As the number of people who opt for a cruise vacation keeps growing year by year, so does the need for newer (and bigger) cruise ships. In 2017 the cruise lines took delivery of nine new cruise ships. This year no less than 12 new, plus one not so new Azamara Pursuit, cruise ships will battle it out for our attention.
A LOOK BACK AT 2017…
At the end of February 2017 Viking Sky joined the Viking Ocean Cruises fleet. Identical to sister ships Viking Star and Viking Sea the new Viking Sky accommodates 930 passengers in staterooms all equiped with private balconies. Combining elegance and Scandinavian design, the ship features a lounge with two deck high panoramic forward-facing windows, a Nordic-inspired spa complete with snow grotto and an infinity pool offering unforgetable views off the stern of the ship.
In April Princess Cruises introduced Majestic Princess. Designed for the chinese market, Majestic Princess features a dazzling water color fantasy sound and light show, six private karaoke suites, a new indoor garden lounge and a glass floored “seawalk” extending 30 feet out over the side of the ship and 128 feet above sea level. Majestic Princess is homeported in Shanghai.
Also in April Silver Muse, Silversea’s largest luxury ship to date, was launched in Monaco. Onboard the 596 guests can enjoy exquisite food servings in more than eight restaurants ranging from teppanyaki and Asian fusion to Mediterranean inspired tapas and lava stone cooking.
In May Norwegian Cruise Line launched Norwegian Joy. Originally named Norwegian Bliss, the ship received it’s new name when Norwegian decided to send the ship to China.
Norwegian Joy features 74 luxurious suites in the exclusive “The Haven” sanctuary, complete with private courtyard, pool, bar and restaurant. Joy is the first NCL ship to feature interior cabins with virtual balconies. Among the many onboard features are the first two-level race track at sea, a world of virtual reality experiences in the Galaxy Pavillion and The Park, a partially covered green area.
With no less than 28 different food and beverage outlets Norwegian Joy is a foodlovers paradise. For more information visit The culinary offerings onboard Norwegian Joy.
Just in time for the 2017 summer season, MSC Cruises brought us the first of their two new cruise ships. Enterring service in June, MSC Meraviglia soon became one of the hottest holiday destinations at sea.
Nicknamed “the ship for all seasons”, Meraviglia offers a wide array of entertainment options including an aqua park, complete with waterslides and ropse course, a full-size bowling alley, two Formula 1 virtual-reality racing cars and a multifunctional sports venue. The ship’s indoor promenade features an 80-metre LED sky creating awe-inspiring visual effects 24 hours a day. The highlight of the onboard entertainment comes from Cirque du Soleil, who created two exclusive shows for the ship.
We were present at the christening ceremony in Le Havre on june 3rd. For a closer look at the ship and the star-studded christening ceremony visit “Exploring a wonder: 2 days on board MSC Meraviglia“.
Also arriving in June was Mein Schiff 6, the fourth new build ship for German cruise line TUI Cruises. With the focus on the “total wellness” concept, one of the ship’s main features is a 25-meter swimming pool.
Originally sheduled for delivery in September 2017, AIDAperla arrived early July.
Just like sistership AIDAprima, AIDAperla features a covered beach club, indoor and outdoor pools, infinity pools, a lazy river and two glass skywalks. Furthermore the newest ship in the AIDA fleet offers a choice of 12 restaurants, 3 snackbars and 14 cafés and bars.
In November Viking Ocean Cruises launched their fourth ocean cruise ship, Viking Sun, in Miami.
In December the final cruise ship to enter service in 2017 arrived in Miami for her naming ceremony. MSC Seaside is the first in a new class of ships for MSC Cruises.
MSC Seaside features an aquapark with waterslides, a ropse course and zipline. A glass catwalk on the top deck offers amazing views, while two others are located directly above the water. Located on deck eight they are 40 metres in length and part of a 360° open air promenade which encircles the entire ship with an array of bars and restaurants for al fresco dining.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE…
This year, according to CLIA, some 27,2 million passengers are expected to go on a cruise. To accommodate those passengers more ships are scheduled to set sail in 2018. In total CLIA Cruise Lines are scheduled to debut 27 new ocean, river and specialty ships this coming year. We’re having a closer look at 11 of those new and exciting cruise ships.
