Princess Sept – Nov offer at Princess Cruises
Never miss a Cruises discount code!
Get exclusive offers straight to your inbox
Cruises Voucher Codes
The cruise industry has undergone huge development over the years, transitioning from slow journeys between the leaving port and the destination, moving with the tides and the wind; to carefully engineered package trips which are created and designed to stop off at various locations over the set course of the cruise period. For the most part, the industry is made up of two different styles of cruise – those which are designed to take the passengers to a set destination where they then move on with their travels, and those which are designed around a set route which begins and ends in the same location.
One of the notable things to say about the former style of cruise, moving from one destination to another, is that what it presents is a luxurious form of travel rather than a vacation of itself. What we mean by this is that the cruises designed to take consumers across the Atlantic, for example, essentially provide a service in that they take the consumer from their starting point to the next phase of their trip; only it is a service which is not just considered high end but is also considered an entire experience on its own. Meanwhile, those cruises which pick the consumer up and take them to various location before returning to the same point for debarkation provide the complete package holiday in one go. In establishing which is these cruises is the best one for any specific consumer, we tend to find that for the most part it is budget and time allowance which indicates the style of cruise preferred by a family or individual travelling group.
The beauty of a cruise taking you from one location to another is that you get to enjoy and really take in the scenic route and all that the scenery provides in terms of views and experiences. Some of these cruise ships will stop off en route, while others will simply provide consumers with a high end experience from the comfort of the ship – including entertainment, food and drink, activities and retail attractions which you might expect on any high level cruise ship.
The evolution of the cruise industry
Transport ships have been around a great deal longer than the cruise industry, primarily because the earliest large ships were designed to carry cargo rather than consumers! In fact, it wasn’t until the 18840’s that the first pleasure cruises were developed, and even then, they barely resembled or showed any correlation with the high end experience which we have come to expect today – in fact, one cruise left Liverpool on a 14 day trip with a live cow on board, purely to ensure that consumers were able to enjoy fresh milk during the journey.
From there, much of the growth and evolution of the cruise industry came as a result of the rise in commercialisation and the way that ships were gradually developed to carry passengers only – rather than transporting passengers as a secondary cargo alongside the goods being transported to various destinations. This was when cruises began to be run solely for the purpose of enjoyment rather than being underpinned by a supply need – and it was the time when manufacturers began to add extra features and facilities to make the voyages more pleasant and enjoyable for passengers – including electric lights, entertainment and more deck space from which to enjoy the views.
Of course, with the rise in high end experiences comes the inevitable rise in divisions of classes, and this is when cruise ships began to allow immigrants on board; heading to the United States and placed in the steerage hold where they were expected to provide their own food and drink and show no bother to the higher paying passengers on the upper decks.
For all those readers who have seen the Titanic, you are watching the cruise industry play out in 1912. This was when cruise ships were at the height of their division between the upper classes and the working classes, with different areas of the ship designed for use by different levels of passenger. And while this is still a practice which, to some extent, is observed today, the show of discrimination is nowhere near as prominent.
Cruise industry brands and companies began to be established as the world moved into the 1900’s, with institutions like Cunard Line of England and White Star Line both being key operators in the industry which heralded the romance and luxury of the cruise voyage, but whose earlies designs were still inhibited by the need to keep passenger space to a minimum in order to increase the speed of the vessel as much as possible. White Star Line is the company famous for launching the doomed Titanic – a move which hit its own success hard and which eventually led the company to close down and become incorporated into Cunard’s branding.
The 1960’s saw the real rise of the cruise industry as we know it today. This was when ships began to focus on vacations and holidays to key tourist spots, and when the advertising was transformed to show cruise ships as a space for individuals to enjoy and have fun with. Cruises during this time, and ever since, were no longer journeys from A to B. They had become destinations in their own right.
Establishing the cruise ship hierarchy – and what each package really means
One of the best things about the cruise ship industry is that it not only attracts different consumers on different budgets with the various packages available on any given ship, but it has also created an array of different markets and sectors which are each served by different cruise ship providers and companies. A great example of this is the rise of the Saga ocean and river cruise line, which is dedicated and targeted specifically at over-50’s who wish to travel with the peace and relaxation of other passengers within that same age bracket. This means that passengers can enjoy child-free spaces and can delight in entertainment which is solely targeted at their age group – instead of the youthful and modern entertainment placed on board cruise ships with a much wider demographic and target audience.
