If you’ve been on a voyage with MSC Cruises in the past 18-24 months, you may have noticed increasingly youthful-looking guests.
That isn’t down to clever make-up or some miracle age-reversing cream; it’s because the average age of cruise passengers overall has dropped to its lowest point in two decades.
Additionally, the number of UK holidaymakers choosing a cruise for their annual getaway in 2016 hit a record high of 1.7 million.
Big numbers and mammoth statements, but how and why are younger people booking on to cruises these days?
One holiday - several countries
A drawback of hopping onto a plane to some balmy European resort is that once you’ve set up in your hotel or apartment, you’re pretty much stuck in that country. Sure, there’s always the option of driving out to neighbouring resorts in a hire car, but in the bulk of cases, you’re only experiencing one region, which isn’t always ideal for young, adventurous souls.
However, because a cruise will stop off in many different port cities, can significantly boost how many countries and cultures they encounter during their time away.
One day can be spent tasting tapas in Barcelona, the next can be wasted away applying pizza to the palate in Naples. Similarly, you can gawp in amazement at Santuário de Cristo Rei in Lisbon one afternoon and Venice’s Basilica di San Marco the next.
If food or art and architecture aren’t your thing, the idea of lazing on a gorgeous beach in a different country every other day has universal appeal.
Your time in port destinations can be spent checking out the sights and absorbing the local culture but with plenty of time to play with, many young cruise guests use this time on dry land as an opportunity to embark on one of the many excursions laid on by MSC Cruises.
For example in Italy, you could explore the city of Genoa by Segway with a tour guide who will lead you to the main sights.
Over in Portugal, guests can take in the oldest parts of Lisbon by navigating the narrow alleys of the atmospheric Alfama district, followed by pastry tasting. Alternatively, football fans could take in a tour of the 64,642-seater Estádio da Luz, the home ground of S.L. Benfica football club, with a behind-the-scenes look into the changing rooms and VIP areas.
Those heading further afield to the Caribbean will have the chance to book onto an excursion kayaking in the Caroni Wetland on Trinidad’s north-west coast, or a jeep adventure, which will whisk young thrillseekers up to spots only accessible by four-wheel vehicles to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view.
Elsewhere in the Caribbean, you could go snorkeling in a vibrant coral reef, followed by a grilled lobster lunch with champagne. If the mention of alcohol has peaked your attention then, maybe a visit to the famous St. James Rum Distillery & Museum will tick your box. With such unique and varied experiences available, it’s no wonder why cruises continue to pull in a younger crowd.
Nothing beats getting a mouthful of delicious Mediterranean cuisine in the very place it was originally conceived. However, the vast and varied culinary options available with MSC Cruises means you needn’t set foot off the ship in the first place.
Each of our 16 vessels is equipped with restaurants and eateries to cater for every occasion. Casual diners can get their fill at the 20-hour a day buffet, which compliments the emerging trend for flexible menu times and the youth’s ‘anything, anytime’ culture.
Meanwhile, more formal dining is available with signature dishes inspired by MSC Cruises’ Mediterranean heritage.
MSC Cruises proudly claims to offer the best pizza at sea, with only the finest ingredients used thanks in part to its partnership with famed Italian restaurant Eataly.
Because all guests with MSC Cruises are special, an extended effort is made to meet all dietary requirements, be it vegetarian and gluten-free or, given suitable notice, kosher and halal.
...and wonderful drinks to wash it all down
With fantastic food must come delectable drinks and MSC Cruises has those by the gallon. Guests can choose from a fantastic array of great-value all-inclusive drinks packages
that are sure to quench any thirst and wash away any worries of running up a gulp-inducing bar bill.
Each ship differs in how many and what kind of bars it has on board, but regardless of which you cruise with, you’ll be able to enjoy an extensive choice of exquisite wines, fine beers, classic and inventive new cocktails at the Alchemist Bar - a guaranteed hit with younger cruise guests - as well as nutritious fruit smoothies and gourmet coffee.
One of the more appealing aspects of heading out on a cruise amongst younger holidaymakers is the heightened level of luxury compared to that available on a regular dry-land resort break.
The friendly and professional service afforded by MSC Cruises’ staff is an obvious draw, from the round-the-clock room service to the exclusive haven enjoyed with the MSC Yacht Club.
This exclusive area means guests can spend their time at sea dwelling in luxurious suites or by a private swimming pool, enjoying all-inclusive food and drink, as well as 24-hour butler service and exclusive access to The One Sun Deck and Top Sail Lounge.
As the name suggests, the whole experience is akin to that of being on your own private yacht, but guests still have the option of taking advantage of a full cruise ship - the best of both worlds really.
Long gone are the days of corny cruise acts; these days, you’re more likely to walk into exclusive shows from the world-renowned Cirque de Soleil At Sea than the skirt-tearing antics of Bucks Fizz.
Around 80 original productions are performed in Broadway-sized theatres across MSC Cruises’ fleet and every cruise puts on at least six different shows, even on week-long voyages.
If the theatre isn’t your thing, you’ll find live music to suit every mood throughout the ship, including classical pianists, swing bands, Latin American bands, country and western music, dance orchestras, even German Schlager music.
Failing that, the eclectic mix of parties are sure to keep you entertained and the laughter flowing.
Find your fit
Research suggests that younger generations would rather go to a spinning class than go clubbing and just because you’re on a ship hundreds of miles from dry land, it doesn’t mean you can’t maintain an active lifestyle and keep trim.
That’s because many of MSC Cruises’ ships are kitted out with sports and spa facilities and state-of-the-art gymnasiums, provided by Technogym.
Want to go for a run? Hop on the treadmill and enjoy a jawdropping panoramic view while you rack up the miles. Alternatively, hit the jogging track.
Need something more competitive? Football, tennis, squash, volleyball and basketball are all possible on board.
That’s not all; there’s also a packed schedule of aerobics, pilates, step training and spinning, as well as tailored fitness programmes. A qualified personal trainer can even work out the perfect workout and diet for you.