Cruising is changing at an incredibly fast rate. Compare cruises 50 years ago with the same itineraries 10 years ago and there’ll be some contemporary modifications but generally the style and atmosphere of the ships will be quite similar. But up against the modern era, the differences are much larger.
You used to find cruise ships offered only a choice between high class sailings reserved for the upper classes, and then simpler cruises for smaller markets were introduced. These still were a relaxed, quieter affair with a similar atmosphere, but at a more attainable level.
Now it’s gone even further, and cruise ships vary wildly between the ultra-luxury ships that hark back to the history of voyages, whilst using contemporary décor and facilities to enhance the experience, to ships in bright colours offering budget holidays to suit the whole family with loads of kid-friendly fun features to enjoy.
It’s all changing so fast that you can’t really predict what cruising will be like in twenty years’ time. That won’t stop me from wildly speculating though. Some of these suggestions may not be completely serious, if I’m honest. I’d hope you’d have worked that out when you read them, but it’s best to get that out there now just in case you realised how stupid I was didn’t realise I was joking.
Runways on a cruise ship – Like the idea of a fly cruise? Why not eliminate transfers all together? Just wait until runways are installed on cruise ships themselves so that your flight can land right on-board, meaning you disembark and your holiday begins straight away! And then who needs another terminal at Heathrow, just use the ships as temporary runways whenever they’re nearby at Southampton or Dover?
Submarine mode – Days at sea are all well and good, they give you a good chance to explore the facilities of the ship, but the view does start getting a bit repetitive after a while. So why not get ships that can submerge themselves? Who wouldn’t want to see more of the under-water life?
More commercial partnerships – One thing you may have noticed is that these days more ships are making new partnerships to bring recognised brands to their fleet. You don’t just get games nights now, it’s Hasbro Games Nights. Dreamworks Character Experiences, licensed Apple stores, Strictly Come Dancing classes…life on a cruise ship is becoming more and more branded. It’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong – kids love seeing the characters they know, iGeeks love browsing the latest trendy tech, and if they can do this as part of their holiday it makes it even better, so expect to see Rory McIlroy Mini Golf, X-Factor karaoke and probably more at some point in the near future.
Even bigger ships – In the past few years we’re seeing the biggest cruise ships that have ever existed added to fleets. Since 2009 many of the most prominent cruise lines have introduced their largest ships with more to follow in the next few years. Now I’m no expert in physics, but beyond that, and maybe issues with space, what’s to stop them getting even bigger? Now of course people aren’t going to want to spend hours walking from their room to the restaurant, or from the spa to the bar, but that’s where the inventive people earn their cash – conveyor belts, Segways, golf carts, or even something new that just hasn’t been dreamt up yet, there’s surely plenty of options to get round this.
Space Cruise – The ultimate goal surely, is to get a holiday cruise ship up there floating in space. A holiday among the stars looking down on Earth, or even travelling the galaxy, would no doubt be the dream getaway for so many people. It would no doubt bring a class system back to cruising – there’s no way space cruises would initially be available to the mass market. Remember that whole “If you need to ask how much a cruise costs, you can’t afford it” attitude? No doubt that’d be back with a vengeance for at least a few years and probably decades, but then one day we’ll have family-friendly ships up there with gravity domes including swimming pools offering views of the planet. And it’ll be completely amazing.
By Ian Lewis