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Why More Groups Are Choosing to Cruise

Why More Groups Are Choosing to Cruise

Amenities and experiences make cruising an increasingly popular option for groups of all kinds.

We've all heard the old stereotypes of cruising, where non-cruise people (or those who haven't boarded a ship in a long time) assume the experience eventually grows stale, the food is meh and the crowds are overwhelming.

Those days of misconception are long gone.

After being invited onboard the Celebrity Ascent, the fourth and newest ship in the brand's award-winning Edge Series for its pre-inaugural cruise in late 2023, I was able to get a first-hand glimpse at some of the amenities and experiences that groups could enjoy. It wasn't hard to see what's making cruising an increasingly popular option for groups of all kinds. Let's take a look at a few of those reasons they're gravitating in this direction.

All around the world, cruises allow groups to see an incredible number of destinations and enjoy immersive activities—all while still technically on one trip. So rather than seeing only one or two cities relatively close together by traveling only on land, cruising is appealing for its ability to cover lots of distance in the same amount of time as some other trips that potentially offer less (for about the same amount of money, in many cases).

Cruising is also appealing to groups who don't like to worry about the logistics of getting from point A, to point B, to point C and back again. Which is understandable, as it's hard to turn down relaxing in a rooftop garden and by the pool on a stunning resort deck while making your way to the next unforgettable destination on your itinerary.

Groups are looking for trips that are relaxing, memorable, luxurious and offer excitement, and cruises certainly can deliver in that area. The Retreat—Ascent's exclusive resort-within-a-resort area for suite guests—especially stood out as an exceptional offering. From a private restaurant, exclusive lounge and sundeck—and even your own Retreat Butler and concierge team who can help maximize your time onboard—groups are able to feel pampered and like celebrities while onboard.

Groups also know that cruise ship staterooms have come a long way and no longer feel like a can of sardines they've been widely believed to be. These wider and well-furnished rooms truly allow for actual restorative down time in between their adventures (the fuzzy robes and slippers help, too).

Accessibility is an important area of focus that travelers are increasingly expecting cruise lines to prioritize—and several are answering the call. Celebrity specifically offers things like boarding assistance, accessible staterooms, carefully crafted accessible shore excursions, autism-friendly considerations and more, in addition to welcoming service dogs on all ships. Knowing cruise lines like Celebrity are taking this initiative and have dedicated teams to address these needs allows travelers of all kinds and abilities to feel seen and cared for, and that they too can have an experience of a lifetime.

Modern cruise ships have proved that activities really are curated with everyone in mind, so no matter who is in your group, there's no chance of running out of things to do while on board. And the beauty of it? Not everyone has to do the same thing at the same time—or at all!

On Ascent in particular, groups will find forward-thinking designs by the world's leading architects and interior designers, like the rooftop Sunset Bar; culinary excellence from Michelin-starred chefs at restaurants like Luminae and Blu; top-notch shows like Awaken; wellness woven throughout the entire cruise experience; and more.

So don't sleep on the potential of adding cruising to your offerings. They're pretty spectacular, as many groups have come to also recognize.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.

This article originally appeared in the Mar/Apr '24 issue of Groups Today.

 Photo Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises. 


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