WASHINGTON, DC (January 8, 2024) – Spending time at sea looks different for every cruiser, and this year’s trends prove travelers are tailoring their cruising experiences to meet their unique wants and needs. AAA Travel says smaller ships, solo trips, and splurge-worthy suites are some of the biggest trends for 2024.
“Cookie-cutter trips are a thing of the past. Nowadays, travelers are looking for one-of-a-kind experiences, and the cruising industry offers that in spades!” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “We’re seeing a boom in expedition cruises, a rise in solo cruise passengers, and an increase in sold-out balcony cabins and suites. All of that tells us travelers are willing to be adventurous and spend more to have an unforgettable cruise vacation.”
AAA Travel has also noticed another trend: more travelers are booking cruises earlier and earlier, in some cases more than a year in advance. “Savvy travelers are wasting no time getting their cruise vacations on the books to ensure they get the itineraries, cabins, and shore excursions they want,” Twidale added. She says because inventory is more limited, working with a trusted travel agent becomes more important. “Travel advisors help you navigate the waters and get more bang for your buck. For example, AAA members get exclusive benefits in addition to discounts that may already be offered by cruise companies. Travel agents can find you deals and ensure you’re booking the right cruise for you.”
Expedition cruises are growing in popularity with more travelers looking to get up-close and personal with nature. Top destinations include the Arctic Circle, Antarctica, the Galápagos, and the Northwest Passage.
- First-Timer? Try HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions) to the Galápagos Islands. The MS Santa Cruz II offers some of the best island coverage and wildlife viewing opportunities in the Galápagos. With multiple naturalist guides aboard the Santa Cruz II, you can choose from a wide range of activities including hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, and touring on a glass-bottom boat.
- Regular Cruiser? Try Seabourn to the Northwest Passage. Join the Seabourn Venture for a 23-day journey sailing from Greenland to Nome, Alaska through the Canadian Arctic. Along the way, the 24-person expedition team will deliver immersive experiences by land and sea. When you’ve had your fill of adventure, indulge in the luxurious amenities of the all-inclusive ship with complimentary spirits, wine, and caviar.
More travelers are booking cruise vacations just for themselves! According to CLIA’s State of the Cruise Industry Report 2023, cruise lines are taking notice and increasing the number of single cabins in new ships and retrofitting some of their existing ships to better accommodate solo passengers.
- First-Timer? Try Celebrity Cruises to the Caribbean. On the Celebrity Ascent, you can find the Edge Single Infinite Veranda stateroom designed exclusively for singles. These cabins take your room right to the water’s edge, giving you open air access to the sea with the touch of a button.
- Regular Cruiser? Try AmaWaterways to Europe. European river cruises are growing in popularity, and for solo travelers, they offer an intimate atmosphere conducive to meeting other passengers. Pro tip: AmaWaterways often has sales that waive the single supplement fee.
Higher-priced cabins are selling out fast! AAA Travel has seen a spike in early bookings of balcony cabins and luxury suites. These prime categories are selling out faster than before, so travelers looking to splurge on their next cruise vacation should book well in advance.
- First-Timer? Try Royal Caribbean to the Bahamas. On Utopia of the Seas, families can book the Ultimate Family Suite. A two-story, three-bedroom suite that sleeps up to 10 guests. The suite has a cinema, karaoke station, private whirlpool on the balcony, and a slide to go from the second floor to the first!
- Regular Cruiser? Try Regent Seven Seas Cruises in the Mediterranean. The Regent Suite on the new Seven Seas Grandeur is the largest suite at sea at almost 4,500 square feet. This two-bedroom, two-bath suite has its own spa with sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi, plus two wrap-around balconies, a six-seat dining room, and a baby grand piano!
Browse more cruises and find travel inspiration on Trip Canvas, AAA’s free travel-planning tool.
Started in 1902 by automotive enthusiasts who wanted to chart a path for better roads in America and advocate for safe mobility, AAA has transformed into one of North America’s largest membership organizations. Today, AAA provides roadside assistance, travel, discounts, financial and insurance services to enhance the life journey of 64 million members across North America, including 57 million in the United States. To learn more about all AAA has to offer or to become a member, visit AAA.com.