7 most exciting big cruise ships for 2023

With 20 new cruise ships delivered in 2022, last year was a big year for the cruise industry. A total of 16 cruise lines – including big players like Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O, Seabourn and Viking – welcomed new ships. Smaller vessels were delivered and joined the fleets of Atlas Ocean, Ritz-Carlton, Swan Hellenic and Viking to name just a few. For 2023 no less than 19 new ocean-going cruise ships are scheduled for delivery or begin service. Here’s a look at the 7 most exciting big cruise ships for 2023

Resilient Lady & Brilliant Lady – Virgin Voyages (110,000 GT, 2,770 pax)
virgin voyages

2023 is going to be quite an exciting year for Virgin Voyages. Richard Branson’s adults-only cruise line is introducing not one but two new cruise ships. In May we should see Resilient Lady set sail for the first time, followed by Brilliant Lady in late 2023.

Just like Virgin Voyages’ first two ships – Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady – Resilient Lady and Brilliant Lady will be a paradise for foodies and foodlovers. The ships will feature unique restaurants with Michelin star chef-curated menus and everything in between from comfort go-to’s to experimental cuisine, and elaborate brunches to Korean BBQ, all of which are included in the fare. Sailing with Virgin Voyages means you’re getting some perks included: a basic beverage package (still and sparkling water, sodas, non-pressed juices, coffe and tea), Wi-Fi and gratuities.

Resilient Lady will embark on her maiden voyage around the Greek Isles on May 14, 2023. During her first trip she will visit Santorini, Rhodes, Bodrum and Mykonos before returning to her homeport in Piraeus/Athens. The ship will sail two, eight-night itineraries including the Greek Island Glow with the aforementioned route, and the Adriatic Sea and Greek Gems, complete with calls in the beautiful cities of Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor and Corfu. On October 22, 2023, Resilient Lady will embark on a 44-night repositioning voyage, heading Down Under for a winter season in Australia and New Zealand. During her grand voyage Resilient Lady will visit some of the most exotic locales including Cairo, Dubai, Bali, Mumbai, Phuket and Singapore. She’ll finally arrive in Sydney on December 4, 2023, for a series of celebrations, media sneak peeks and more. 

Brilliant Lady is scheduled to offer her first sailing in December from Miami. During her ‘Brilliant Miami Mermaiden Holidays’ she will visit Puerto Plata and St. Croix before arriving in San Juan. From here she will offer voweeklong yages to the Southeastern Caribbean Isles (Tortola, Pointe-à-Pitre, Bridgetown, Castries and St. John’s) and the Lesser Antilles (Oranjestad, Willemstad, Fort-de-France and Basseterre). On April 20, 2023 Brilliant Lady will make her way to Europe. During her 11-night Transatlantic voyage from Puerto Rico to Portugal she will visit Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Funchal before arriving to Lisbon.

Norwegian Viva – Norwegian Cruise Line (140,000 GT, 3,215 pax)

When Norwegian Viva sets sail in July 2023 she will mirror the upscale design and structure of her sister ship Norwegian Prima. Providing guests with elevated experiences including more wide-open spaces, thoughtful and stunning design and exceptional service, Norwegian Viva accommodates 3,215 guests at double occupancy. Travelers will live up every second of their journey in the most spacious accommodations including the brand’s largest inside, ocean view and balcony category staterooms. The ship will also feature the largest variety of suite categories available at sea and boast a redefined The Haven by Norwegian. Viva will also feature Ocean Boulevard, a 44,000 square foot outdoor walk way which wraps around the entire ship; Indulge Food Hall featuring 11 varieties of eateries; The Concourse boasting an outdoor sculpture garden; expansive pool decks and infinity style pools at Infinity Beach and Oceanwalk, showcasing glass bridges above water.

Norwegian Viva will depart on her first sailing on July 3, 2023 from Trieste, Italy to Athens, Greece. The ship will sail a series of eight, nine and 10-day voyages from Lisbon, Venice (Trieste) and Rome (Civitavecchia) and Athens (Piraeus), offering guests the opportunity to explore the Mediterranean’s Spanish, Italian and Greek regions. During winter 2023-2024 Norwegian Viva will homeport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. On December 15, she will depart San Juan on a seven-day Caribbean voyage with her first stop in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. She will then make her way to Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; St. John’s, Antigua; and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Celebrity Ascent – Celebrity Cruises (140,600 GT, 3,260 pax)

Celebrity Ascent is the fourth ship in the Celebrity Cruises’ ground-breaking Edge Series. Like her sister ships – Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Apex and Celebrity Beyond – her stand-out features include The Magic Carpet, a movable deck cantilevered off the side of the ship which is used as restaurant, bar and embarkation area.

