Trends in Travel, 2023: How Will You Cruise this Year?

Every year around this time, travel trend predictions for the new year start showing up in my social media feeds. News releases arrive in my email box. Podcasts are rife with discussions.

Yet here’s what I wonder: Do the new travel trends in the zeitgeist have anything to do with where  you and I will explore next year, and if so, how? It may indeed be true as I read somewhere that insider art tours are the next iteration of still hotter-than-hot culinary travels. It’s a neat idea, but unless you’re already interested in art, it’s possible it’s not an idea that matters to you.

Many of the 2023 popping up are not new, perhaps reflecting that we’re still unraveling the pandemically halted travel we grew used to. They are still captivating, however, and I can see how they might inspire new reflections on trips to come. Here are our favorite not-necessarily-new-trends-but-good-reasons-to-travel.

In-demand destinations

Street view, Singapore. Photo via Shutterstock

The trend: We are hearing that demand for travel to regions that have largely been closed to travelers is off the charts. Indeed, according to travel booking aggregator Kayak, which used search terms to determine demand for travel, six of the top 10 were in Asia (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Taipei, Taiwan; Singapore; Hong Kong; Bangkok; and Tokyo). The four others: Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney and Melbourne, Australia; and Tel Aviv, Israel.

Our advice: If you are yearning to visit New Zealand, Australia, and Asia and the South Pacific, in particular, you will want to plan ahead. Also, although cruises still represent great value-for-money, airfare and hotels rates are not only pricier than pre-pandemic but also more in demand so book early for pre- and post-cruise stays.

Zero-proof cocktails and the sober-curious movement

Monday’s non-alcoholic spirits are a labor of love — a way of helping alcohol-avoiders enjoy a proper adult beverage today without worrying about how you’ll feel tomorrow.

The trend: In our article How to Serve Travelers who Don’t Drink Alcohol, which debuted on Discover in spring 2022, writer Peter Jon Lindberg told us the n/a (non-alcoholic) movement was gaining steam. “This is especially true among younger adults, who are less inclined to booze than earlier generations,” he noted. “A 2019 NielsenIQ survey found 66 percent of millennials were actively reducing their alcohol consumption. Two years later, in 2021 – even as drinking spiked in the pandemic for many – another NielsenIQ poll found 22 percent of any age were trying to cut back on the booze.”

What’s also changing is that boutique-style distilleries, wineries and beermakers are using fresh, organic ingredients to create spirits, wines and beers that are non-alcoholic  — and utterly delicious.

Our advice: Try it! Onboard, Silversea mixologists and sommeliers have stocked up on the best brands of gin, rum, bourbon, vermouth and even absinthe. Also check out our nifty guide to stocking your bar at home.

Blue mind travel

The trend: On the face of it, this trend, is most definitely not new to us; indeed, a piece written for Discover on green mind and blue mind travel debuted in April (check it out for more information). So this trend proclamation feels a bit obvious in the what’s-old-is-new-again category of thought. especially if you like to cruise, lie on a beach, or sail or kayak. Still, we can get behind what Blue Mind, a digital newsletter put out by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan  and Blue Care Network, is trying to express: We associate water with peace, and the combination is a boon for health and mental wellness.

Our advice: Obviously, we’re all up for heading out to sea, anytime. The ultimate “blue mind” voyage is a world cruise or grand voyage, where you’re cruising for months at a time, there are plenty of sea days, and you wind up visiting some of the planet’s most offbeat (as well as marquee) ports of call.

If a longer cruise isn’t in your future, choose an itinerary with extraordinary vistas from the ship. My favorites are the Panama Canal (you spend a day in Gatún Lake, one of the most harmonious, uninhabited bodies of water anywhere), the Caribbean’s British Virgin Islands, and, always, the Mediterranean. Getting out on the water is another guarantee of “blue mind” experiences; this year’s highlight for many of our readers? Kayaking in the Arctic and Antarctica and snorkeling in the Galápagos or around Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Take a “hush” trip

If you’re working remotely, “hush” trips let you change your home office. Photo by Imagery for Silversea

The trend: If you work remotely, “hush trips,” in which you steal off for a change of scene, offer a temporary reprieve from the routine of working from home – and no one at the office needs to know.

Our advice: The first criterion for a stress-free hush trip is to make sure you have the best possible Wi-Fi. This year, both for cruise trips around Iceland and French Polynesia, we rented portable modems from kiosks in the airports there (Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport and Tahiti’s Faa’a International Airport, respectively). These were a boon, particularly because our land-centric itineraries didn’t have many sea days. (The modems work off the country’s existing signals, so you need to be reasonably near land.) Eventually, we bought our own remote modem. For that, you’ll need to connect with an internet provider and make sure your plan doesn’t cost a fortune overseas.

Another bit of advice: Make sure you blur your Zoom background (or create a custom design), so nobody’s asking why the scenery is changing. And, destination wise, other good choices for port-focused itineraries include the Mediterranean, Canada/New England and Alaska.

Culinary immersive travel

Road test, S.A.L.T. Experiences: In Palermo, Wine, Pasta and Cannoli with Sallier de La Tour

The trend: Demand for Immersive travel through culinary experiences will pop in 2023, according to Hilton Hotels’ 2023 Travel Trends Report. We know! Silversea’s S.A.L.T.-focused cruises, emphasizing local culinary traditions in the places ships visit, debuted in 2021 and continue to increase in popularity and scope of offerings.

Our advice: Silversea’s S.A.L.T. (Sea and Land Taste) program offers incredible culinary adventures. By way of S.A.L.T. Experiences, which are custom created by food and wine journalists who live in these destinations, you can explore local history and culture through the culinary arts in a way that goes beyond watching a chef prepare a meal. Learning about the history of Barcelona will never be the same once you’ve experienced it through a seven-course meal. Making (and tasting) cheese in a multigenerational family company in Mykonos shows a side of this Greek island you’ve never seen. And speaking of gaining a different perspective, our last visit to Honduras’ Roatán showcased the culinary arts of the Garifuna people, who cook with fish, chicken, cassava, bananas and plantains to produce a blend of Central American and African cuisine.  

S.A.L.T. Experiences are on select itineraries in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Central America, South America and Northern Europe aboard Silver Moon and Silver Dawn. Silver Nova, which debuts in August 2023, will also feature S.A.L.T.