Expected to launch in April 2018, Carnival Horizon will be the 26th ship for Carnival Cruise Line, the largest and most popular individual cruise line in the world. Carnival Horizon will offer a number of unique innovations, including the first Dr. Seuss WaterWorks aqua park, the line’s first teppanyaki dining venue and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse | Brewhouse, a new restaurant that combines BBQ offerings along with specifically designed craft beers brewed at the onboard brewery.
Carnival Horizon will also offer many of the popular indoor and outdoor dining, bar, entertainment and activity options that debuted on sister-ship, Carnival Vista, in 2016. These include the bike-ride-in-the-sky SkyRide attraction and an IMAX Theatre.
When Symphony of the Seas makes her debut in April she will claim the title of the largest cruise ship in the world. But there is much more to this ship than her impressive size. In addition to the Ultimate Abyss, Johnny Rockets and the awe-inspiring AquaTheater, the Boardwalk will feature a brand new Sports Bar and Arcade where guests can enjoy wings, burgers and craft beer on draft as well as engage in friendly competitions.
Symphony will also introduce a new adventurous and interactive family suite, the two-level Ultimate Family Suite, with a slide from the kid’s bedroom to the living room below, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, an air-hockey table and hidden nooks for chilling.
Symphony of the Seas will spend her inaugural summer season in the Mediterranean, calling on ports in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca (Spain), the Provence (France) and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples in Italy. Beginning Nov. 24, 2018, the adventure-packed ship will make Miami, FL her year-round home, sailing 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages from the new Terminal A at PortMiami.
For a complete overview of the features onboard Symphony of the Seas visit “Royal Caribbean reveals new wows on Symphony of the Seas“.
Finally in April we’ll also see Norwegian Cruise Line take delivery of Norwegian Bliss. NCL’s sixteenth ship will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises during her inaugural summer season and offer stunning Caribbean sunsets as she sails seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday out of Port Miami from November 2018 onwards. Norwegian’s most innovative cruise ship will feature a two level electric-car race track, an open-air laser tag course, an expansive pool and sundeck with two spacious pools and six infinity hot tubs and a full scale Aqua Park with multi-story waterslides. The Waterfront, the popular outdoor promenade that debuted on Norwegian Breakaway in 2013, will enhance guests’ connection to the ocean with al fresco dining, bars and lounge spaces and offer views of Alaska’s scenery and wildlife or the Caribbean’s turquoise waters.
For more on the exciting features onboard Norwegian Bliss visit “Norwegian Cruise Line reveals new features for Norwegian Bliss“.
The new Mein Schiff 1 will officilally be welcomed to the TUI Cruises family during a naming ceremony in Hamburg on 11 May 2018, followed by a two-day maiden voyage. The Mein Schiff ships are designed with TUI’s “Well-being” concept in mind and are true sports- and wellness ships, the outdoor pools for example measure 25 meters (82ft) or half the size of an Olympic pool.
MSC Seaview is the second of MSC Cruises’ Seaside generation of cruise ships, based on a highly-innovative prototype designed to bring guests closer to the sea than ever before, for warmer climates and the ultimate sun and sea cruise experience. She is set to come into service in June 2018, just six months after MSC Seaside.
Seaview will sail her inaugural 2018 summer season in the Mediterranean. The ship will follow the sun to Brazil and the Southern hemisphere for the winter 2018-2019 season, with an itinerary that includes Santos, Ilha Grande, Buzios, Porto Belo and Camboriu.
Following in the footsteps of its highly successful sister ship, Seabourn Encore, launched in early 2017, Seabourn Ovation is set to debut in May 2018. Designed by design icon Adam D. Tihany, the ship will feature contemporary interiors, modern design elements and innovations consistent with Seabourn’s reputation for understated elegance and impeccable service.
Seabourn Ovation, the fifth all-suite ship in Seabourn’s fleet, will carry just 600 guests. The ship will offer a number of in-suite amenities to provide guests with a “home away from home” onboard experience including a private veranda in each suite. Guests will also find a number of innovative offerings and programs, including the new theater-style experience “An Evening with Tim Rice” which highlights some of his most loved work – from “Jesus Christ Superstar” to “Aladdin” and “The Lion King”.
The all-veranda Viking Orion is the newest addition to Viking’s award-winning ocean fleet and is scheduled for delivery in summer 2018. The vessel will spend her maiden year sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean, before making her way to Asia, Australia and then Alaska. Viking Orion Considered “small ships” Viking’s ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, feature 465 staterooms and host 930 guests in a serene Scandinavian atmosphere where every room is beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light.
