2014 was certainly an interesting year for the world of cruise and saw new technologies, even larger ships, more itineraries and Richard Branson stating his intention to enter the world cruise. But what can we expect from 2015? It may be early days, but we at GoCruise Franchise have devised a short list of things to keep an eye open for going into the new year.
Expect to see many more cruise itineraries focussing on the rivers of Asia; such those found in Burma and Vietnam. Avalon Waterways are launching two brand new river cruise ships with itineraries between Vietnam and Cambodia and along the Irrawaddy River in Burma. Additionally, AmaWaterways, who already have an extensive range of river cruises all around the world including Asia, are launching the AmaDara; which will cruise along the Mekong River of Burma.
It is also worth noting that Royal Caribbean will be operating their new Quantum Class ship, Quantum of the Seas, from Shanghai as of June next year. Royal Caribbean are hoping their hi-tech ship will attract new travellers interesting in voyaging the seas from across the Asian continent.
As stated previously in Cruise Franchise blog posts; the cruise industry is booming and 2015 is predicted to welcome an additional 18,000 more cruise travellers than 2014. This will be brought about by the introduction of new fewer than seven new ships including: P&O Cruises, Britannia; Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas; and Norwegian Cruises; Escape. Cruising is proving a very attractive method of holiday transportation and there is no clear indication this slowing down in the next few years to come.
Currently shrouded in much mystery; the Titanic II, which was confirmed by Australian Billionaire, Clive Palmer, in 2013, is set to sail in 2016. The current plan is for the cruise ship to be entirely built in China before sailing over to Southampton and then for her maiden voyage to be from Southampton to New York. Details are very thin at the moment and there doesn't seem to be a great deal of momentum behind the project but it is highly likely that more information will surface in the new year.
Prior to the new technological levels reached by Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas; internet on board cruise ships was a very slow and painful experience. Norwegian Sky was the first ship to feature an on board internet café in 1999 and the demand for a faster and more reliable has increased ever since. Royal Caribbean are the first and currently the only cruise line to have invested in their own satellite, which supplies a constant and speedy internet connection regardless of where you are on earth.
This O3B satellite follows a particular cruise ship, ie: Quantum of the Seas, and focuses its signal specifically on the cruise ship, following it as it travels around the world. Revolutionary doesn't quite do it justice. With an increasing reliance on digital equipment and media, we can probably expect other cruise lines to improve their on board internet connectivity over the course of 2015.
Already successful in the world of river cruising; Viking Cruises are set to unveil a new strand to their cruise family with Viking Ocean Cruises. The 745ft long Viking Star cruise ship will start sailing in 2015, carrying a maximum of 930 passengers. Every cabin on board will feature a veranda and the Viking Star will also boast a wealth of restaurants and cafés serving fine food and drink. There will also be two swimming pools on board; one of which is an infinity pool and overlooks the tail end of the ship.
The Viking Star is the first of three ocean cruise ships from Viking; with Viking Sea and Viking Sky both set to make their maiden voyages in 2016. This is an interesting venture for the popular river cruise brand and one we will follow with much anticipation and excitement.
One of the seven new cruise ships launching next year is the P&O Britannia; which is set to create a truly unique experience for lovers of food and drink. Britannia will be home to five of Britain's most renowned chefs and culinary experts consisting of: Marco Pierre White; James Martin; Atul Kochhar; Eric Lanlard and Olly Smith. Nothing like this has ever been done before on board a cruise ship and it is very rare that you will be able to taste dishes made directly by the chefs themselves.
Whatever the next year has in store, we're sure it'll be another successful year for the cruising industry. 2014 has been a year of new cruise lines, revolutionary technology and new destinations and we can expect these to grow and flourish over the course of 2015.
On behalf of everyone at GoCruise Franchise; we would like to wish all franchisees a happy and prosperous new year!