Flaming sunsets. Frigid fjords. Ice cold piña coladas. Coconut sun lotion. Burning sand. A luxury cruise in 2018 could take you pretty much anywhere. As of 2019, however, the cruise ship industry is set to take that “pretty much” and turn it into “absolutely,” with purpose-built vessels preparing to take you to some of the most remote corners of the globe.
If that’s not enough to get the adventurous onboard, cruise liners are also set to begin revisiting “politically unstable” countries that have been avoided in recent years. Combine that with the burgeoning luxury cruise tattoo parlour scene and the ratio of “retirees investing their inheritance in a sun tan” and “young people drinking too many daiquiris” may be set to shift.
According to Bloomberg projections, Greenland, Egypt, Turkey, The Galapagos and Antarctica are key destinations to keep an eye on (or better yet, book) this year. However; these countries are either politically volatile, or extremely remote—hence the need for “purpose built” cruise ships.
Arctic Greenland, for instance, one of the most isolated places on Earth, will be a hot spot with cruisers in 2019—a new development, seeing as, “Until recently it’s only been possible to explore the area’s untouched fjords, glaciers, colorful towns, and Viking sites on basic expedition ships,” (Bloomberg).
Now though, “New ships are being purpose-built to serve as base camps in icy waters,” (Bloomberg). Chief among them is Norway-based Hurtigruten’s hybrid electric, 500-passenger Roald Amundsen, which has a state-of-art underwater drone delivering video from down below and (naturally) an infinity pool up top.
“From either of those vantages—or even closer-up on excursions—you’ll be able to spot humpbacks and other whales, or see the northern lights high above,” Bloomberg reports. The company also plans to expand its environmentally friendly operations to Alaska, in 2020.
The next country poised to make a resurgence in the cruise ship industry is Egypt, a nation which is still rebounding from a tourism slump that began with 2011’s Arab Spring. However, this year, Skift reports, “Luxury lines are returning to Egypt, meaning your World Cruise or Middle East itinerary will actually stop there rather than just pass through via the Suez Canal.”
“River lines are exploring farther afield, stopping not just in Cairo and Luxor, but in archaeologically spectacular Aswan as well.”
“Book a top suite on the 42-passenger Oberoi Philae, a steamwheeler replica that’s chartered by companies such as Lindblad Expeditions, and you can lounge in your own open-air whirlpool while pretending you’re Cleopatra on the Nile,” Skift continues.
The next destination due for a cruise ship resurgence is Turkey, a country which, like Egypt, has experienced a decline in cruise ship tourism in recent years. As Bloomberg reports, “After an attempted military coup in 2016, most cruise companies diverted their ships from Turkey to Greece.” However that pattern is slowly being reversed, with the aid of Turkish government financial incentives, which now run from $25 to $45 per passenger.
The Galapagos is another up and coming port of call of 2019. Although the remote Ecuadorian island chain has been at the epicentre of South America’s cruise industry for some time, this year trips are set to become even more intimate, with the introduction of several ultrasmall ships: “Most notable(y) is the 100-passenger, all-suite Celebrity Flora, which premieres in June with special cabanas for overnight glamping,” (Bloomberg).
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These personalised boats mean that you can snorkel with sea lions, cliff jump over lava rocks, and kayak with dolphins—without hundreds of other people beside you.
Antarctica is the final remote destination Bloomberg earmarked for an uptick in cruise ship visitors for 2019, with new adventure ships like the 200-passenger Scenic Eclipse (equipped with a seven-seat submarine and two seven-seat helicopters) enabling tourists to see the white continent’s orca, sperm whales, elephant seals, and human-size penguins in extravagant style.
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