Despite the increasing popularity of cruise as a holiday choice amongst consumers, the industry continues to suffer from misconceptions.

Discussing the future of cruise at the ABTA Travel Convention 2017, Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation, expressed that “one of our key responsibilities and those of everyone in the industry, especially travel professionals, is to help debunk those myths.”

Heading ten brands, a fleet of 103 ships (with another 18 due by 2023) and appointed chair of CLIA in January 2017, Donald was well placed to provide an insight into the industry for delegates.

Currently cruise cabins represent only 2% of all hotel rooms in the world and although the industry has seen growth this has been constrained by practicalities such as the number of ships that can be built by available ship yards. Moreover, the industry is working hard to revert the misconception that cruise is only for older generations and is determined to show consumers what cruising really is.

Donald said: “Every brand is different; we have ten cruise brands, each of which is very different from the other. Everyone fits into a particular segment at a particular time i.e. if you're sailing with your loved one the experience that you want will be different from the experience you want sailing with your grandparents or sailing with your kids. Also when you go on a cruise you opt into a community experience, sharing it with people who have common values or similar interests.”

Although multigenerational cruising is becoming increasingly popular, customisation and personalisation was noted as key driver for the future of cruise and the future of travel.

Donald concluded: “We have 120,000 dedicated employees who spend every day working on one thing; exceeding our guests’ expectations, but we couldn't do it without travel professionals. We need you because you know your client and getting your client on the right ship is critically important to us.

“Our competition is not the other cruise lines; our competition is the myths about cruising and people who have never considered a cruise. We want to equip you with what you need because you are the key to helping people be on the right ship. Once they're on the right ship they're going to have a time they'll never forget and we will exceed their expectations.”

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