Battery-powered vessel MS Roald Amundsen
Karsten Bidstrup / Hurtigruten

We’re taking a moment to raise our heads and look up at the travel world outside of cruise interiors. It’s hard to do because there’s just so much going on in the cruise market, from established cruise lines’ first foray into river cruise to expedition ships being christened in the Antarctic.

However Euromonitor have released their predictions for the travel market and they make for a very interesting read:

Euromonitor predicts that the global travel industry is expected to grow 3.3% year on year, with online sales accounting for a whopping 52% of travel bookings. They predict that this growth will result in international arrivals amounting to 1.8 billion trips by 2024. Although this number isn’t insignificant it is dwarfed by the predicted number of domestic arrivals, which is estimated at 19 billion by 2024.

One of the drivers of this growth is consumers’ desire for experience over things, with 43% of global consumers reporting that they prioritise experiences over things. It will be interesting to see how the cruise market exploits this global interest in experience-driven travel: cruise lines offer experiential travel by trade and they are only growing their onboard offerings, augmenting an increasingly ambitious programme of destinations. This is borne out with the growth of the expedition cruise market. Ships such as Quark Expedition’s Ultramarine not only takes its passengers to polar destinations but offers a range of experiences from typical cruise activities such as a library and a spa, to a lecture theatre, flightseeing, cross country skiing and mountaineering.


Euromonitor have identified a series of ‘megatrends’, which they define as trends with longevity and that represent a ‘fundamental shift’ in consumer behaviour. They have segmented the trends into 4 regions: Europe, Asia, Americas and Middle East & Africa.

The Greta Effect

Euromonitor dubbed one of the key trends affecting travel in Europe as ‘The Greta Effect’, with 58.6% of European respondents identifying as worried about climate change. Currently airlines are coming under the brunt of travel scrutiny as a result of this, with Forbes pronouncing flygskam, or ‘flight shaming’ as the buzzword of the year. However cruise ships aren’t exempt from scrutiny. Some cruise lines have acted to get ahead of the trend. Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen is the world’s first battery powered cruise ship and claims that the technology used in its propulsion cuts CO2 emissions by 20% in comparison to other ships of its size.

Another company, Peace Boat, has potentially created an even greener way to propel their cruise ships with their 2,000 passenger Ecoship, which is proposed to be propelled by ten retractable wind generators and ten retractable photovaltic sails. In addition to this Ecoship is clad in solar panels which is slated to power all of the cabin and exterior lighting. Meanwhile cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruises are banning single-use plastic bottles from its ships and Royal Caribbean have eliminated all plastic straws aboard their vessels.

Accessibility Goes Mainstream

A second European megatrend Euromonitor identified was ‘Accessibility goes Mainstream’. They expanded their definition of accessible tourism beyond the population with physical and intellectual disabilities to include all with mobility needs, including seniors and babies. Euromonitor made the business case for accessible tourism, with details such as those with access needs create a multiplier effect due to travelling with more people including carers, friends and family. They identified that this is a key time for accessibility due to the combination of technology and consumer attitudes.

Cruise ships are no strangers to that expanded definition of accessible marketing, having specialised in both the family and over-50s markets for years. In fact, the Open Doors Organization has identified cruises as being more popular with adults with disabilities than the general US population, with 12% of adults with disabilities having taken a cruise in the past 5 years compared to 10% of the general US population.

Cruise industry professionals who want to read more into about 2020’s travel megatrends can access the report here.

Want access to the latest in cruise trends? The Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe world-class two-day conference will take place 4-5 December at Fira Barcelona. #CSIB19