Looking Ahead to the Future of the Cruise Industry

Woman in sun hat looking out to sea - what does the future of the cruise industry look like?

The world is reopening, and the travel industry is experiencing one of the great comeback stories of American business history. Demand has been relentless and cruises are no exception. The future of the cruise industry is looking sharp as travelers are eager to relax and explore new destinations. Here’s what the industry can look forward to in the near future:

Travel Boom

The travel industry is seeing one of the biggest booms in recent history. Travelers are eager to set sail once again, so those looking at cruise franchise opportunities are searching at the perfect time.

The immediate future of the cruise industry looks promising thanks to its loyal fan base. Many people who booked cruises that got canceled opted against refunds and instead took credit for future traveling – the New York Times noted that 45% of Carnival customers opted for the travel credit. Now, all those people are looking to book their cruise again.

Due to high demand and economic factors, the holiday season will have the highest flight prices in five years. Flight searches are also up five times year over year for popular destinations like Hawaii. People are excited to travel once again!

To make up for this recent high demand and prior layoffs, there has been a massive need for workers in all fields. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reported in their 2022 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook that 60% of cruise-related businesses are currently hiring. For every 24 travelers on a cruise, it supports one full-time position.

Emerging Technology

New cruise ship technology is helping to bolster the industry and entice visitors to take up cruising. One of the most significant factors is improving hygiene through technology like UV light disinfection robots and advanced air filtration systems. Check-in is also now contactless for many cruise lines. For example, Royal Caribbean has passengers check in via selfie, while MSC Cruises uses artificial intelligence to guide travelers through check-in.

Many cruise ships have also used Internet of Things (IoT) wearable technology. These bracelets allow passengers to pay for items, open doors, order room service, download apps ahead of time, and even track friends and family onboard with their phones.

For younger generations and the increasing number of digital nomads, having fast and reliable internet is also essential. More and more cruise lines are implementing new technology to help increase internet speeds and reliability. At Royal Caribbean, they’ve begun installing SpaceX’s Starlink on their ships to ensure that travelers can have the best internet even in the middle of the ocean.

The cruise industry is also going greener. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reports that their cruise line member fleet will include 231 ships with advanced wastewater treatment systems and 176 with exhaust gas cleaning systems by 2027. They also expect to have 26 liquified natural power cruise ships, one of the cleanest non-electric marine fuels.

Younger Crowds

Cruise ships’ styles are also changing to cater to a younger crowd. CLIA reports that 20% of cruise tourists are between 20-39, while 32% are 40-59. The future of the cruise industry depends on ensuring the next generation continues to enjoy cruising as a preferred vacation option.

Virgin Voyages is a pioneer in targeting Millennial and Generation Z travelers by implementing a more modern design, reminiscent of a boutique hotel, on their inaugural ship Scarlet Lady. The ship includes a tattoo shop, free fitness classes, food trucks and expanded vegetarian and vegan options. The boat also boasts a new system that uses bi-polar ionization technology to disinfect the air and kill 99.9% of viruses.

Getting Started With Dream Vacations Franchise

Dream Vacations Franchise is the best travel agency for cruises and is well-positioned for this new tourism boom. As a franchise owner, you can take advantage of the growing demand for cruises, resort getaways, adventure expeditions and other vacation escapes. Learn more about becoming a franchise owner and join the future of the cruise industry by signing up for our next webinar.