CRUISE TRENDS 2009
New ships, more kid-friendly zones, and the emergence of the upscale adventure cruise
Pictured: MV Orion, courtesy of Orion Expedition Cruises
With the number of passengers increasing on average 7.4 percent per year since
1990, cruising is the fastest-growing segment of the travel industry. In the past 10
years alone, staterooms have hosted 91.5 million North American guests. But
that isn't news to Condé Nast Traveler
readers, for whom cruising has become a favorite way to see the world. Here's a look at shipboard trends of the past year:
- VIP Areas Newer ships like the Norwegian Jewel and the MSC Fantasia offer exclusive luxury experiences for pleasure seekersSwarovski-crystal stairs and private pools included.
- Kid-Friendly Zones Following in Disney's footsteps, most of the vessels in the Large Ships category now have dedicated kid spaces and staff.
- Upscale Adventure Ships Gone are the days of sacrificing frills for far-flung adventure. Now you can have both. Guests aboard the National Geographic Explorer and the MV Orion can enjoy a leisurely lamb chop while sailing to the remotest shores on earth.
THE CLASS OF 2009
These new ships offer passengers everything they never knew they neededor wanted.
- Carnival Dream (September; 3,646 passengers):
Parents can relax in the Cloud 9 spa and adjacent suites, while the kids tackle the four-deck-high slide in the water park.
- Celebrity Equinox (August; 2,850 passengers):
Adjacent to the glassblowing studio, the top deck has a manicured lawn for croquet, putting, and feeling the grass between your toes.
- Oasis of the Seas (December; 5,400 passengers):
The largest vessel ever built houses Royal Caribbean's first seafaring baby nursery within its 29,000-square-foot Youth Zone.
- Seabourn Odyssey (June; 450 passengers):
Ninety percent of the ship's staterooms come with verandas, and there's an 11,400-square-foot dual-deck spa.
- Viking Legend (May; 189 passengers):
Most of the cabins on this eco-friendly European river cruise ship have French balconies.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.