Published On: Thu, Dec 18th, 2014

More choice for UK departures and increased options for solos

cruises-p-and-oThe top UK cruise trend predictions for 2015 are today announced by Cruise Critic®, the world’s largest cruise reviews site and cruise community.

• More choice for UK departures

Already the busiest port in the UK and Europe, Southampton welcomes two brand new ships in 2015 – P&O Cruises’ Britannia and Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. Royal Princess, one of Princess Cruises’ newer ships, will also return to Southampton in May 2015, adding to the already strong portfolio of cruise ships departing from the UK.

• More options and clarity for dietary requirements

Cruise lines, including P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean, are catering more to those with dietary requirements, and introducing better labeling in buffets, as well as in restaurants. This means that, in 2015, passengers who follow special diets, such as gluten-free, fat-free or vegan, will find that onboard dining offers even more transparency and variety.

• Power to the solo

In response to demand, cruise lines are paying more attention to single travellers. Royal Caribbean’s new Anthem of the Seas, launching in 2015, will have 28 solo cabins, while Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape, also debuting in 2015, will expand its Studio area for solo travellers by nearly 40%, with over 80 solo cabins.

• More “wow” factor for entertainment at sea

Cruise lines are synonymous with entertainment, and the standard is higher than ever, with offerings now ranging from Grammy-winning artist performances as part of Carnival’s Carnival Live Concert Series, to Broadway and Cirque-style shows and comedy options.

• Famous foodie focus

Cruise ships are renowned for their culinary offerings, and now, to tie in with the nation’s interest in cookery shows and celebrity chefs, they are bringing famous chefs to the ocean. For Britannia, P&O Cruises has enlisted “Food Heroes” including Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochar and wine guru Olly Smith, while James Martin will front The Cookery Club, the first cookery school onboard a British ship. Jamie Oliver has also headed to the high seas in a link up with Royal Caribbean.

• Familiar family characters

There’s more onboard family fun and entertainment as cruise lines bring familiar characters to the ocean. Examples include Seuss at Sea on Carnival; LEGO on MSC Cruises, and DreamWorks characters on Royal Caribbean. This concept isn’t reserved simply for kids’ clubs, but incorporated throughout the entire cruise experience, with characters from popular movies making appearances at breakfast and evening meet and greets.

• More add-on options

Cruise fares today are better value than ever, but new features and options sometimes carry additional fees. Cruisers can still enjoy lots of benefits and features within the cost of a fare, but there are more add-on options to complement the onboard experience. MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruises, for example, are enhancing package structures, with a shift towards add-on experiences, such as dining and spa. As a result, cruisers gain more control over their trip and what they choose to include.

• Savings across the deck

Cruisers no longer have to wait for the traditional Wave Season sales offered from January – March, to secure a deal, as there are many available throughout the year. Examples include Carnival’s tiered packages with perks like onboard credit and cabin upgrades, to Royal Caribbean’s WOW sales, and Azamara’s “Buy One, Get One Half Off” fare.

• Quicker, faster and more convenient Internet

Cruise lines are starting to deliver faster, more reliable and cost-effective Internet packages. New ships for 2015, including Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas and P&O Cruises’ Britannia, will come fitted with more advanced hardware than ever before. Cruise lines are also introducing more advanced mobile apps with benefits such as faster check-in, better onboard connectivity, and a more stream-lined booking experience.

• Desirable destinations

The Mediterranean continues to be the top choice for UK cruisers, but some of the hot new destinations to watch in 2015 include Norway, Australia and the Elbe River, as well as a resurgence of the Caribbean.