I’ve always been curious about cruise ships. There’s something intriguing about the sheer size of them, let alone their glamorous offerings and extensive itineraries. So, when Traverse Events called me and invited me to an evening with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), I jumped at the opportunity to discover more about the world of cruising.
In the heart of London’s Soho, I made my way along the narrow maze of backstreets to the Karma Sanctum Soho Hotel, to join CLIA’s expert panel to discuss the evolution of the cruise industry and the hottest entertainment offerings they have onboard for guests. With over 2 million Brits, and 28 million people globally, choosing cruise holidays in 2018, there is doubt about it – cruising is on the up!
Illustrious panellists Phil Yeomans, P&O Cruises and Cunard, Sara Macefield, Cruise Journalist and Gary Glading, MSC Cruises warmly welcomed us and kicked off the evening by dispelling a few common misconceptions about cruising. The industry has evolved somewhat since the hedonistic yesteryears and the demographic that cruises attract have significantly evolved. Whilst there is still an affluent retiree crowd onboard, there is also an expanding young family market. I had never considered this, but it makes perfect sense – everything is under one roof: professional childcare is at your fingertips, multiple countries are visited in one trip, oodles of glitz and glamour on offer. Of course!
I always knew there were cabaret shows onboard, but I didn’t appreciate that some of the theatres were able to cater for us as many as 1,650 theatregoers with three sittings in an evening! And the calibre of the shows is absolutely incredible with West End and Broadway hits including Kinky Boots, Mamma Mia and Cats to name a few. And the best thing about it is that the shows are all included in the cost of the cruise!
One of the exciting ways that they have been expanding their entertainment offerings has been through exciting exclusive partnerships. The Disney Cruise Line has adapted a number of popular Disney films into dazzling onstage productions, including Beauty and the Beast, Tangled: The Musical, and Frozen: A Musical Spectacular.
The valued partnership with Cirque du Soleil continues to see crowds returning for more. In March, MSC Bellissima, MSC Cruises’ newest ship, will feature two brand new Cirque du Soleil shows. Onboard Princess Cruises you will find The Voice of the Ocean. And, they’ve even had Britain’s beloved Ant & Dec do shows onboard.
Edu-tainment has also become popular with cruisers. Entertainment directors are offering guests money can’t buy, once in a lifetime experiences. Try your hand at Master Chef, or a ballroom dancing class with the cast of Strictly Come Dancing.
Cruise goers’ requirements and expectations are evolving. Gone and the days when you’d drop your kids off at kid’s club in the morning and head off to whichever port you’d docked in to, to explore for the day sans la familia. Time is the biggest commodity nowadays, and parents want to spend it with their children doing activities together as a family.
This has seen innovative changes made to entertainment offerings onboard over the last decade and now you can expect to find site/ city tours, state of the art entertainment onboard including cinemas and bowling alleys, onshore scavenger hunts, aquatic parks, zip lines, escape rooms, go-karting, live music, fashion shows, world famous dining options, pools, water sports, ice skating and much more; all at your fingertips.
With bigger and better ships than ever before, it is clear to see why guests go onboard for the itineraries but go back time and time again for the entertainment offerings. I can’t wait to give cruising a go!
For more info on how to pick the perfect cruise for you, check out Lorna’s post over at Lorna Illustrates.
Until next time, safe travels.
*This is not an endorsed post. However, I was gifted an evening of entertainment alongside this presentation.
**All images for this post have been supplied by CLIA.