What to expect from cruising in 2025

Mohamed Saeed

Peering into the future, I envision an increased deployment in the Middle East, particularly in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, and now Saudi Arabia. The region is becoming increasingly popular as a cruise destination due to its luxury tourism offerings, intriguing cultural heritage and modern marvels. We can expect to see more cruises being deployed in the region, with extended seasons to take advantage of the mild winter climates favourable for cruising.

The cruise industry is moving towards more sustainable practices, which will likely intensify by 2025. This includes the introduction of more eco-friendly ships that utilize alternative fuels such as LNG (liquefied natural gas) and advancements in onboard waste management systems. Ports in the Middle East might also adopt more sustainable practices to accommodate eco-conscious travellers and regulations.


Ports in the Middle East might adopt more sustainable practices to accommodate eco-conscious travellers and regulations


By 2025, cruise ships will likely boast even more advanced technology for improving the passenger experience. This could include enhancements in virtual reality offerings to preview excursions, further digitalization for onboard services and experiences, and even more sophisticated health and safety technologies, particularly in response to lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trend toward personalized travel experiences will continue, with cruises offering more tailored options for activities, dining, and excursions. This personalization may also extend to more private and semi-private options for accommodations and experiences, catering to a demand for exclusivity and social distancing.

The Middle East cruise market may expand its destinations and itineraries, including less frequented ports and countries, as a way to attract repeat travellers and those looking for new experiences. The historical and cultural richness of the region provides ample opportunity for unique itineraries.

There’s a growing trend towards more sustainable tourism that benefits local communities. Cruise lines may offer more excursions and activities designed in partnership with local stakeholders, ensuring that tourism has a positive impact on local economies and cultures.  Similar to what Royal Caribbean International is doing with the Bahamian government at Cococay Island!

As the global demographic changes, the cruise industry might see the emergence of new market segments. For example, younger travellers and families may become more prominent, leading to innovative offerings that cater to these groups. Further adventure offerings onboard ships like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line will lead the market.

 While the future is inherently uncertain, these trends suggest the cruise industry, particularly in the Middle East, will continue to evolve and adapt in response to the changing world. The industry’s ability to innovate and address challenges such as sustainability and health concerns will likely define its trajectory in the coming years.

* The writer is Managing Director, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara & Silversea Cruises – Middle East