DJs, rock climbing and zip lines are changing the face of cruising

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Adventure, music and fun shows attracting younger cruisers. Image: James Morgan

It wasn’t that long ago when a twenty-something would describe cruising as ‘lame’, ‘boring’ and ‘only for retired people’.

But now it seems the industry has a ‘cool’ new reputation amongst younger travellers.

According to a study conducted by UK travel industry body, ABTA, one in five under 25s said they are considering a cruise vacation in 2014. That’s nearly three times the number that cruised in 2013.

Not surprisingly, the top destinations for younger cruisers are Europe’s popular party destinations, including Magaluf, Ibiza and Marbella.

ABTA says the changing attitude amongst youngeons is due to the more adventurous activities being introduced on board. Younger travellers now see cruise ships as “floating theme parks, perfect for party animals”.

Over the past two decades, cruise lines have made an effort to ditch ‘stuffy’ black tie dinners in favour of adventurous on board activities and all-night parties.

Royal Caribbean lead the ‘youth cruising’ movement when the line launched Voyager of the Seas. In addition to being the world’s largest in 1999, it was also the first ship to have a rock-climbing wall and ice-skating rink.

Cruise lines have since followed suit, amping up their on board entertainment. Late last year P&O Cruises introduced 20 new on board activities on the Pacific Jewel, including a flying fox, bungee tramp and laser tag.

The industry is also making an effort to connect to younger travellers on a musical level. Instead of cabaret performance, they’re putting on musicals and even circus shows.

Carnival was among the first to amp up its music appeal, when it unveiled its Carnival Funship 2.0 package.

In addition to new rides and eateries, the company revealed Miami songmaster, DJ Erie was named official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Late last year, Carnival also held a three-night roundtrip sailing on board Carnival Inspiration with Matchbox Twenty. The group held live performances on the ship as well as invited fans to a special question and answer session.

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