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2007 cruise industry trends and predictions

It’s the first week of January, and time to dust off the old crystal ball. Journalists, bloggers, and anyone with Internet access are announcing their guesses for what 2007 will hold. Here’s a roundup of what some cruise experts are predicting for the coming year in cruise.

Carolyn Spencer Brown and Melissa Baldwin of CruiseCritic teamed up to discuss the hot trends for 2007. They say to watch for the rebirth of midsize cruise ships, onboard class distinctions a la the Queen Mary 2 (hopefully not a la the Titanic), new brand identities for the luxury lines, newer and better terminals, and bigger ships sailing to more exotic locations. They pick Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Greek Isles as up-and-coming destinations.

Johanna Jainchill, cruise editor at Travel Weekly (free subscription required) predicts that innovative refurbishments will replace innovative new-builds in the coming year. She expects cruise lines to market heavily to the luxury traveler and pursue full-ship charters. If the Caribbean market continues to be soft, Jainchill says to look for unusual deployments, new or strengthened homeports, and more business abroad.

Finally, the folks at the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) say the industry is set to have a record-breaking year. They see an increased focus in onboard enrichment programs, and a boom in the luxury cruising market. Exotic destinations, such as Asia, South America, and the South Pacific, will be hot, as will Europe and less-trafficked Caribbean islands.

Clearly, everyone is agreeing that luxury and exotic cruises will be on the rise this year. If you’d love to jump on this trend, but fear you haven’t got the cash flow, make a New Year’s resolution to read’s [% 62073 | | Cruise section %] for the best deals on cruises, as well as money-saving advice. Prefer to buck the trends and book cheap cruises in the Caribbean? We’ll be covering those as well. Have a happy and cruisey new year, and may the crystal ball predict low fares on sea vacations all year long.

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