Another example of a cruise line targeting a very specific audience is the Disney Cruise Line – established to take passengers from Florida to Disney’s own island in Caribbean during voyages of different lengths and different intensities in terms of stops and time spend on board. These cruises in particular are designed with children in mind, and so families are given plenty of space on board the ship and adequate time to get off the ship and enjoy a change of scenery in different ports and destinations.
And then of course there are the different cruises determined by location and length, with the modern market now offering cruises across oceans and along rivers; stopping off at cities across Europe, and trekking all the way across the Atlantic to the shores of the USA.
Once the consumer has chosen their ideal cruise, whether it be tailored to their family or to their own preferences, they are presented with a choice of packages as determined and set by both the industry and by the cruise provider they have decided to book their cruise with. When it comes to comparing and contrasting these different packages, one of the major points of comparison is the cruise cabin that the consumer can book – with modern cruise ships presenting a selection of options ranging from cabins with no view in the middle of the boat, to those on the central exterior with windows overlook the sea, right the way through to those which include balconies and even the waiter service of a price Butler. For the most part, mid-boat cabins are the most coveted because the central location means that the cabin sits where the boat is at its most steady; meanwhile those cabins at either end of the boat often come a little cheaper due to the range of motion afforded to the consumer and guest when the boat is moving along choppy waters.
On the whole, most cruise packages contain food and soft drinks, however only the top level packages will include alcohol as part of a pre-paid deal. For those who want to add alcoholic drinks to their allowance, alcohol packages can be purchased separately from the provider, or else drinks can be paid for at the end of the trip via a bar tab-style bill. And then we have the extras which can be added to package deals or else booked on a whim as consumers arrive in various ports and make their plans to explore or stay near to the boat. Booking excursions as part of cruises with various stopping points is a growing trend which is enjoying evermore popularity as a result of the widening of the various experiences on offer across different destinations. When the cruise ship is docked in a port, consumers and travellers can either take part in planned excursions organised and paid for through their package deal, or they can choose to do their own thing – provided they return to the ship in time for departure.
Other items which can be included as part of various cruise packages, and which help some packages and providers stand out from their competitors, include:
- Overnight stays prior to departure at the home port
- Parking at the home port
- On board credit – often offered as part of a benefits package that is applicable for those buying all-inclusive package deals. These tend to be vouchers and credit coupons which can be used in the cruise ship bard and retail stores
- On-board entertainment and tickets to specific shows during the cruise
In terms of the top providers in the industry, some of the most notable names both across the targeted and demographic-specific providers, and the broader providers offering cruises tailored to all travellers, include:
- Disney Cruise Line
- Royal Caribbean
- Marella Cruises
- Celebrity Cruises
Trends in the cruise industry
One of the biggest trends which is making waves in the cruise industry is the rise in river cruises as well as ocean cruises – showing how a cruise ship does not have to be large, and the destination does not have to be extravagant, in order to provide a great holiday experience for the right audience. Saga is a great example of a company which offers both ocean and river cruises tailored to a specific group of travellers, encouraging engagement in local cultures and communities through a variety of excursions and historical visits during the trip.
Another trend, and one which we have touched on earlier in our exploration of one way cruises which take the passenger from A to B, is the rise in cruises being regarded as just one part of a complete holiday experience – with the cruise providing the travel to the holiday destination, under the guide of an additional part of the holiday which stops at a variety of different ports on its way. These kinds of cruises are particularly popular with those heading off on long trips, and while they do not offer the same efficient service as a flight, they provide an experience which is far more exclusive.
And then we have the growing trend which is turning cruise ships themselves into entertainment resorts – particularly with regards to those cruises which are aimed at families and children. These are the cruise ships where entertainment on board is split between activities for kids and shows for adults, with kids clubs and children’s activity centres and swimming pools mixed in with the adult provisions to create an environment which is suitable for all travellers.
For the most part, cruises are designed to capture the traveller’s imagination and provide them with a luxurious mode of transport – whether they be going on to a secondary destination, or treating the cruise and its various stops as their entire vacation. The cruise industry is one with such a vast array of options now that consumers can benefit from a multitude of different packages and deals – it simply requires some shopping around and comparing the various offers available at the time of booking.