Ship ahoy, a look at the new cruise ships for 2019

Have you been on a cruise this year? If you have, you were one of more than 28 million travelers who spent their vacation at sea. Next year the cruise industry expects to welcome 30 million travelers sailing to all corners of the world. To offer travelers the vacation of a lifetime more than 18 new ships will set sail in 2019.

2018 was a pretty successful year for the cruise industry, not only did the number of people going on a cruise continue to grow so did the number of new ships that entered service. And it looks like 2019 will be no different as the number of cruise passengers is expected to  reach 30 million and 11 new, and one not so new, ships will welcome their first guest. In addition to the large ocean sailing ships next year we will see a list of smaller luxury and expedition ships setting sail for the very first time.


Just like Mein Schiff 1, the second cruise ship of the new generation of vessels at TUI Cruises will be around 20 meters longer than its predecessors, Mein Schiff 3 to Mein Schiff 6, offering more space to “feel good” thanks to a generous passenger-space ratio and a larger selection of cabins and suites. The new Mein Schiff 2 will offer 2,894 passengers a choice of 12 restaurants & bistros and 15 bars & lounges to fully enjoy the premium all-inclusive concept from TUI Cruises. This includes most food and drinks, the use of the Spa and Sports area and a diverse entertainment program.

After her naming ceremony, in Lisbon (Portugal) on February 9, the new Mein Schiff 2 will offer sailings to the Canary Islands before spending her inaugural summer season in the Mediterranean. At the end of October Mein Schiff 2 will set sail towards the Caribbean for her first winter season.


Meaning “most beautiful”, MSC Bellissima will be the first ship to be welcomed by MSC Cruises in 2019.

Sistership to MSC Meraviglia she will feature a Mediterranean-style promenade, complete with an 80 meter LED Sky screen, that acts as the social hub of the ship with a range of shops and restaurants. Thanks to the digital innovation programme MSC for Me guests will be able to customise their on-board and on-shore experience.

One of the main highlights of MSC Bellissima’s onboard entertainment will be the two Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, created exclusively for MSC Cruises. With two performances six nights per week in the purpose-built Carousel Lounge, guests will be able to enjoy an exclusive pre-show dinner service: a table d’hôte offering an eclectic selection of creative dishes that will be served before the show.

The 167,600 GRT, 5,700 guests, MSC Bellissima will be named in Southampton (UK) on 2nd March 2019. She will then spend her inaugural season offering 7-night cruises visiting the popular ports of Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona as well as other much sought after Mediterranean destinations including Naples, Messina in Sicily and Valetta in Malta before moving to the Emirates for Winter 2019/2020.

COSTA VENEZIA – Costa Cruises

Having served the China market with a homeported ship since 2006, Costa Cruisesis affirming their dedication to the region with the introduction of Costa Venezia. Designed and built specifically for the China market, Costa Venezia will deliver Costa’s authentic Italian experience tailored to its Chinese guests’ travel, leisure and entertainment preferences. Guests will be able to savor fine Italian dining, luxury Italian shopping and world-class Italian entertainment, while enjoying familiar comforts such as a range of Chinese cuisines and Chinese-style karaoke bars.

With her grand atrium modeled on Piazza San Marco, the original ‘gondolas’ made by local artisans and masked parties recreating the famous Carnival of Venice, the 135,500-ton, 5,260-passenger Costa Venezia will bring the passion of Venetian culture to the Far East.

Costa Venezia will welcome her first guests on March 3 for a vernissage cruise from Trieste (Italy) to Greece and Croatia, followed on March 8 by a 53-day inaugural cruise through the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Southeast and East Asia before arriving in Shanghai in May 2019.

SPECTRUM OF THE SEAS – Royal Caribbean

Custom built for the Chinese market, Royal Caribbean‘s newest vessel will feature bold and unexpected experiences, including the iconic Sky Pad, SeaPlex, the North Star, RipCord by iFly and the FlowRider surfing simulator. New to Royal Caribbean and first on Spectrum of the Seas is Star Moment, a lively and energetic karaoke venue where family and friends can belt out and sing like stars. Two70, with its floor-to-ceiling windows offering breath-taking 270-degree views of the ocean, returns with its signature Vistarama technology transforming the panoramic windows into a projection surface more than 100 feet wide and over 20 feet tall. The innovative Vistarama is complemented by six agile Roboscreens, measuring over 7 feet tall and controlled by robotic arms that create scenes as they soar and twist solo or as one.

The first Quantum Ultra ship will also debut Royal Caribbean’s first exclusive suites-only area, which will feature the exquisite Golden and Silver suite accommodations in a private enclave. Spectrum of the Seas will also introduce the two-level, 2,809-square-foot Ultimate Family Suite. Accommodating up to 11 guests, the three-bedroom suite includes a master bedroom with a bathroom that extends over the side of the ship along with two additional suites for grandparents and other family members. Kids have their own kid-friendly space on the upper level, complete with an in-suite slide that transports them to the living area below.

