As countries begin to relax their travel restrictions, we look ahead with optimistic eyes to the most popular cruising destinations to start lusting over and the trends that will shape 2021 and beyond. We have all been enjoying virtual tours like this European Waterways series around Europe but itching to get back on the rivers and oceans.
ENGLISH HOLIDAY CRUISES – THE FIRST BACK ON THE WATER
English Holiday Cruises became the first cruise company in the UK to restart cruise holidays following Covid closure. The Edward Elgar is the largest Hotel Boat in England, built to be the biggest ship capable of fitting into the smallest locks. The vessel normally carries 22 people in 11 cabins but this capacity has been reduced to 18 for re-opening.
You can get your cruise fix on the picturesque rivers of England with several layers of safety including fogging between cruises, overnight air sterilisation, ‘no-share’ airflow and table service for everything all accredited under the new Visit England ‘Good to Go’ scheme. Cruises run for 2 to 6 nights till the end of October 2020. To book, visit: englishholidaycruises.co.uk
UNIWORLD BOUTIQUE RIVER CRUISES
Uniworld’s family owned fleet of 19 boutique floating hotels sail through 20 rivers in 28 countries worldwide. What we love is the ultra luxury all inclusive nature of Uniworld where everything is sorted for you from unlimited premium spirits and wines, luxury cuisine, excursions and even airport transfers.
2021 will see the introduction of a brand new experience in Peru on the all-suite Aria Amazon ship as well as ‘Cruise & Rail’ itineraries taking you through Milan, Venice and the Swiss Alps. There will also be several new ships including The Mekong Jewel – the newest and most luxurious ship on the Mekong river which will sail from Ho Chi Minh. To book, visit: uniworld.com
TOP CRUISE DESTINATIONS FOR 2021
With many leading cruise lines reporting strong bookings for next year, prices are also dropping. For example, Oceania Cruises launched The Ultimate Sale featuring major price reductions for voyages departing in 2020, 2021 or 2022 sailing throughout Europe, Alaska, Asia, Australia-New Zealand and even longer trips which traverse the continents.
Here are some of the experiences being booked by passengers, from the sun-soaked shores of the Med to the remote wilderness of Alaska.
If you’re seeking variety after your holiday-hiatus, you can’t do much better than the Danube River. Slicing through the very heart of Europe, the Danube journeys through (10!) different countries, more than any other river in the world. Calling in at some of the most elegant, vibrant and influential cities, over one week you can sail from Budapest’s baths to Bratislava’s bars and follow in the musical footsteps of Mozart in Vienna’s coffee and opera houses. Culture vultures: form an orderly queue!
One of the world’s most enchanting cruise destinations, the Greek islands combine stunning natural beauty, whitewashed facades and a warm and vibrant culture. With multiple islands to choose from including glamourous Mykonos and Santorini, through to the sandy coves of Kefalonia and Corfu, sail across cerulean oceans to savour serene sunsets and a plethora of sun-soaked adventures.
Set sail on the voyage of a lifetime where you’ll feast your eyes on some of the most breath-taking natural beauty in the world. Explore everything from the magnificently magical Northern Lights, the brightly coloured houses of Copenhagen’s Nyhavn district, and Norway’s splendid vistas of fjords, glaciers and soaring peaks. A Scandi cruise offers an experience that a land-based trip could just never match up to.
Iglu Cruises has a Iceland with Reykjavik sailing to the region that also takes in Tórshavn, the chocolate-box capital of the Faroe Islands.
A once in a lifetime trip, the region’s 7,000 islands sweep across the Caribbean Sea, all the way from the Florida Keys to Venezuela. Whether you drop anchor in Aruba, St Lucia or Guadeloupe, you’ll be warmly welcomed with icing sugar sands, crystal waters and golden sunsets. With an activity for all, swim with stingrays in the Cayman Islands, sip rum cocktails with a reggae backdrop in Jamaica, or grab a selfie with the pigs in the Bahamas.
Every stop on an Antarctic cruise reveals new wonders. A bucket list expedition, embark on an adventure to the most unique and remote continent on Earth that will bring you up close and personal with glaciers, giant icebergs and endless snow-draped islands. Wildlife reigns here, so expect to spot penguins along the shore, seals on ice slabs and humpback and killer whales breaking the water’s surface. With few people ever visiting the continent, this trip of a lifetime will allow you to truly escape from your everyday world.
Explore this land of extremes with Riviera Travel’s 14-day Voyage to Antarctica expedition where you will see glaciers, vast ice sheets and isolated iceberg-filled bays amongst the mountainous terrain of the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands and jump into zodiac dinghies for shore excursions.
TOP CRUISE TRENDS FOR 2021
Whether you’re an experienced cruiser or getting ready to set sail on your first adventure, one of the most exciting aspects is where the cruise industry is heading over the coming years. To whet your palate for the cruise ships of the future, we’ve looked into the latest trends on the horizon.
Increased health & safety measures:
The cruise industry will be introducing a range of enhanced preventive measures to ensure the utmost safety of guests. This will include but not limited to: stringent health screening processes and protocols prior embarkation and disembarkation; sanitising luggage entering cruise ships; increased cleanliness of cabins, public areas and recreational areas; suspending self-service at buffets; ships having 100% external fresh air filtered and cruise capacity potentially being reduced.
The emergence of pioneering technologies will continue to improve cruisers experiences. Hi-tech cruise ships will be the only way to travel with the introduction of Segway rides, state-of-the-art fitness suites and augmented reality systems, as well as drones. Wristbands and facial recognition technology will curate a seamless experience, allowing guests to access cabins, track children, as well as being a portal for paperless payment. Also set to grow is the number of onboard aquariums, alongside the introduction of innovative underwater viewing facilities that will show the world below the waves in warmth and comfort.
For families that have been divided in recent months, a multi-generational cruise offers a getaway which caters to everyone. Crossing oceans as well as the generational divide, where else can so many different ages explore a host of destinations in one trip, and enjoy extraordinary, unforgettable experiences together, stress-free? Grab your grandparents, and get booking.
Adventure-chasing holidaymakers who’ve been deprived in recent months will be craving out-of-the-box itineraries that allow them to visit some of the world’s most exciting destinations. Excursions and expeditions will see an increase in popularity, with locations such as Antarctica and Alaska being placed firmly on the map as cruise lines respond to the growing curiosity of today’s traveller.
What about an expedition around the UK? Superyachts are increasing in popularity for an adventurous idea. Vivid – a newly re-fitted 88ft sailing superyacht will explore the South Coast of England visiting some lesser known destinations including Falmouth, St Mawes and the Isles of Scilly.
While it’s impossible to accurately predict exactly where the cruise industry is heading in the future, you can feel comforted by the certainty that however you choose to sail, cruise providers will be doing all they can to push the envelope of what’s possible.