Cruises have had dark days, associated, despite themselves, with the start of the pandemic. We even believed, for a moment, at the end of travel on giant liners. What about 18 months later?
Posted Oct 21, 2021
The signs of recovery are very real: the itineraries for the 2022 and even 2023 season have barely been revealed when many cruises are already sold out. Several cruise lines have adapted their offers and changed their itineraries, and cruise enthusiasts seem eager to get back on board. Here is an overview of part of the offer.
The arrival of superyachts
For many reasons, both environmental and practical, are the days of gigantic cruise ships over? Not totally, but companies such as Emerald Cruises and Scenic Cruises have recently added a superyacht to their fleet, designed to visit more destinations in less time, in a more intimate and luxurious setting. L’Emerald Sakara, a sumptuous superyacht that can accommodate a maximum of 100 passengers, will visit the Seychelles in 2023 on an 8-day itinerary, stopping in particular at Port Victoria (Mahé Island), Sainte-Anne Island and Cousin Island. the Scenic Eclipsea 6-star rated superyacht, can accommodate 228 guests and is equipped with a helipad and two submarines to facilitate the transport of passengers during excursions.
The river cruise
The company AmaWaterways specializes in river cruises, mainly in Europe, with itineraries that crisscross rivers and rivers, and where boats dock at ports located in the heart of cities. The advantage of a river cruise is the navigation in calm waters, without the risk of feeling seasick. Also, sailing near cities in this way immerses the traveler in a more urban setting and closer to the places to visit, in ports often out of reach for larger ships. Some of the most popular cruises with AmaWaterways include The Great Danub Cruisee, a 14-day expedition along Europe’s most emblematic river, which crosses seven countries, starting from Vilshofen, Germany, and ending in Giurgiu, Romania.
Passion for the Red Sea
The Red Sea has never been so popular. Despite certain political issues in recent years, with Canada in particular, Saudi Arabia is arousing enthusiasm among cruise enthusiasts. The interest is such that the Cruises division of the MSC group has signed a five-year agreement with Cruise Saudi for berthing rights in Jeddah. Saudi Arabia has just inaugurated a brand new cruise port to meet demand. MSC Cruises offers 21 itineraries on the Red Sea from Jeddah to Egypt and Jordan. Emerald Cruises also unveiled two new itineraries for its 2022 season in this region.
Heading for polar destinations
The trend destination for cruises this season is without a doubt the polar regions, and more particularly Antarctica, which has not welcomed visitors for almost two years, due to the pandemic, but also because of an extremely fragile ecosystem that needs to be preserved. The companies Hurtigruten Expeditions and Scenic Cruises, among others, are offering new immersive itineraries to visit this region known for its unique landscapes. The MS Roald Amundsen from Hurtigruten transports travelers to Scotia Sea, near South Orkney, a group of four islands 600 km northeast of Antarctica, renowned as a haven for solar eclipses and the Aurora Borealis. For its part, Scenic Eclipse allows travelers to get closer to wildlife and observe fur seals and king penguins in their natural habitat.
The ultimate in luxury
Cruises can reach a wide audience, and there is certainly something for all tastes and budgets, but there is undeniably a strong interest in upscale, while some cruises focus on luxury. The pandemic pause will have allowed many ships to improve, renovate and renew their onboard offerings. Powered by the Silversea company, the SilverMoon now offers travelers spacious suites, as well as a fine dining restaurant that adapts its menu, its list of spirits, beers and wines according to the place visited. At the edge of Scenic Eclipse, we are entitled to an employee-to-passenger ratio of one to one, where a butler is assigned to his client. There is also a wellness center, a yoga and pilates studio with certified trainers, as well as an area reserved for underwater observation.
Exploring at sea… and on land
This season, the cruise itinerary is focusing on an enhanced shore excursion offer, thus transforming the trip into a complete immersive experience, while the exploration and discovery of the surrounding sites and beauties is now intended to be a continuation of the experience offered on board. In Antarctica, with Scenic Cruises, the daily excursions included offer exploration of the ice formations by zodiac, navigation by kayak or paddle board among icebergs and whale watching. Hurtigruten Expeditions offers a 17-day itinerary in Russia with stops in remote and little-visited villages on the shores of the White Sea. The trip also includes a visit to the fascinating UNESCO-listed Solovetsky Islands.
Many travelers want to leave as soon as possible and make up for lost time. Long trips are therefore in high demand, and AmaWaterways has just launched the longest river cruise in the world. Lasting 46 days, the Seven River Journey Through Europe crosses 14 countries and sails on 7 rivers. As a rough guide, the fare for this cruise starts at $37,439 per person. We must also highlight Seabourn Cruises and its cruise Worldwide. Lasting 140 days, the journey begins in Miami and ends in Barcelona, thus crossing 32 countries and 6 continents.