When it comes to cruise industry trends, Old is the New New. According to a Seatrade Cruise Whitepaper published this month, a staggering billion and a half dollars were spent on cruise ship makeovers in 2016! And there is no slowdown in sight. These revitalization go way beyond traditional refits to complete overhauls, adding the hottest venues and popular features introduced on their brand new ships.
Why should meeting & incentive travel planners care about cruise ship makovers?
More choices…and better value! Due to media exposure, newly launched ships are in high demand and sell out quickly – but you can still give your attendees a “new ship” experience by looking beyond the buzz. Multi-million dollar cruise line revitalization programs are adding high-tech upgrades, expanded dining options, innovative entertainment, and reconfigured accommodations to their ships to keep up with the newbuilds. This gives planners more ship and destination options, shorter itinerary options…and more room to negotiate best rates and amenities.
Massive makeovers announced by cruise lines include:
Crystal – The Evolution of Luxury
Crystal’s two award-winning cruise ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, are undergoing multi-million dollar makeovers that will continue into 2018. Spacious new suites and butler-serviced penthouses will be added to each ship to reduce guest capacity and increase the already generous service and space ratios.
In addition to the new suites, both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will feature more open-seating specialty restaurants; and expanded technologies including free, unlimited Wi-Fi across all devices – laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Crystal Symphony will debut Oct 21, 2017 with a new guest capacity of 848, followed by Crystal Serenity in November 2018 with a new capacity of 980 guests.
Silversea – Fleetwide “Muse-ization”
Silversea announced a $170 million fleetwide refurbishment project, drawing inspiration from their new flagship, Silver Muse. Silver Wind and Silver Whisper will both be upgraded in December 2017 to reflect the look and features of Silver Muse.
In addition, the Silver Spirit will undergo Silversea’s first-ever ship stretching to add 26 Veranda Suites and 2 new Panorama Suites.
Celebrity Cruises – “Celebrity Revolution”
Following the introduction of highly anticipated new Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Cruises will invest $400 million into modernizing its entire fleet between 2019 and 2023. Dubbed the “Celebrity Revolution”, all ships will get some features of Celebrity Edge, set to launch in 2018.
Staterooms are being completely reconfigured to optimize storage, and new Cashmere Mattresses and Bedding Collection sets will be introduced in all staterooms and suites.
Suite guests will also have access to the new Retreat Sundeck and Retreat Lounge. The sundeck will be an al fresco venue with outdoor day beds for scenic rest and relaxation, while the lounge will be a place for suite guests to go for complimentary beverages, gourmet bites and live entertainment.
Royal Caribbean – Independence of the Seas
Independence of the Seas will undergo a multi-million dollar makeover and set sail in Summer 2018 with more exciting features including an escape room, trampoline zone, a laser tag arena, and interactive Aqua Park.
Izumi, the Asian-inspired dining experience, will give guests the chance to experience skilled hibachi chefs cooking tableside on Teppanyaki grills. Beautiful new lounges and Panoramic Ocean View staterooms with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows will also be added.
Independence of the Seas will continue to offer 4 & 5-night Caribbean itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale in fall and winter before returning to Europe for summer cruises.
Carnival Cruises – Carnival Elation
Carnival Elation is in the final stages of a multi-million-dollar makeover that includes the addition of 38 new staterooms and 98 balconies to existing staterooms; an expansive new WaterWorks park; and a variety popular food and beverage concepts, including Guy’s Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina – always complimentary.
Following the extensive renovation, Carnival Elation will resume its year-round schedule of 4 to 8-night cruises from Jacksonville, Florida on Oct. 7.