The stereotype that cruising is all about excess and overindulgence is soon to become a thing of the past
New cruise line Blue World Voyages will launch in 2021 as the world’s first cruise line fully dedicated to active, athletic and healthy lifestyles, bringing ‘active lifestyle cruising’ to the global market.
The 525-guest sports and wellness-centered ship responds to rocketing demand by travellers for active holidays, with wellness tourism growing by 6.5 per cent annually – more than double the growth rate of general tourism – and a global wellness industry valued at $4.2 trillion.
“Blue World Voyages was created for health-conscious individuals, sports and fitness enthusiasts, and those in search of personal improvement,” said Gene Meehan, chairman and founder, Blue World Voyages. “Our focus on active lifestyle cruising is not an option or an add-on; it forms the core of our overall cruise travel experience, deeply embedded in every aspect of the product, from ship design and onboard programs to dining options and itineraries.”
The inaugural ship will be the first to dedicate one entire deck to sports, exercise and wellness, outfitted with golf and soccer simulators, batting cages, a functional training center, yoga, spinning and TRX studios. A second full deck will be dedicated to spa and rejuvenation – the largest per-guest spa at sea – and feature a relaxing therapy tub, indoor and outdoor treatment rooms and solarium. There will also be three pools, including, when docked, a seawater lap pool that will be lowered directly into the ocean adjacent to the vessel for guests to swim in the sea.
Meehan, a sports industry veteran and avid cruiser who has sailed on over 60 vessels, told Luxury Travel that Blue World Voyages combines two of today’s hottest vacation trends: cruising and wellness travel, and there has, until now, been a gaping hole in the cruising market. “There are 40 million people in just the US alone who are considered ‘conscious consumers’ [plus] another 50 million-plus in Europe and more in Australia, Canada and South America. This market is not currently well served by today’s cruise industry,” he said.
While plenty of luxury cruise lines now offer active shore excursions as well as healthy on-board food and top-notch spas and gyms, Meehan explained that Blue World Voyages caters specifically to likeminded people who are are fitness- and health-conscious, as well as those looking to improve their fitness and health. “You will not find this synergy on any other cruise ship. There is a very strong, almost tribal mentality amongst those who opt to live healthy lives. It becomes a common denominator that leads to a very friendly and supportive environment. This will set us apart from other cruise offerings,” he explained.
With just 40 luxury accommodations, Meehan added that the extent of the health and fitness offering on the ship is utterly unique for a vessel of its size. “The larger the ship, the larger the fitness and spa facilities. However these amenities are shared by thousands of passengers with very little specific programming either on-board or on-shore, as sports and wellness are not primary concerns. Plus, the sheer number of passengers prohibits quality personal services in this field.
“On smaller – typically 5-star – ships you will always find smaller fitness/spa facilities. Here again, sports/wellness is not [their] primary concern, and if it were, the ships facilities are now too small to provide any meaningful programming.
“We stand alone in offering a ship that is specifically designed to provide a 5-star ‘casual’ sports and wellness experience at sea, and we will have the amenities, programs and staff both on-board and on-shore to ensure a great product.”
Locally-sourced farm-to-table cuisine will be on offer day-in, day-out, while the intimate size of the ship means guests will be able to access the ports that larger cruises cannot, allowing them to explore unspoiled reefs, hidden waterfalls, and secluded hiking and biking trails. Active shore excursions including snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, kayaking, golfing, biking, running and more will be on offer on-land.
Blue World Voyages will also introduce a unique ship configuration when it floats out in 2021, with the 40 luxury one- and two-bedroom residences available to be purchased. “We want our ship to be unique in every way. Why should a cruise ship just have passengers on-board when there is a growing market of folks who want to live at sea. Think of us as a private yacht without the upkeep, plus a healthy one at that!” Meehan stated. “One of the things that I have learned by being in the sports and fitness business for all of my life is this…the more money people have, the longer they want to be around to spend it!”
The inaugural season of Blue World Voyages will commence with a tour of the Mediterranean, calling on destinations such as Italy, Greece, Spain, France, Portugal, Corsica and Croatia.
For a virtual tour of the ship, visit blueworldvoyages.com/tour.