When you hear “access all areas”, you might think of backstage passes to a music gig, a meet-and-greet with a well-known celebrity or exclusive admission to a new attraction – which are all experiences that have not historically been associated with the cruise industry.
But, thanks to the burgeoning customer demand for new holidays afloat and the threat of overtourism hanging over the heads of popular ports, cruise lines have had to expand their horizons into unknown territories.
This means more and more companies are signing deals for exclusive partnerships, whether that’s pairing up with Strictly Come Dancing to offer ballroom dancing-themed itineraries or bringing celebrity chefs and astronomy experts onboard to give guests an insider’s insight into their favourite hobbies or passions. We’ve rounded up some of the most exciting options for these special interest cruises.
However, niche opportunities aren’t limited to onboard activities or themed excursions, as cruise lines are also adding lesser-known destinations to itineraries to sate holidaymakers’ hunger for something less mainstream. Sara Macefield takes a look at the final frontiers of cruising – who is providing more access to up-and-coming destinations? And what are the trending countries and cities emerging into the cruise market?
We’ve also given cruise lines themselves the chance to explain how they’re giving their passengers access to more, so you can explore company profiles and the unusual experiences, itineraries and partnerships you can expect from cruise lines in 2019.
Special projects editor