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This Year's Sea Situation 
by Christina Caldwell

July 11, 2011


Taking a cruise in 2011 is far different than taking the stereotypical "cruise" a few decades ago. Rather than gorging on food and sitting around, cruises are more active than ever, offering an array of activities to suit everyone from grandpa to the family adventurer. Here are a few of 2011's most exciting cruise trends.

Technology hits the sea
Just a few years ago, flat-screen televisions appeared in cruise suites to much celebration. Today, on-demand entertainment, internet access and cell phone access are widely available on most cruise lines. You'll never have to be disconnected from the world of email, Facebook, Twitter or television. That is, unless you want to be.


The flee to Europe and the Caribbean
According to Cruise Holidays, a leading cruise evaluation website, Europe and the Caribbean are expected to surpass Alaska in cruise appeal. Partly due to their overall value, Spain's Barecelona and Italy's Rome were some of the most popular cruise cities. Alaska is still high up on the charts, though, placing third behind Europe and the Caribbean in Cruise Holidays' popularity statistics.


A shift in what's important
When it comes to cruises, you'd think the destination and price would be two of the largest factors in deciding on which line to take for your next sea vacation. Those factors are still important, but the rising star in cruise appeal is onboard credits, followed by free air travel, two-for-one pricing and early booking discounts.


Early booking deals means you should book early
Early booking is not only easy on your wallet, it will also save time and stress down the road. Booking a cruise a month before departure just isn't cutting it anymore. According to Cruise Holidays, the percentage of people who booked their cruise six months prior to sailing the seas skyrocketed to 48.5 percent. Book early and avoid the summer or winter escape rush.


New onboard appeal
The massive size of Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas (along with its equally massive endless entertainment) ranked high on the Cruise Holidays' survey, partly thanks to its seven "neighborhoods" that provide distinct, different atmospheres. It's a new kind of entertainment that hasn't been seen on cruise ships before.


A shift to more private quarters
Cruises have typically focused on creating a community feel, but Cruise Holidays said a shift to a more private getaway is desireable to cruisers. After all, aren't you trying to get away from it all? 2011 cruises will offer more privacy for guests with larger, expansive bedrooms and a less crowded feel.