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The Top Cruise Trends For 2014

PENNINGTON, N.J., Dec. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --  Cruise Critic® ( http://www.cruisecritic.com), the world's largest cruise reviews site, has released its list of the top cruise trends for 2014, based on industry insight and consumer habits.

  • Build Your Own Cruise DealCruise lines continue to add unique onboard experiences for guests, but many times they come at an added cost. Cruise lines are now introducing pick-your-own deal offerings that allow passengers to choose the deal of their choice – airline, onboard credit, etc.

What this means for cruisers: Over one-third of cruisers report to Cruise Critic* that rather than strictly low cost, they consider a "cruise deal" to be a mid-range fare with extras included. These new deal options not only offer add-ons, but leave the choice in the cruisers' hands.

  • More Quick GetawaysShort two- to four-day cruises have typically been reserved for older ships in cruise line fleets. Looking ahead, more new ships are offering short cruises – including Norwegian Breakaway, which launched in 2013 and will offer some two-day sailings.

What this means for cruisers: Short cruises are especially popular with local residents looking for a short break or last minute deal, and new-to-cruise travelers. When polled by Cruise Critic*, 46% responded that they would consider going on a short cruise.

  • Balcony Smoking Stubbed OutSix cruise lines announced amendments to onboard smoking policies in 2013, and it's expected that a number more will follow in 2014. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Cunard, P&O, Disney Cruise Line, and Seabourn all announced that they would be ban some, if not all, smoking on balconies by 2014, and MSC announced new smoking bans on US-based MSC Divina.

What this means for cruisers: A solid 74% told Cruise Critic* they feel smoking should be banned at the very least on balconies and in cabins, with 56% responding that smoking should be banned on all cruise lines. For smokers, it will be more important than ever to become familiar with cruise line smoking policies prior to boarding.

  • A Genuine Taste of the PortA majority of cruisers (80%*) book shore excursions prior to embarkation – 45% of those book through an independent operator, rather than the cruise line. To counter this excursion competition, lines are introducing new, immersive shore experiences that cruisers can only experience by booking directly through the line.

What this means for cruisers: This is a type of competition that can only benefit consumers – more excursion choices, and more unique offerings. Examples include Disney Cruise Line's family archeological digs in Athens and Azamara's romantic evenings the hillsides of Tuscany.

  • More Inclusivity Options in River CruisingRiver cruises continue to rise in popularity, with 65% telling Cruise Critic* that they would love to try one. A key trend will be the improved levels of inclusivity available – while some lines have more inclusive offerings at a higher base cost, others offer less inclusivity at a lower base cost.

What this means for cruisers: The good news is that as the industry becomes more competitive, so does pricing. There will be more options and better value, with cruisers able to select from a range of all-inclusive to a la carte.

  • Hot Destinations for 2014
    • Panama Canal: The Panama Canal celebrates its 100 th anniversary in 2014 and the new visitors' center will welcome a number of cruise ship passengers.
    • Japan: Watch out for more Japan-centric cruises in 2014. Japan can be expensive and tricky to navigate by land, so cruising is considered an ideal way to see the country.
    • Australia: Cruises are a great way to experience all that Australia has to offer, and with more choices offered in 2014, it's definitely a cruise destination to watch.

* Poll Results Polls ran on the CruiseCritic.com homepage; only one vote allowed per IP address. Cruise Deal Poll (3/28/13) Short Cruise Poll (10/23/13) Smoking Poll (9/6/13) Shore Excursions Poll (11/15/13) River Cruise Poll (11/6/13)

About Cruise CriticCruise Critic® is an online cruise guide, offering a comprehensive resource for cruise travelers, from first-time cruisers to avid cruise enthusiasts. The site features more than 100,000 cruise reviews and hosts the world's largest online cruise community where travelers share experiences and opinions with fellow cruisers. Cruise Critic was the first consumer cruise site on the Internet, launched in October 1995 by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, Inc.

TripAdvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIP) manages and operates websites under 21 other travel media brands: www.airfarewatchdog.com, www.bookingbuddy.com, www.cruisecritic.com, www.everytrail.com, www.familyvacationcritic.com, www.flipkey.com, www.gateguru.com, www.holidaylettings.co.uk, www.holidaywatchdog.com, www.independenttraveler.com, www.jetsetter.com, www.niumba.com,   www.onetime.com, www.oyster.com , www.seatguru.com, www.smartertravel.com, www.tingo.comwww.travelpod.com, www.virtualtourist.com, www.whereivebeen.com, and www.kuxun.cn. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 260 million unique monthly visitors*, and more than 125 million reviews and opinions covering more than 3.1 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions.

*Source: Google Analytics, worldwide data, July 2013

Cruise Critic and The Independent Traveler are either trademarks or registered trademarks of The Independent Traveler, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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