by Lisa A. Grimaldi | December 18, 2017
More than 27 million cruise passengers are expected to set sail in 2018, according to Cruise Lines International Association's 2018 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook. Last year, 25.8 million passengers took cruises. The report also outlines the top trends for cruising in the new year; among the trends of significance to the meeting and incentive industry are the following.
 
More transformational experiences: From cultural immersion and "voluntourism" to extreme adventures, passengers are seeking trips that give them a shift in perspective and a sense of accomplishment. Cruise itineraries include the opportunity to indulge in local cuisine, guided tours through small villages and even visits inside private homes.
 
Greater focus on sustainable tourism: Travelers can look forward to participating in sustainable practices both onboard and off, and being offered voluntourism initiatives that focus on creating a positive environmental and social impact at destinations around the globe.
 
Increased interest in chilly destinations: The coming year is projected to see an increase in the popularity of colder-climate ports, including the Baltics, Canada, Alaska and Antarctica. With an array of unique excursion options (including penguin watching and ice fishing), cold destinations are drawing in both new and repeat cruise travelers.
 
More smart technology: The coming year will see a rise in traveler-friendly onboard technologies. Cruise lines are introducing wearable technology for guests, providing a personalized and seamless experience while onboard.
 
The report also reveals that 27 new ships will debut in the coming year. Click here to view a list of all the vessels, as well as details from the report.