lines are trialling. 2018 will see itineraries and destinations tailored to those under 45, a crowd that doesn’t traditionally go in for river cruising. Nevertheless, certain lines are beginning to understand this cohort, capitalising on their interests with holidays that should see an increase in popularity with this broad age range. Things like craft beer, rooftop yoga, silent discos are popping up on ships more and more, with some lines creating cruises specifically for this younger set.

Healthy Cruises

Yoga on cruise ship | Cruise Trends 2018
The image of cruisers gorging on endless buffets and stuffing themselves silly is being cast aside this year. Lines are embracing the health angle with more exercise-oriented activities as a means of counteracting old perceptions and attracting new cruisers. Onboard these new health-conscious getaways, guests can participate in an array of wellness seminars led by industry experts, fitness programmes, stress management and all manner of spa services to help rejuvenate mind and body. Menus will be tailored to specific dietary needs too, from plant-based to diabetic friendly. In today’s climate of superfoods and lifestyle changes, this will surely come as welcome news to the health conscious or those looking to make a fresh start. 

Private Islands

Private Islands | Cruise Trends 2018
Cruise lines are extending the luxury and extravagance of their ships with an increased commitment to investing in their own private islands, ensuring that their guests can lounge and relax in idyllic settings. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Caye turned one-year-old last year, while Carnival’s Amber Cove celebrated two years as a private haven for guests. Royal Caribbean are set to improve their Bahamas-based island over the next two years, including a pier for Oasis Class ships, while MSC’s Marine Reserve, still in its infancy, promises to be a go-to destination for those looking for an extra slice of paradise.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article on 2018’s cruise trends. To experience some of these trends for yourself, head over to our dedicated homepage to view our full list of cruises, or give our friendly customer care team a call on 0808 2746 777.


About Author

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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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