Top Cruise Trends for 2024 and Beyond from Virtuoso

Top Cruise Trends for 2024 and Beyond from Virtuoso

According to the insights of over 300 expert cruise specialists at Virtuoso, a staggering 58% predict that the cruise industry will rebound as the leading tourism sector by 2024-2025, outpacing traditional land-based travel experiences. Virtuoso’s forward-looking cruise bookings exceeding $50,000 have surged significantly over the same period last year, with a notable increase in bookings ranging from 18 to 24 months ahead. Premium Ocean leads the pack with anticipated bookings of 34%, followed closely by Luxury Ocean at 27%. River and Expedition cruises trail slightly, accounting for 22% and 15% of total bookings respectively.

With the current surge in cruise industry growth, it’s clear that there’s a vessel and itinerary to suit almost anyone’s tastes and preferences. According to survey results, a notable sixty percent of advisors have observed a significant surge in first-time cruise enthusiasts. According to a recent study by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), nearly one-quarter (27%) of passengers on cruises over the past two years have been first-time cruisers, representing a 12% surge from previous years. Sixty-two percent of Virtuoso advisors report that novice cruisers often seek their expertise for planning and coordinating their first-time sailing experiences, highlighting the importance of travel professionals’ specialized knowledge in creating memorable journeys.

As the cruise industry welcomes a wave of first-time sailors, a vibrant atmosphere prevails, with innovative amenities designed to delight those seeking distinctive onboard experiences that blend style with substance. Scheduled to set sail in January 2026, Four Seasons Yachts is poised to deliver an unparalleled journey of discovery, charting a course for the world’s most captivating destinations while embodying the revered Four Seasons hallmark of excellence. As the highly anticipated Ilma, Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s latest luxury superyacht, nears its maiden departure from Monte Carlo to Rome in September, final preparations are underway. As it readies its inaugural ship for launch, while a second vessel is slated to set sail in August 2024, Explora Journeys is poised to revolutionize the concept of luxury on the water with its unparalleled fleet of floating hotels offering unprecedented space and seclusion.

Sixty percent of advisors witness a marked demographic shift taking place within the cruise industry. With this team, 36% attribute the shift to a surge in bookings from Millennials and Gen Z, driven by their enthusiasm for cruising. Notably, CLIA’s research suggests a promising future for the industry, as 81% of Millennials and 74% of Gen Z travelers who have recently cruised intend to set sail again. Twenty-seven per cent of Virtuoso advisors point to a growing desire for cruise travel as the primary factor driving change, with 27 per cent also reporting a surge in solo female cruisers.

Cruise enthusiasts’ diverse motivations are revealed through their itineraries, encompassing a range of aspirations from seeking adventure and exploration to embracing cultural immersion and personal growth. Waters off Alaska, the Caribbean, and other regions are renowned for their natural beauty, with a surge in demand for expeditionary journeys to lesser-explored destinations such as Antarctica, Iceland, the Galapagos Islands, and the North Pole. Japanese culture and West African traditions are captivating cruise enthusiasts seeking authentic social connections. Individuals’ personal passions often drive the selection of vacation destinations, such as the Kimberley region in Australia, a paradise for photography enthusiasts, or Ireland, where travelers can rekindle ties with their ancestral heritage. The launch of novel seasonal offerings in cruise itineraries, like wintertime Mediterranean cruises, proves an astute strategy to discover off-peak destinations sans the throngs of tourists, often at a significantly more attractive price point?

  • Explore your destination more deeply with extended stays in port or overnight adventures on land.
  • Sailing to subzero zones: Exploring the icy vastness of Alaska, Antarctica, and the Arctic.
  • Solo cruising
  • New seasonality for itineraries
  • As the popularity of multigenerational cruises continues to soar, cruise lines are responding by introducing more luxurious and family-friendly amenities.

According to Melissa Araya, Virtuoso’s vice president for cruise operations, the current period represents an extraordinary and groundbreaking era for the cruise industry. “With a loyal following of repeat cruisers, as well as newcomers eager to experience the thrill of sailing for the first time.” As new ships and routes enter the market, the array of choices expands, offering an unparalleled wealth of diverse itineraries to suit every traveler’s preferences. Experienced travel consultants develop a profound understanding of their clients’ preferences, expertly pairing each individual with a tailored cruise experience that exceeds their expectations. For those who never contemplated cruising before, they may now embark on this journey with unwavering confidence, exploring uncharted territories accompanied by the reassuring familiarity of a trusted companion.

Virtuoso’s extensive cruise portfolio comprises a diverse range of sea, river, and boat travel options, featuring thousands of itineraries that span the globe, with destinations in numerous harbors of call. Virtuoso Voyages offers unparalleled access to over 400 distinctive cruises each year, partnering with 13 prestigious cruise lines. The system provides a unique onboard benefit package valued between $500 per couple and several thousand dollars, dependent on the specific itinerary.


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