The Cruise Experience of the Future


The Cruise Experience of the Future

Floating islands, indoor snow and starlight voyages: cruising into tomorrow

By Clare Emmett

PH 189Cruise ships have come a long way since the earliest days of steam-powered passenger vessels. Today’s ships boast luxurious accommodations, modern conveniences and every conceivable innovation in high-tech entertainment, from waterslides and infinity pools to 3D cinemas. Yet, the development of the cruise ship continues apace in some very surprising directions. Proposals aren’t limited only to bigger and better ships; some designers and engineers are completely re-imagining what a cruise vessel can be.

The next few years promise to be an exciting period in the development of cruise ships. Fresh new approaches to interior design will transform ship accommodation, bringing the high style of a Manhattan apartment to your stateroom. Lines vie to outdo each other with ever more lavish and spectacular entertainments for young and old alike, from Broadway-style shows to games and theme park rides. Not satisfied with this, cruise lines are investing in state-of-the-art technology that is set to transform sea travel.

Fire and Ice

In 2015, Viking will begin carrying passengers on ships with some truly unexpected features, including an outdoor fire pit. Those who prefer ice to fire will be able to enjoy a sprinkling of snow all year round — the spa’s sauna will feature a specially designed Nordic “snow grotto” where snowflakes gently flutter from the ceiling. Royal Caribbean aims to add an aerial element to their passengers’ nautical experience. On the upcoming Quantum of the Seas, cantilevered arm will lift a windowed viewing capsule 300 feet above the ocean, where they can enjoy 360-degree views all around the ship. More adventurous travelers will be able to get a taste of the skydiving experience thanks to a glass flight chamber equipped with the latest wind tunnel technology.

Old and New

Innovation isn’t limited to cruise ship facilities, however. Advances in technology are turning around the ways in which we think of the ships themselves. One of the astonishing concepts making its way from the drawing board to the ocean is a huge “mothership” capable of transporting many smaller vessels. This idea, dreamed up by Fredrik Johansson of Tillberg Design AB, would open up entirely new possibilities, allowing cruise ship passengers to experience the ocean in a range of different ways — even voyaging upriver to inland destinations. Passengers could potentially enjoy an a-la-carte cruising experience, selecting from a tantalizing menu of options.

Another promising direction for the world of ocean cruises is the Ecoliner Fair Winds, designed by Dykstra Naval Architects. This ship both looks forward into the future and draws upon the majesty of the Age of Sail…

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Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!