TravelPulse recently shared all the most relevant highlights and main points of interest in their article, “Top Cruise News Stories of 2023,” giving a sense of how cruising will go for most cruisers in 2024.
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The Top Cruise News Stories of 2023
By Sarah Kuta
It’s been a busy year for the cruise industry, with both ocean and river lines benefiting from continued strong demand. From a sold-out Taylor Swift-themed sailing to plant-based menus, these were some of the biggest cruise news stories of 2023.
Israel-Hamas Conflict Disrupted Middle East Cruises
Numerous cruise lines were affected by the Israel-Hamas conflict, which began in October. Windstar Cruises postponed the launch of its inaugural Middle East season, while MSC Cruises canceled several winter and summer itineraries in the region. Oceania Cruises, which is owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, also adjusted several of its voyages.
Royal Caribbean, meanwhile, worked with the U.S. state department to help Americans evacuate.
“These aren’t things we talk about and debate a lot internally. When our communities are in need, it’s in our DNA to step up and try to do the right thing,” said Jason Liberty, the company’s CEO, during Northstar Travel Group’s CruiseWorld conference.
Cruise Lines Added Starlink Internet to Their Fleets
After Royal Caribbean announced that it was adding Elon Musk’s Starlink internet to its fleet in August 2022, numerous other cruise lines followed suit in 2023. Cunard, Aurora Expeditions, Windstar Cruises, Holland America Line and Scenic Group all unveiled plans to upgrade their ships to the satellite-based service.
Cruise Lines Won Big at the 2023 Travvy Awards
Cruise lines won big at the 2023 Travvy Awards in November. Hosted by Northstar Travel Group’s TravelPulse.com and AgentatHome, the awards reflected the outcomes of thousands of votes cast in more than 140 categories. A few highlights: Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas took the top spot for the best overall cruise ship, while AmaWaterways won gold for best overall river cruise line.
Cruise Lines Went Vegan
As plant-based diets continue to grow in popularity, several cruise lines added new vegan dishes to give travelers more options. Atlas Ocean Voyages, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and AmaWaterways all unveiled vegan menus in 2023.
Fans Organized a Taylor Swift Cruise – And It Sold Out
The Taylor Swift effect reached the cruise industry this year, with fans organizing a special Eras-themed sailing for October 2024 aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. The American singer-songwriter is so popular that, even though she’s not affiliated with the cruise, the themed sailing quickly sold out.
Cruising Saw Strong Demand
Cruising continued to grow in popularity in 2023. Occupancy rates are high, prices are increasing in line with strong demand and cruise lines are bringing in record amounts of revenue. The trend is expected to continue in 2024, when an estimated 35.7 million people are expected to cruise – an increase from 31.5 million in 2023.
Read the rest of the article and much more from TravelPulse here.