Senior Editor at Condé Nast Traveler, Corina Quinn, gave us her top reasons for why she chooses to cruise as both a journalist and a passenger. See what for her two cents are on everything from the passenger experience, destinations and achieving vacation mode.
What cruising trends are you most excited about right now?
Expedition trips have arrived in a really big way—it’s the thing I hear the most about right now. It’s exciting to me how the technology for navigating some of these more difficult stretches—like the Drake Passage—has made them more accessible, while the industry has expanded its offerings (whether via zodiacs or new ship designs) to enhance this experience for travelers.
I’m also excited by the wave of new itineraries I’m seeing. Just when you think we’ve discovered everything there is in this world, a cruise line launches a new trip going to Broome, Australia, or throughout Polynesia that didn’t exist before. I also think the river cruising segment of the industry is one to watch: Europe is ever-more-exciting for travelers from this perspective, but I think the new trips coming out of the Douro river, for instance, or along the Nile or Ganges, will be equally as covetable in no time (if they’re not already).
Conde Nast Traveler recently underwent a reboot and has a more global readership, can you share insight and how this impacts your cruise coverage?
Yes; we’re very excited about it! Our new transatlantic partnership, with head offices based in New York and London, leverages an enhanced presence of reporters around the world to provide the best inside-track quality on everything we cover. That can be everything from places well-known and less well-known to more defined aspects of travel, like cruise.
In the case of cruise, we have a larger audience that’s farther flung—yet equally curious. We also have more writers and on-the-ground reporters than ever before. We can cover cruise more often and in fresh ways: if our greater goal is to create a trusted, global travel and lifestyle brand, one that’s a benchmark in the marketplace, then we have to be telling stories about cruise that inspires and educates a reader who isn’t already hip to just how wonderful an experience it is. Our international partnership allows us to do this by tapping a wider network of experts and industry insiders than ever before.
When you think of your favorite cruise experiences, what comes to mind?
That’s a great question. I’ll start by saying I’m a big fan of cruising; I truly believe there’s one for everyone. What I love most about cruising are a few things: 1) it instantly puts you into ‘vacation mode’ better than any other type of trip I’ve taken. You can wake up in your home city and within hours be in the sunshine, unpacked, cocktail in hand, staring at the water, feeling serene. 2) No work! You don’t cook, clean, or stress about a single detail the entire time you’re on one. Finally, 3) logistical ease. No worrying about where you’re going the next day, what time to get up, or how you’ll make it all happen—it’s taken care of for you.
I’ll admit most of my cruise experiences have been limited to the Caribbean, and I know there’s much more out there, but it’s that guaranteed, nearly instantaneous ability to pluck me straight into a vacation mindset and be fully present in just enjoying myself that I think of most—no matter the cruise line or destination.
Any destinations you think your readers will have particular interest in visiting via cruise ship this year?
Yes—several. I think people have caught on to the fact that certain destinations, like Alaska, the Galapagos, and northern fjords all are places best seen by water. Not only because their natural beauty is best observed from, say, an open ship deck or veranda, but also because their best travel infrastructure exists between their ports. And now that people have learned that, they’re turning their focus onto other destinations that may offer an advantage visiting via water. Readers seem especially interested in cruising the Nile, Cuba, the Douro and Mekong rivers, for starters, as well as hopping the Caribbean and even exploring the East and West U.S. coasts this way. Anything that offers them those views and access, while removing pain points like transfers and plane-hopping, is where they’re turning their attention.
What are cruise lines doing that appeals to so many different ages and demographics?
I think at the root of it, it’s kind of simple: they’re creating a wide range of options. I said before that ‘there’s a cruise for everyone,’ and I think cruise lines get that. Just as the hotel industry has everything from high luxe to short stays to boutique, design or amenity-led brands, so does the cruise industry. I think too often we, as travel industry representatives, think too hard on shoving a person into a specific category or use: Are you a business traveler? Luxury traveler? Family traveler?
The honest answer is, we’re all of those things. I may get sent on a business trip to a destination I’ve never seen before, so I tack on a few extra days to learn about it. I just knocked off “business” and “leisure” in one go. But I’m also a daughter, a little sister, and an aunt. This year alone I’ll take several family trips—from multi-gen to one focused on our small children in tow—all of which will have specific requirements or needs. Every time I travel, I’m looking for something different.
With cruising, I love that there’s always an option for me and my best friend to get away on a much-needed girls’ trip for some R&R. There’s also a trip I could take with my parents where we visit a new place, feel comfortable and not rushed and are guaranteed a relaxing and high-quality meal with a well-made cocktail at the end of the day. If my siblings and I are looking for what to do for spring break, there’s a trip we can take with six kids—ranging in ages 4 to 14—that will make each one of them happy and keep us from feeling frazzled. That’s the genius in cruising: I don’t think any other sector of the travel industry can cater to such a wide range of needs, wants or specifications.