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Before you know it 2017 will be upon us, and there is already plenty to be excited for in the new year for cruise travel. However, there are still those things that we would like to see more or less of, and below is our annual wish list that follows.
Less Charging for Internet Access
It's all fine and good that cruise lines love to make a fuss about faster internet speeds onboard their ships, but the real announcement that would impress is offering said speeds for free. After all, it already really should be.
We've said it before that we understand the infrastructure for such access is expensive, but Wi-Fi these days is as essential as water. Selling it often seems greedy, so it would be nice to see less in the way of charges and more in the way of complimentary service. At least a number of upscale and luxury lines are following suit to various degrees.
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Longer and More Overnight Stays
Azamara Club Cruises pioneered what now seems like an obvious concept in hindsight, longer stays and more overnights in port. If there is one main complaint about cruising it's that it often does not allow enough time for guests to fully experience a destination before leaving for the next. Thankfully, additional cruise lines are being more mindful of this and planning itineraries accordingly. Now it would be nice to see it occur even more.
Of course, seven days is still the sailing duration sweet spot and staying longer in one spot only cuts into the time at another, but better balances are being discovered. There are even several weeklong cruises to the Caribbean next year that feature an overnight in Havana, Cuba to consider.
More Smaller Ships
There really is a cruise line and ship to match every personality and with it an ideal size of vessel too. While plenty of people are suited to the largest cruise ship in the world, there are those, perhaps more accustomed to intimate riverboats, that prefer smaller ocean ships just the same.
[READMORE]READ MORE: Attention, Cruise Lines: Here's How to Make Internet Access Better[/READMORE]
We have Viking Ocean Cruises to thank for trending in the opposite direction from Royal Caribbean International with its ships that carry hundreds of passengers as opposed to thousands. As destinations like Cuba open up to smaller cruise ships only, it makes sense that others too may go smaller than bigger with their future fleets.
Newer Ships on the West Coast
For years, eastern United States homeports have gotten most of the love as new cruise ships eventually descend on the Caribbean after being constructed in Europe. Usually West Coast homeports only get fleet hand-me-downs from there. However, the enlarged Panama Canal and increased popularity in Alaska may finally change that.
Facilitated by the bigger canal locks, Norwegian Cruise Line's upcoming new Norwegian Bliss will head there in summer 2018, but it has yet to be announced where it will deploy in the winter months. There is a possibility it may head back to the Caribbean, but it would sure be nice to see it homeport regularly from California, especially San Diego which could use the increased traffic over Long Beach and San Pedro. And hopefully, should it go that route, the ship will only be the first of many.
Jason Leppert - Senior Writer, Cruises and Cruise Travel - is a San Diego-based cruising expert with more than 100 sailings...
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