In terms of economic impact, further research from the association reveals the industry generates $150 billion worldwide and has created more than 1.7 million jobs.
But what makes cruising so appealing is the drive by leading brands to appeal to a wider demographic. The focus is firmly on creating more memorable on-board experiences and itineraries for families as well as those seeking experiential travel and exploration. The trend for so-called ‘Skip Gen’ cruising – where grandparents and grandchildren travel together without their parents – is projected to grow, as is demand from passengers for on-board health and wellness services that go beyond pampering to embrace personalised fitness; stress, pain and weight management; and healthy living programmes.
Undoubtedly, one of the most impressive recent European debuts is Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) much anticipated Norwegian Encore, which slipped gracefully out of dock on a crisp winter’s day in 2019 to make her inaugural voyage from Germany to Southampton.
Encore is the 17th ship to join the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet and the very last Breakaway-Plus class vessel. Its upscale, contemporary interior design delivers a luxurious ambience alongside a number of standout experiences, such as the world’s longest sea-bound racetrack, at 350m in length with four high-speed curves; the largest outdoor laser tag arena with augmented reality elements; and the Galaxy Pavilion, which offers a new, immersive escape room and other interactive theatre experiences. Guests can also enjoy 15 restaurants, a theatre, and time to escape and relax in a spacious Mandara Spa, located in a prime location at the stern of the ship.