It's interesting to view trends in cruising and how the bulk of the industry is evolving in distinct directions. Our CFO, in transportation, son-in-law strongly believes the impetus motivating the cruise majors is to slowly nudge cruisers to spend less and less time in their cabins and more time spending money utilizing various amenities, regalements, allurements and other venues provided throughout the ship. Sort of like the Vegas model.
Can't say I disagree with him, as I seem to be witnessing the advent of huge ships, providing a basic low initial rate for meals and cabins while everything else is add-ons. A huge floating arcade with meals provided in an army chow hall like atmosphere, ala, a Golden Coral intermingled with exquisite extra charge eateries.
What I am curious about, is whether or not a or any specific line will depart from this stereotype and provide an unique cruise experience for those in the minority who prefer voyages more in common with yesteryears?
For instance, depending upon which demographic you look at, approximately 8% of cruisers smoke. So, out of the 23,000,000 (2013 numbers) who cruise one could expect slightly less than 2 million guests would prefer a cruise line with a lenient smoking policy. In recent years most of the majors have adopted strict no smoking policies including no smoking on balconies. However, HAL has stepped forward with comparatively more lenient rules and is filling the void.
In the case of those cruisers who prefer formal nights, going by the poll conducted on Celebrity, slightly less than 30% of guests prefer formal nights, the remainder either wants to get rid of formal or don't care. Assuming then that those, slightly less than, 7 million cruisers would prefer a line with formal attire evenings it would stand to reason that at least one of the majors would step forward by providing a cruise experience that satisfies this demand. Currently, that has not occurred. Most of the majors have either eliminated the formal dress code, diluted it considerably or are trending in that direction. Furthermore, every one of the luxury lines appears to be not far behind.
Since a number of these cruise lines are attempting to have it both ways by mealy mouthing the issue, in order to please the formal nighters as well as making those preferring casual dress all the time happy, it may take a while for all this to sort out.
Us and about 7 million others await the forthcoming of this white-knight cruise line. Who will it be? Then we jettison those who have forsaken us.