Many of the lines are pushing immersive itineraries in a big way. What does that look like?
Grand Circle Cruise Line, which pioneered the homehosted lunch, encourages its program directors to go off-script and talk about what’s going on in the culture and the country, no matter how controversial. The idea is to give passengers real insight into a people and a place.
At Crystal, immersive experiences include cooking lessons in the houses of locals, chats with artists, and dining at restaurants you won’t find in travel guides.
Crystal’s curated destination program, new this year, allows travelers to focus on five types of experiences: gastronomy, cultural landmarks, active programming, concierge-designed private tours and personal connections with locals, like a visit to a family’s home in a small village in Slovakia to learn firsthand about the country’s culture and cuisine.
“It’s about experiencing a destination rather than observing it,” says Walter Littlejohn, vice president and managing director of Crystal River Cruises. “Your vacation becomes more authentic.