Is the Future of Cruising Based on Size or Substance?
Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, which docked into Southampton for the first time only a couple of weeks ago, is officially the largest ship in the world.
Crowds came in large numbers to catch a glimpse of the ship as it prepared to sail on towards North America.
It's length is longer than the height of The Shard and nearly as much as the Empire State Building at 1,187ft long and 284ft wide.
It weighs in at a staggering 225,282 tonnes and requires 2,350,000 litres of water to operate every day but dumps no sewage into the sea.
The ship can accommodate at least 6,300 passengers and 2,394 crew and it's Central Park neighbourhood area holds 12,000 plants.
At a staggering cost £800 million, the ship cost more to build than Wembley Stadium.
But is the biggest really the best? Are consumers excited about large cruise ships or is there a stronger interest in on board amenities?
We take a look at how trends are likely to going into 2015 and whether cruise ships are likely to get bigger or whether the focus will be on facilities and customer needs.
Large Cruise Ship Trends
Based on the trend demonstrated in the graph above; it would seem ships are going to get larger in size.
Whilst this portrays growth in the cruise industry, with a need for more worldwide passenger capacity, are consumers happy with larger ships?
Royal Caribbean, in particular, is already at work building a new ship which is set to be even larger than the Oasis Class ships: Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.
These humongous ships may be real crowd-pleaser's and there are plenty of on board amenities to keep everyone satisfied. With the Caribbean being the number one worldwide cruise tourist hotspot - it comes as no surprise that Royal Caribbean are constantly trying to supply the increasing demand.
But with larger cruise ships, questions have to be raised over safety. How do you keep 6,300 passengers and 2,300 crew members safe? What are the on board procedures? How do you keep so many passengers calm?
These are serious concerns that come with the increase in size of cruise ships, although it is cheaper to build fewer, larger ships and also more environmentally friendly.
Additionally, the Italian government has banned all large cruise ships from travelling to Venice and many of the world's smaller ports are struggling to accommodate the mega vessels.
It would certainly be very difficult to get bored on such a large cruise ship and with so much to see and do - it shouldn't be too difficult to find a quiet patch to relax.
Amenities are continuing to improve on board cruise ships, with consumers seeking more options to satisfy them and more luxury for their money.
Food is perhaps at the forefront of passenger expectations when it comes to amenities, with many world-renowned chefs opening restaurants on cruise ships.
Cuisine options often include French delicacies, spicy curries, american burgers and delectable sushi; and more people will continue to look beyond the bustling buffet.
Many people are turning away from the medium to large cruise ships and opting for shorter cruises, particularly around the Mediterranean.
Passengers expect to be treated as an individual and shorter cruises on board smaller boats seem to be the current trend.
Technology on board cruise ships is also being improved; with futuristic facilities and greater wireless internet seeming to be in great demand.
In fact, the internet on board Royal Caribbean cruise ships is said to be "game-changing" with a greater bandwidth than all other cruise ships combined. Quite a statement.
The concerns over larger cruise ships seem to be widespread - with many news outlets raising the question as to whether they are too big.
Public opinion seems to be similar; with people wanting to escape the city-style environments whilst on board a cruise rather than experiencing a floating metropolis.
That said, there seem to be no issues with the large variety of amenities available on board large cruise ships - with consumers satisfied with on board activities.
The size of Cruise ships will seem continue to increase, however, until a pinnacle in reached. When that happens, there could be a rethink in ship design.
The need from customers to be treated as individuals is stronger than ever and there are more and varying amenities being introduced to supply the greater demand.
But more cruisers are also opting for holidays on smaller ships; avoiding the crowds and escaping their busy lives on the land.
Statistics and graphs tell one story - but listening to customers and making them feel valued is important today as it ever has been and is fundamental for business success.