Royal Caribbean’s popular signature restaurants, including Jamie’s Italian, Izumi Japanese cuisine and Chops Grille will be joined by Wonderland’s Dadong – a new outpost of Chinese chef Dong Zhenxiang, renowned for his much-coveted roast duck dish; – and Sichuan Red. Located in the Royal Esplanade, this new specialty restaurant will serve authentic cuisine from the Sichuan province of China. In addition, the new Leaf and Bean traditional Chinese tea room and café parlor will also debut on the Royal Esplanade.

When Spectrum of the Seas debuts in April 2019, she will sail a 51-night Global Odyssey from Barcelona, Spain to Shanghai, taking vacationers to 13 countries. Guests with limited time also can choose to sail one or more of the five separate segments of the Global Odyssey. When Spectrumarrives at her new home in Shanghai in June 2019, she will introduce new itineraries with visits to new ports, such as Hakodate and Niigita, Japan; Ilocos, Philippines; and Vladivostok, Russia. In winter 2019, the ship will reposition to Hong Kong to offer special holiday cruises.

MARELLA EXPLORER 2 – Marella Cruises

Currently sailing as SkySea Golden Era for SkySea Cruise Line in China, this sister ship to Mein Schiff 1 will sail under the Marella Cruises banner for the first time as Marella Explorer 2 in April 2019.

Marella Explorer 2 will be tailored to meet the needs of couples, friends and groups by doubling the size of The Veranda featured on Marella Explorer. The Veranda is the premium sunbathing spot onboard and will feature brand new facilities. The 1,814 capacity ship will offer 907 cabins, including the Royal Suite which measures 102m2 and features a separate bedroom, dressing room, dining area and whirlpool bath. Nearly 40 per cent of the cabins will have balconies.

The exclusive adults-only ship will sail to some of the finest European cities including Venice, Rome and Dubrovnik. On board guests will enjoy an array of dining and bar options and a luxurious Champneys Spa offering a variety of indulging treatments.


When Viking Jupiter joins the fleet in June 2019 she will officially make Viking the largest small ship ocean cruise line in the industry. Named in honor of the planet Jupiter, the ship will spend her maiden season sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.

Designed for discerning travelers with interests in history, art, music and cuisine Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” as an alternative to mainstream cruises. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port and more overnights. On board, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is both beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light.

Viking cruise fare includes: an exterior stateroom, a complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; alternative restaurant dining; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa and 24-hour room service.

Viking’s ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, have 465 staterooms and host 930 guests. The all-veranda Viking Jupiter will join Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Sun and Viking Orion. Ten additional ships are planned for delivery starting in 2021, which could bring Viking’s ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027.


Saga Cruises’s first new ship, Spirit of Discovery, will home port from Dover where her naming ceremony will take place on July 5, 2019. She will commence her maiden voyage around the British Isles on July 10, 2019. Itineraries will include the Channel Islands, the Norwegian Fjords, the Baltic and the Mediterranean. In the autumn she will sail from Southampton to destinations including the Canaries and a Christmas cruise to New York.

The 58,250 gross tons Spirit of Discovery will host 999 guests and 530 crew members.


When MSC Cruises‘ second new launch, MSC Grandiosa join the fleet she will offer guests two brand new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea. MSC Grandiosa will also showcase a larger Mediterranean-style promenade. Serving as the social hub of the ship, the promenade features an array of shops and specialty restaurants as well as a bars and lounges. Throughout the day and the evening, the promenade will host surprise performances, including flash mobs and themed parties as well as awe-inspiring projections on the 323 ft. LED Sky screen.

MSC for Me, the industry-leading shipboard digital innovation program, will allow guests to customize their vacation and enhance their cruise experience.

Additional MSC Grandiosa highlights include: a choice of at least 12 different dining venues – a new restaurant concept, exclusively for MSC Aurea experience guests, will be introduced in the Promenade of the ship. The MSC Yacht Club, which will continue to offer the more discerning cruise guest a luxurious stay in the ship-within-a-ship concept with private areas and key features such as the stylish Top Sail lounge, stunning One Pool Deck, private restaurant and butler service.

MSC Grandiosa will be christened in Hamburg on November 2, 2019. She will then spend her inaugural season offering seven nights sailings in the Western Mediterranean, calling at six ports including Genoa, Civitavecchia, Palermo, Valletta, Barcelona and Marseille.

NORWEGIAN ENCORE – Norwegian Cruise Line

Following her unveiling the seventeenth ship in the Norwegian Cruise Linefleet will feature many innovative dining, entertainment and recreational activities that guests have come to expect from the industry-leading brand. These include a two-level race track, the Galaxy Pavilion – a more than 10,000-square-foot indoor virtual reality complex, an open-air laser tag arena and a  complete Aqua Park including two multi-story waterslides, one of which extends 11 feet over the edge of the ship and loops down to the deck below.

Norwegian Encore will offer a broad array of entertainment options including the Broadway hit “Kinky Boots”, a story about an unlikely partnership between a fabulous entertainer and factory owner with songs by Cyndi Lauper. “The Choir of Man” combines high energy music, dance, live percussion and foot stomping choreography by nine guys who perform everything from sing-along anthems to classic rock. Additional entertainment includes “Happy Hour Prohibition: The Musical,” the interactive cocktails and theater show, and The Cavern Club, which transports audiences back to the legendary Liverpool club with live musical performances from a Beatles cover band.

