Last week, our cruise team, Kanise and Morgan attended a travel industry event called CruiseWorld in sunny Fort Lauderdale. CruiseWorld is an event for all things cruises where agents go to network with cruise line executives, tour ships, learn about the industry and learn the latest and greatest that the cruise lines have to offer. Today they share the top five things they learned over their four-day workcation. There was a lot of helpful information, but one thing is for certain, the cruise industry is becoming better than ever.
Top 5 - CruiseWorld Takeaways
If you've been following J5Travel for a while, then you know we highlight Alaska cruises every year. That is because it is one of the most popular destinations for cruising and it is also arguably one of the best ways to explore Alaska. While at CruiseWorld, almost every cruise line spoke about their Alaska programs. There are so many different ways to experience Alaska whether you are looking for a family vacation or a luxurious, romantic getaway. Alaska is fun, educational and a life changing trip. You can go dog sledding in Juneau and learn from real Native Indians in Ketchikan. And let's not forget the beautiful glaciers of Glacier Bay and the Inside Passage. For the most complete Alaskan experience, we recommend you extend your cruise with a land trek into the Denali National Park. An overnight in the park, along with a glass domed train ride are an excellent way to see all the awe-inspiring nature and animals. The key thing when booking your Alaska cruise is to Book Early! Many of the voyages through 2024 have already sold out or mostly sold.
If you have been on a cruise or even thought about going on a one, there's a chance you took a second to think about the impacts of cruising on the environment. The ships are getting larger, more people are sailing, and more locations are added every year. Many of the cruise lines have implemented more sustainable practices over the years to include using less plastics and encouraging the reuse of towels and linens. But the sustainability practices have evolved over the years and goes far beyond just using paper straws. Cruise lines are now adopting systems that truly have a positive impact on the environment. Many of them have modern wastewater treatment systems to reduce gray water being pumped into the ocean. They also have discovered ways to use alternative fuels to reduce their carbon footprints. One standout in the industry is Hurtigruten who has eliminated all heavy oil-based fuel and has switched to biofuel made from organic waste. They even launched the world's first hybrid powered ship in 2019. Luxury cruise line, Ponant, also introduced their first hybrid ship (Le Commandant Charcot) in 2021 and is the first European cruise line to hold the Green Marine certification that verifies their eco-friendly practices. There is so much more to say about the sustainability measures in the cruise industry that I think we will dedicate a full blog to the subject soon.
One of the most interesting sessions that we attended was hosted by the Japan National Tourism Organization. The Asian countries were the amongst the last to open their border after covid regulations lifted, but now they are open and ready to invite tourists back to share their culture and country. While Japan is on the top of many people's bucket list, people rarely think to take a cruise there. However, as an island nation, it is the perfect country to explore by sea. Japan is a country where ultra-modern cities and humble historic towns can be just a few miles apart. While on a cruise in Japan, you can see the beautiful temples in Fukuoka, the inspirational gardens in Hiroshima and the Sagano Bamboo Forest north of Kyoto. And of course, no cruise to Japan would be complete without an excursion to the famous Mt. Fuji and a ride on one of their high-speed bullet trains. The best part of it all, you only unpack once while sailing to all these iconic cities and ports.
4. Sea Cloud Cruises
It's rare we encounter a cruise line that we've never heard of, but at CruiseWorld it happened and we were pleasantly surprised. While perusing the vendors in the exhibition hall we stumbled across Sea Cloud Cruises and it was definitely a pleasant surprise. Sea Cloud Cruises has actually been sailing for more than 40 years on their luxury windjammers. The above picture is the owner's suite on the Sea Cloud I, and yes that is a real fireplace. They focus on small ship, traditional cruising with an emphasis on 5-star service and charming destinations. They are an all-inclusive brand with five course Captain's galas and fine wines from famous wine makers featured on every journey. Private beach barbecues and special curated moments are also part of your voyage. Another amazing bonus is they allow you to participate in sailing the vessel. You can volunteer to set the sails, haul and coil the lines during certain parts of the voyage.
5. Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity has quickly become one of our most sold cruise lines and for good reason. Their mid-sized ships are classy and elegant without sacrificing the fun and entertainment. Over the past five years they have introduced a new ship almost every year and 2025 will be no different with the introduction of Celebrity Xcel. It will feature many of the edge class favorites such as the Rooftop Garden, Solarium and Magic Carpet, while also adding new specialty dining experiences and double the single infinite veranda staterooms.
Celebrity cruises also announced the addition of new ports in Iceland, Norway and Montenegro. They also announced new itineraries that circumnavigate Iceland and Asian immersion itineraries that visit the area during key festivals such as Golden Week.
Celebrity Beyond is now scheduled to travel year-round throughout the Caribbean in the 2025-2026 season and most of the sailings will include a stop at Royal Caribbean's private island, Perfect Day at Cococay for both kid and adult friendly escapades.
If you're ready to take on a luxury cruising experience, let us know. Our cruise team is excited to plan an exclusive cruise itinerary specifically for you. Click the button below to get started.