FINALLY! Overdue Changes in Place for Cruise Liners

A rock-climbing wall, a 765-foot long water coaster, an exhilarating zip line, and live performances — No we’re not listing random things you can find at an amusement park, we’re mentioning some of the crazy, over-the-top amenities that are now the norm for cruise lines.

For years, cruises have been one-upping each other by bringing bigger and better things to their vessels in an attempt to give their guests the best on-board experience possible. But with the focus centered on the next big thing, other aspects of a traveler’s cruise experience have gone unnoticed…or ignored. At least until now.

After years of listening to customers air their grievances and complaints, cruise lines are finally stepping it up and making the changes we’ve all been waiting for.

The Daily Traveler compiled a list of game changers that are starting to gain steam in the cruising industry. Here are our favorite three.

Switching up fee policies

We’ve all either experienced or heard others talk about the “all inclusive” trap. You think you’re covered for everything, but by the end of the trip you realize that extra beverage or special service you went for added up to tons of extra money.

Understanding that customers aren’t happy about these nickel and diming practices, cruise lines are now offering packages that allow you to bundle in those extra-fee items up front, and often give you an added discount. So you aren’t surprised by those fees when you look at your bank statement, and you can tailor your experience based on your preferences.

Better excursions

Getting out and experiencing the world through shore excursions is one of the best parts of a cruise vacation. However, with limited time and space it can be hard to get the most out of many of today’s group tours.

But cruises such as Oceania and Crystal are upping their appeal by adding some real zeal to their tour options. With activities such as winery visits or private tours through Italy’s Lamborghini museum, travelers can move past the ho-hum, one-size-fits-all experiences. Some liners are even adding overnight stays on their itineraries so you can sample the local night life and not worry about running out of time to return to your ship.

Higher safety measures

After the Costa Concordia tragically capsized and killed 32 passengers last year, liners have really turned their efforts to preventing similar disasters in the future and making sure they have better safety procedures in place. These include securing heavy objects, having additional life jackets available on deck, and syncing nine different cruise industries along the same set of policies.