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating up to 4,000 guests, Norwegian Encore will cruise out of Miami every Sunday and sail seven-day voyages to the Eastern Caribbean, beginning with her first journey on November 17, 2019 through April 12, 2020. Encore will begin cruising to Bermuda out of New York in the Summer of 2020.

SKY PRINCESS – Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises‘ new Sky Princess will include the best of the stunning features found on its three Royal-class sister ships – Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess – as well as new offerings and innovations designed to exceed guests’ expectations.

New to Sky Princess are spectacular Sky Suites, centrally located on the top deck. Measuring 700 square feet and with a 270-degree panorama, the suites feature the largest private balconies at sea with a prime view of the ship’s Movie Under the Stars screen. Sky Suites have sleeping capacity for five guests and plenty of room for entertaining, making them ideal for families and celebrations.

The 143,700-ton Sky Princess is designed to offer her carry 3,660 guests more ways to unwind, with a new contemporary design for its relaxing adults-only Sanctuary area, and twice as many private cabanas as its sister ships. Also new for Sky Princess will be the addition of a Wakeview pool on its aft decks, plus two new deep-tank top deck pools, a restorative Retreat Pool and more Jacuzzis, including two cantilevered over the deep-tank pools.

Other ship highlights will include a soaring central Piazza-style atrium, the iconic Seawalk, Princess Live! entertainment venue with a new café, Camp Discovery youth and teen centers.

The inaugural Mediterranean deployment of Sky Princess is set to feature 10 cruise departures on eight unique itineraries, beginning October 20, 2019, with a seven-day Mediterranean and Adriatic cruise from Athens (Piraeus) to Barcelona. On November 17, the ship is scheduled to set sail from Barcelona for Fort Lauderdale, where guests will enjoy tropical holidays in the Caribbean before the ship returns to tour Europe beginning in April 2020.

COSTA SMERALDA – Costa Cruises

With a name that honors the spectacular Emerald Coast of Sardinia, Costa Cruises‘ second newbuild to enter service in 2019 will reflect the best of Italy, delighting guests with a unique travel experience evoking the style, hospitality and warmth of the “bel paese” (the beautiful country).

The heart of Costa Cruises’ new flagship will be a centrally-located, three-level domed Colosseo, lined with themed lounge bars, that will feature the best shows each evening. Day or night guests will be drawn to enjoy their morning coffee and evening Cocktails while admiring the sea through the large glass walls.

Costa Smeralda will host another unique feature at sea: an onboard museum. The Costa Design Museum – or CoDe – will be dedicated to the excellence of Italian design, showcasing many of the Italian designers and design firms that contributed to the ship’s construction and authentic “Made in Italy” décor.

Costa Smeralda guests will have access to 11 restaurants, four swimming pools, a water park with colorful waterslides, a multi-sport gym, disco, jazz club, games room, special areas set aside for kids and a luxurious spa featuring a beauty salon, hammam, thalassotherapy pool, 16 treatment rooms, and snow, salt and relaxation rooms. At 182,700 tons, and with over 2,600 guest rooms, Costa Smeralda will be the largest and first ship that is able to be powered in port and at sea by LNG in Costa Cruises’ fleet.

The ship is scheduled to make its maiden voyage on October 20, 2019, with a 15-day cruise from Hamburg, with stops in Rotterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona and Marseille before arriving for a dazzling naming celebration at Savona, in northwest Italy, on November 3.

On November 4, the six-day inaugural cruise is expected to depart from Savona, calling on Barcelona, Marseille and Rome (Civitavecchia). Costa Smeralda will continue to sail in the Western Mediterranean until April 2020, with seven-day cruises calling on Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia.


When the new Carnival Panorama arrives in Long Beach next December, it will become Carnival‘s first new ship to homeport in California in 20 years, sailing year-round voyages from the newly renovated Long Beach Cruise Terminal to the Mexican Riviera.

The 4,008-passenger, 133,500-ton Carnival Panorama is the third in the line’s highly successful Vista-class series, which includes Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon. Carnival Panorama will feature a wide variety of fun indoor and outdoor experiences for a unique seagoing vacation, including popular features such as the tropics-inspired Havana section, Family Harbor with extra-roomy staterooms and the Family Harbor Lounge, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and the SportSquare recreation area.

Carnival Panorama is scheduled to debut on December 11, 2019, with a special three-day inaugural cruise from the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, which is housed in a massive 146,000-square-foot geodesic dome that once served as home to Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose airplane. Starting December 14 Carnival Panorama will sail seven-day itineraries visiting stunning destinations along the Mexican Riviera, including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.


In addition to the large ocean sailing ships next year we will see a list of smaller luxury and expedition ships setting sail for the very first time. These include CELEBRITY FLORA, SCENIC ECLIPSE, Hapag-Lloyd’s HANSEATIC nature and HANSEATIC inspiration, and LE DUMONT-D’URVILLE and LE BOUGAINVILLE for Ponant.

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