The cruise lines continued to add capacity, but at the same time increased their presence in new markets, like China, which helped to stabilize pricing, which was a goal for the industry. Now more than ever it is important for passengers to plan ahead so that they can take advantage of lead-in pricing. The lines have vowed not to do "fire sale" pricing close in to the sailing date.
|Viking Sky Photo Gallery|
Viking Sky and Viking Sun are all-balcony cruise ships with the smallest cabins measuring a sizable 270 square feet; the largest suites comes in at 1,300 square feet. The ships specialize in destination-oriented cruise experiences with long days in ports, plenty of overnights in major cities and few days at sea.
Cruise fares include a selection of free shore excursions, complimentary Wi-Fi, and beer and wine at lunch and dinner offering good value for the cruise price.
Prior to the introduction of these ships, Royal Caribbean had the corner on the market for massive passenger count at sea. Contrasting this year to 2016, the remaining ships were much smaller with the total added capacity being 13,900 berths in 2017 while last year there were 18,500 new beds added.
Having our conferences on a relatively new ship, Harmony of the Seas, was one of our highlights for the year.
If you have specific questions about the ships, the itineraries, or cruising in general, we'd love to hear from you.
Weather Impact on Cruises
Throughout September and October, we were posting itinerary updates as schedules were impacted by either the approaching storms or following the landfall.
Cruise lines rushed to aid victims with several voyages cancelled to launch rescue and supply missions. The industry response was like no other in history. We are proud to be part of this industry as everyone joined together to help in this time of need.
At our conference, industry leaders from the cruise lines and organizations stressed that while there had been a tremendous response to date, it was crucial that we as Travel Professionals helped get the message out that the Caribbean is Open for Business. They still need our help to recover from the hurricanes. One of the ways this can be done is by bringing tourism dollars back into the regions hit hardest by the hurricanes.
Our Favorite Cruise for 2017
Having cruised for 30+ years, our cruise selections are driven primarily by destination and secondly by cruise ship. We love exploring new destinations from our bucket list as well as revisiting some of our favorites. Exploring new ships, including older ships we've never sailed on before, is also quite enjoyable. Of course, we love to share with our readers so that they can discover the world that awaits them.
Penguins of South America
We arrived in Santiago, Chile on January 18, 2017. For the next 14 days, we explored South America including the countries of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and the Falkland Islands. We saw Amalia Glacier, Glacier Alley, Fjords, Cape Horn and many other magnificent sites along the way.
Having sailed the seas for more than 30 years, it's hard to narrow the list down to one trip as the "best", but this trip certainly is among the top contenders. Read our Cruise Diary
What's Ahead for 2018
It will be a rebuilding year for the Caribbean and another ship building year as well. What will the added capacity mean? There are still a large percentage of the population that have not experienced cruising. The lines, including new players like MSC Cruises and Viking Oceans, will continue to advertise which will help spread the word.
As cruise prices stabilized, many lines have been looking to onboard expenditures as a means to increase revenue. Items that had once been included, like room service, have started to see additional charges for example. Some passengers aren't happy with the new trend to "nickle-and-dime" them and may look to cruise lines that have less optional charges. Luxury lines are becoming an even better value since you know your cost of the entire trip up front.
It will be interesting to see how new players, such as Viking Oceans, impacts the industry as they grow their fleets. They are bucking the tide to go big and instead opting for smaller ships and more emphasis on the destinations. Of course, the river cruise industry is booming as the demand soars for this method of exploring the globe. Crystal has entered the market as well, bringing another luxury option to this growing market.
Travel Professionals are not going away. In fact, their expertise is even more valuable now, as there are more and more options to sort through. Matching the right ship and itinerary to the cruisers' desires is one of the biggest values they bring to bear. Hope to see you on the seven seas in 2018.
Happy New Year
Follow Us On
Sign-up for Exclusive Email Offers
Where have you explored?