October is Plan a Cruise Month, prime time for sea veterans and newcomers alike to start planning a cruise vacation. To mark the occasion, Expedia is offering a host of deals including giving away five free cruises during the month.
25.3 million people are expected to take a cruise by the end of 2017, a number that has steadily grown over the past few years. With trips on top cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian bookable up to 18 months in advance, Expedia.com makes comparing cruise lines and finding a great deal easy.
In honor of Plan a Cruise Month, Expedia is offering travelers several promotions:
- Carnival 1-Week Sale: Ends October 8. Free cabin upgrades, plus $50 onboard credit.
- Norwegian Free at Sea + Dash Sale: Ends October 9. Choose up to five free offers, plus get up to $1000 to spend onboard.
- Royal Caribbean 100 Hour Sale: Ends October 10. 50% off 2nd guest + up to $200 instant savings + up to $150 onboard credit.
- Win 1 of 5 Free Cruises: September 1-October 31. Enter for your chance to win one of five free cruises on Norwegian Cruise Line.
- World Explorers Sale: October 5-25. From Asia to Europe, set sail to exotic destinations and discover the world by sea. Book Oct 5-25 and take advantage of incredible Expedia Extras like free drinks, up to $600 onboard cash credit, or up to $1000 savings in onboard coupons.
- Disney Cruises: October 1-31. Get a $100 onboard credit
- Holland America Line Exclusive Sale: October 1-31. Get up to $150 to spend onboard 2017 Caribbean cruises.
Cruises are gaining popularity, and more than 100 million people are expected to take a cruise in the next four years. In fact, cruises enjoy the highest satisfaction rate of any vacation, and 84 percent of cruisers would recommend cruising to a friend. And despite misconceptions and anxiety about cruise expenses, included amenities like meals, activities, and room service can make voyages much more cost-effective than land-based vacations.
Plus, travelers can visit multiple destinations without extra transportation costs. As cruise lines look to continue to shake up assumptions of what a cruise can be, here are some industry trends making major waves:
New ships on the block. Over 100 new cruise ships will debut in the next decade, and 26 new ocean, river and specialty cruise ships are expected to debut in 2017 alone.
All-time favorites meet new frontiers. According to a recent survey5, the most in-demand cruises continue to be ever-popular routes to the Caribbean and Alaska. However, expedition cruises are also growing in popularity as more cruise lines are offering itineraries to the Galapagos Islands and remote polar regions.
New Panama Canal. Another key catalyst driving the cruise industry’s growth is the widening of the Panama Canal. The nine-year canal expansion project will enable bigger cargo ships and many of the world’s biggest cruise ships to pass through, cutting off the extra 8,000 miles it would take to sail around Cape Horn.
Nearly 20 percent of millennials plan to take a cruise in the next 12 months. Many cruise lines are wooing millennial travelers with high-tech amenities, fun onboard activities (ziplines, mixology classes, skydiving simulators) and late-night dance parties with international DJs. Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Vista even has its own brewery.
Private beach attractions are gaining popularity. Cruise lines are investing more in exclusive ownership of private islands to enhance the guest experience. These islands – like Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay – are equipped with luxury amenities, bars, easier accessibility, acres of lounge chairs, and beach pavilions.
Sea foodies. Survey respondents ranked cruises for foodies and gourmands as the most popular themed cruise type, and there is no shortage of delectable options to explore. Norwegian Cruise Line has their “Meet the Winemaker Cruises,” which allows passengers the opportunity to wine and dine with leaders and legends of the wine making industry. Last year Holland America partnered with America’s Test Kitchen to bring live onboard cooking shows and hands-on workshops on select ships.
Celebrity performances. Cruise lines continue to draw celebrities to perform on their ships, with past headliners including Demi Lovato, Bonnie Tyler, and Carrie Underwood. It’s been two years since their last cruise, but next year Backstreet’s back! The Backstreet Boys Cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines sails from Miami to Grand Turk May 3-7, 2018.
Luxury cruises are going all out. The world’s finest cruises allow travelers to experience first-class amenities and other extravagances like infinity pools, underwater lounges and helicopters.