In the wake of tremendous competition among various cruise lines, each has been offering several special offers. Special offers may be discounts on packaged vacation cruises, or the customization of cruises according to passengers' wishes. The cruise lines advertise and provide various novel features to attract more cruisers to their ships.
The biggest cruise special is, of course, the discount offered on the package. For bulk or off-season bookings, cruise lines may provide as much as 25 to 50% off their regular rates. The same applies for rerouting cruises, ie, when the ships are returning to warmer southern seas. Discount schemes are also provided to cruisers for forthcoming tours, which can be availed of either theirselves or their families and friends.
Certain cruise lines, like the Princess, allow passengers to make their own itineraries. These are then incorporated with the cruise lines' planned itineraries to the maximum possible extant. Cruisers can select which ports they would like to halt at, which hotels to lodge in and how many days to spend exploring the glacier and whale watching, etc. Besides this, they may also have the chance to select their choice of music and food on board. Customized cruises are the current trend, though they are more expensive than other cruises.
Oceania Cruise Line provides a unique feature. They organize a lecture series onboard the ships called 'Your World'. Passengers are invited to attend these lectures and deliberate on issues. Beside this, there are several shops which sell artifacts and trinkets on board, which can be taken home as souvenirs of the cruise. While Oceania focuses on intelligent activities, Royal Caribbean caters to the more adventurous palate, by providing helicopter flying and snorkeling activities.
Almost all cruise lines have a variety of entertainment options on their ships. Features like shopping malls, swimming pools, water spas and saunas, have today become mandatory on cruise ships. There are also Las Vegas-style casinos and cyber cafés for people to remain connected with family, friends and the rest of the world. Some cruise lines also have Broadway theaters and movie halls to enthrall the audience.
Today, by virtue of all the specials offered on cruises, they are no longer considered just another activity. Cruising today is considered to be a blend of adventurous and cerebral activities.