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Pierfrancesco Vago.jpg PHOTO: MSC CRUISES
‘We need to have a strong and clear vision for the future while combining this with timeless style,' Pierfrancesco Vago said

MSC Cruises looks into the crystal ball

One of the cruise industry’s challenges is designing and building ships that will still be relevant to travelers 30 years from now.

Ultra-high-definition experiences

That’s why fast-growing MSC Cruises — whose passenger capacity is set to triple already by 2027 — saw the need to forecast travel industry trends. The line partnered with The Future Laboratory, one of the world’s leading future consultancies, on a report that identifies the ways travel and hospitality brands will have to deliver ‘ultra-high-definition experiences' to satisfy future travelers’ needs.

According to the report, ‘Luxury will be hyper-luxurious, spas will be hyper-revitalizing, entertainment will be 5-D and beyond, and purpose-driven travel that enriches the lives and minds of guests will be the norm.’

It continued: ‘Guests of the future will prize fluidity, freedom and cultural fluency while seeking out discovery and self-improvement. Travel brands will need to respond by providing experiences that resonate with individuals across a wider range of mindsets and communicating new perspectives that help them grow and progress.’

Innovation and consumer trends are in MSC Cruises’ DNA, according to Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman. ‘We need to have a strong and clear vision for the future while combining this with timeless style. Through intelligent innovation and design, with strong commitment to sustainable travel, we will be able to facilitate all kinds of future experiences,’ he said.

Data ID wallets

Future travelers will seek a truly personalized vacation and technology will provide brands with the information needed to tailor experiences to the individual, MSC Cruises said. According to the report, data ID wallets will enable brands to create a dynamic, seamless and hyper-personalized experience. Cruise ships and resorts will become data touchpoints, assessing guest behavior to better inform the services offered. And AI assistants, such as MSC’s Zoe, and wearables will continue to play an important role.

Subconscious design

Zoe also will be key to facilitate the subconscious design trend, where responsive technologies will seamlessly alter environments to individuals’ moods and emotions. The stateroom of the future could feature bio signal sensors that track heart rates and facial expression, adjusting light and temperature for maximum comfort. Or smart materials could act like living art, changing to create a visually immersive environment aligned with a guest’s emotional state. 

Anthropo-tainment

According to the report, hyper-connectivity will also drive people to seek human connection to avoid dehumanization, and the trend of ‘anthropo-tainment’ will place people at the heart of the show in ways that are accessible to all ages, genders and nationalities.

The new Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows on MSC's Meraviglia-class ships bring these elements to center stage. They are non-language specific and some shows, like ‘Exentricks,’ invite audience participation, while all involve the imagination and emotions.

Purposeful travel

As people become more conscious of the environmental impact of their travel and seek eco-friendly vacation options, the guest experience of 2030 will place a significant focus on sustainability, social impact and civic engagement.

Vago said the fact that cruising is linked to the sea provides a big opportunity to give back to the environment. He noted MSC Cruises’ pledge to go carbon neutral across its marine operations.

Also, the report forecast the desire for purposeful travel will spark repurposed resorts where hospitality brands transform uninhabited or derelict spaces into new destinations. The example cited is Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas, developed to create a positive long-term impact on the environment and the local economy.

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