Our regular column from Andy Harmer, VP Operations & Director of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) UK & Ireland

Teppanyaki dining on board Norwegian Jewel © Norwegian Cruise Line
Teppanyaki dining on board Norwegian Jewel © Norwegian Cruise Line

What a year 2016 has been. The recent Cruise International Awards acknowledged the incredible achievements from CLIA’s cruise line members and recognised the wide choice now available to holidaymakers. The sheer breadth of categories really goes to show how far we’ve come as an industry.

At CLIA we took this a step further with the launch of Plan A Cruise Month that ran throughout October, with the aim to further inform holidaymakers of the high standards and variety of cruises available.

Through the industry’s joint efforts cruise is booming, and to prove it our latest figures show that in 2015 nearly 1.8 million Britons chose to cruise. This sets the bar high for 2017, but what’s to come? We are heralding 2017 as the year of diversity – expect new ships, new innovations and expansion in many markets.

Looking at new vessels set to join the global fleet, Norwegian Cruise Line will extend its enterprise in China with Norwegian Joy promising a vast range of restaurants, while Princess Cruises will launch Majestic Princess with innovative features such as Sing On The Sea karaoke suites. Silversea Cruises will welcome Silver Muse, while MSC Cruises prepares MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside, two ships that champion technology and architectural design. Closer to home, Cruise & Maritime Voyages will add Columbus to its fleet in summer 2017 while Thomson Cruises will welcome TUI Discovery 2. Expect further growth in the number of ships being launched on the world’s rivers, too.

With 2017 being a year of diversity, cruise lines will continue to look at how they cater for cruisers. Ship refurbishment programmes will see the addition of new dining, entertainment and activity venues, while new ports, itineraries and onshore experiences will cater to guests looking for different holiday experiences. We will see the adoption of new technology to enhance our time on holiday, plus more opportunities to personalise our cruises.

Some of these developments will focus on soft adventure, family-friendly activities and indulgence or focus on interests such as food, music or dance. Regardless, the diversity that exists in our cruising industry means that there will still be a cruise holiday that suits everyone, whatever their interests.

Whether you’re looking for a cultural holiday or relaxing break, find your perfect cruise with our Cruise Finder.