Scuba in Cuba? New Destinations on the Cruising Horizon
At the annual Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) conference in Fort Lauderdale, travel agents and cruise line executives gathered to talk about the future of cruising. Members of the world’s largest travel agent association expect more and more people will take their first cruise in the years to come.
Worldwide, as many as 23 million people will go on a cruise in 2015—many for the first time ever. But to date, only 4% of North Americans have enjoyed a cruise vacation. That means 96% of Americans have yet to take their first cruise!
In light of such staggering statistics, cruise lines are doing everything they can to interest new travelers. In the past, this has meant offering innovations and exclusive experiences on new ships. And by the year 2020, there will be 55 new cruise ships to choose from. With that many new vessels on the horizon, cruise lines are starting to focus on another way to entice Americans to take their first cruise: new destinations.
With emerging developments between the U.S. and Cuba, this once-forbidden Caribbean destination may soon become a popular stop for cruise ships. Cuba is as beautiful an island as any in the Caribbean with a compelling history that may prove irresistible to visitors wanting a new and rich experience. While uncertainty still exists about the timing and extent of eased travel restrictions, travel agents and cruise lines alike are excited about the possibilities.
Asia is another potential cruise destination seeing a great deal of interest. Its fascinating culture and superb landscapes have made it a growing market for U.S. travelers.
Another exciting innovation is the growing number of cruise lines and ships offering all-inclusive packages. These include not only the unlimited dining that most cruisers are accustomed to, but unlimited beverage service, shore excursion credits, internet packages, photos and more. Almost everything is paid up front, so there are few charges to reconcile at the end of the trip. The industry expects more and more cruise lines to begin introducing short 3- or 4-day all-inclusive cruises over the coming months.
From new ships to new destinations to new ways to cruise, this is an exciting time in the travel industry! Whether our passengers are taking their first cruise or are well-traveled veterans of the seas, we at Inspiration are thrilled to give them an unforgettable Christian travel experience.