At the end of August luxury cruise line Scenic will take delivery of Scenic Eclipse. Modeled after the sleek lines of a sailing yacht, the 551-foot Scenic Eclipse is outfitted with a mere 114 guest suites, which means that at full occupancy only 228 guests will be on board.
The ship features a Polar Class 6/Ice Class IA-certified hull, allowing the ship to navigate through the icy waters of the Arctic and Antarctica and set anchor in the broadest range of locations for any luxury vessel. The ship will be outfitted with a number of unique tenders and expeditions vessels – including custom-built zodiac boats, helicopters, and seven-seat submersibles – offering guests the chance to explore and experience some of the world’s untouched and exotic places in breathtaking and remarkable ways.
MS Roald Amundsen is the first of two hybrid ships Hurtigruten will add to its fleet over the next few years, cutting emissions by sailing with electrical propulsion. Hybrid technology, combined with the advanced construction of the hull and effective use of electricity on board will reduce fuel consumption and CO2-emissions on the ships by 20 percent.
One of the most eye-catching exterior design features of the ship will be the two-level indoor/outdoor Observation Deck wrapped around the top of the ships’ bow. In a vast area behind it will be the core of the onboard experience: Amundsen Science Center.
Packed with state of the art technology and high tech gadgets the immersive edutainment area will be the place where guests and staff/crew meet, mingle and create a deeper understanding for the areas they explore. the Roald Amundsen is scheduled to enter service in July 2018.
Arriving late 2018, AIDAnova will be the first cruise ship fully powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel, with nearly zero emissions.
AIDAnova’s next-generation, fully LNG-powered design is an evolution from AIDA Cruises’ previous award-winning class of ships that includes AIDAprima and AIDAperla, the first two cruise ships in the world to use LNG while in port. AIDAnova will be followed by six additional fully LNG-powered ships scheduled to be delivered across several Carnival Corporation brands by 2022.
AIDAnova will have an onboard brewery and beer garden, a beach club, three water slides, an escape room, a 360-degree Theatrium and Studio X, a TV studio at sea. Other highlights include 20 different stateroom types, a two-deck Body & Soul Spa, two private outdoor sun islands for couples, 17 restaurants, 23 bars offering a variety of culinary trends from around the world and the new Time Machine restaurant, blending experience and culinary art to take guests on a dinner trip through time.
For a closer look at AIDAnova’s onboard amenities visit AIDAnova: new highlights from bow to stern.
Also near the end of the year, Celebrity Cruises promises to wow guests with the revolutionary design of Celebrity Edge. The new Edge staterooms with infinite veranda will erase the boundaries between the traditional ship stateroom and its veranda and create a closer connection to the ocean. Celebrity Edge will also introduce 16 single staterooms with Infinite Veranda, split-level Edge Villas and two new Iconic Suites. The suites are positioned high on top of the ship, above the bridge, offering sweeping, panoramic views from front to back making Iconic Suite guests feel like they are on top of the world. Also new is The Retreat, a new private utopia for suite guests, a Rooftop Garden and newly designed pool deck.
But what will make Celebrity Edge stand out from all the rest is the world’s first “Magic Carpet”. Cantilevered from the side of the ship, the Magic Carpet makes Celebrity Edge’s distinctive profile recognizable from miles away. This incredible engineering feat scales the 16-deck ship through the day and evening, positioning at four of the ship’s decks, transforming into a new and exciting experience at each one.
For more on Celebrity Cruises’ new flagship visit “Celebrity Edge, modern luxury travel reimagined“.
On December 5, 2018, Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam is expected to depart on its maiden voyage with guests – a 14-day transatlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale.
Nieuw Statendam is the second Pinnacle Class ship for Holland America Line, joining ms Koningsdam, which launched in April 2016.
The 99,500-ton ship is the ultimate expression of the brand’s evolution, with grand light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments. created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten.
The ship will carry 2,666 guests and feature fine-dining options at alternative restaurants Sel de Mer, a French seafood brasserie, and Tamarind, an Asian fusion concept, in addition to the Grand Dutch Café with traditional Dutch treats and European beer.
Onboard entertainment will include the popular Music Walk area featuring all genres of music. With the 270-degree LED projection at World Stage, show-time performances will immerse the audience in panoramic visual and sound effects. The ship will also launch with the newly created Exploration Central’s hub, a comprehensive resource and engagement center with interactive screens and a Virtual Bridge.