What’s new in 2016? A whole host of new ships, each with its own new amenities and features. Here, the top trends we’re seeing — many of which include new and interesting ways of improving technology at sea:
1. Wi-Fi is faster and cheaper.
New and overhauled Wi-Fi systems on many mainstream ships are boosting speeds and offering better Internet connectivity at sea. Royal Caribbean started this trend in 2014 and now Carnival is rolling out 10-times-faster service on all ships by the end of 2016. Up next: Norwegian Cruise Line is testing a new, faster modem on its Breakaway-class ships.
2. Interactive screens take center stage.
For several years, touch screens have served as information hubs, offering ship maps, daily activities, and eatery hours. These are becoming more prevalent. Last month, Norwegian Cruise Line launched Norwegian Escape with Food Republic, where all orders are placed by customers using iPads. If it’s successful, we expect more to follow.
3. More apps come online.
Now, you can keep in touch with family and friends while onboard without roaming fees. Cruisers can use Carnival Hub to message fellow passengers for a mere $5 per sailing, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s iConcierge app offers similar features.
4. Theater uses technology.
Anthem of the Seas’ “Starwater” and Disney Magic’s “Tangled: the Musical” are using revolutionary technology to wow passengers by integrating special digital effects on projection screens.
5. Top tier lines get more luxe.
Seabourn’s Encore and Regent Seven Seas’ Explorer launch in 2016, bidding to offer the most opulent cruise experience. The ships will boast even bigger staterooms, greater space-to-passenger ratios, and high-end design.
6. You’ll dine under the stars more.
Norwegian Escape has a whopping six outdoor dining venues. In 2016 Carnival Vista will add the new Seafood Shack to its current terrace offerings. And Regent Seven Seas Explorer will offer Sette Mari at La Veranda.
7. Education will become a priority.
Princess Cruises is collaborating with the Discovery Channel, and Holland America Line is working with BBC Earth to offer both in-cabin documentaries and onboard lectures.