The ship will feature 918 Infinite Veranda cabins, including 16 single-accommodation cabins. The Infinite Balcony cabins onboard are designed to blend indoors and outdoors, adding almost a quarter of the size of the cabin by using bi-fold doors. The Iconic Suites are located above the bridge, giving occupants the same view as the captain. The Iconic Suites measure more than 5,000 square feet and offer two bedrooms and 700-square-foot balconies placed over the bridge wing. Also impressive are the 6 Edge Villas, two-level suites which feature an elevated master bedroom, large living room and two full bathrooms. Each Edge Villa balcony will feature a private plunge pool

Guest staying in suites can indulge in the private The Retreat. The space includes a private pool and sundeck, lounge and restaurant. The lounge serves breakfast and host a happy hour daily.

The Resort Deck, the main pool area, features a large pool flanked by sculptural trees and two ‘martini glass’ bubble baths that overlook the deck below. The Rooftop Garden space combines the popular top-deck Lawn Club found on the Solstice-class ships with the Rooftop Terrace from the Millennium-class ships. The area is filled with live greenery and sculptures inspired by childhood playgrounds. During the day, The Rooftop Garden hosts yoga and various games and activities. At night the area comes alive with live music and the line’s A Taste of Film, which pairs movies and dining.

Celebrity Ascent will debut in Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades on December 3, 2023 for her inaugural Caribbean season of  alternating 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

MSC Euribia – MSC Cruises (177,000 GT, 4,888 pax)
msc euribia cruise

When MSC Euribia sets sail in she will be MSC Cruises first cruise ship to have her hull transformed into a giant, floating canvas. The unique and iconic design by artist Alex Flämig, titled #SaveTheSea, has been chosen to represent MSC Cruises’ message of dedication to help protect the marine ecosystem.

MSC Euribia, the second LNG-powered ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet, marks another step forward in substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions. LNG plays a key role in the journey towards climate change mitigation and MSC Euribia’s engines have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 21% compared to standard fuels while also virtually eliminating other air emissions. MSC Euribia will also utilise a next-generation advanced wastewater treatment system as well as an underwater radiated noise management system to minimise the effects of vibrations on marine life. Multiple energy efficiency features help reduce and optimise engine use.

As a Meraviglia-Plus ship, MSC Euribia will offer a dynamic guest experience with innovative features and facilities. Some of the highlights include an enhanced MSC Yacht Club, a choice of 10 restaurants and 21 bars including specialty restaurant options, a 945-seater theatre and the stunning Carousel Lounge at the aft of the ship. Guests will be inspired by the 112-metre-long Mediterranean promenade lined with boutiques bars and restaurants topped with a breathtaking LED sky screen with animations throughout the day and night. The ship will also feature five swimming pools including an extensive pool with retractable roof and a 1,000sqm aquapark plus the luxurious MSC Aurea Spa with full range of treatments and the state-of-the-art MSC Gym by Technogym.

Due to launch in early June 2023, MSC Euribia will spend her inaugural season in Northern Europe from the German port of Kiel. During her incredible seven-night itineraries to the Norwegian Fjords she will visit Copenhagen, Denmark; Hellesylt, Norway for the Geirangerfjord; as well as Alesund and Flaam, also in Norway, among others. From October 2023 and throughout winter 2023/24, MSC Euribia will offer offer sailings out of Southampton in the UK.

Carnival Jubilee – Carnival Cruise Line: 183,900 GT, 5,400 pax

Carnival Jubilee will be Carnival’s third ship to run on a liquified natural gas (LNG) technology platform. Carnival Corporation pioneered the introduction of LNG fuel in the passenger cruise sector as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and emissions reduction. Meyer Turku in Finland delivered sister ship Mardi Gras in December 2020 while Carnival Celebration was delivered in November 2022.

Carnival Jubilee will share features from her sister ships that guests know and love, including the award-winning and pulse-racing BOLT roller coaster, expanded dining options, more than 20 different stateroom categories and multiple levels of spacious and luxurious suites, and a stunning, three-deck atrium on the starboard side of the ship that overlooks the ocean and converts to an entertainment venue at night.

The ship will also have six fun-filled zones like her sisters, two of which will be brand-new concepts

Carnival Jubilee will begin sailing from Galveston on December 23. the ship will offer seven-day Western Caribbean cruise vacations with stops in Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, as well as Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Honduras.

Icon of the Seas – Royal Caribbean (250,800 GT, 5,610 pax)

Arriving in late 2023 ahead of its January 2024 debut, the first Icon Class ship will be the travel industry’s first-of-its-kind combination of the best of every vacation. From the beach retreat to the resort escape and the theme park adventure, every kind of family and adventurer can experience their version of the ultimate family vacation. Spread out over eight neighborhoods, Icon of the Seas‘ all-encompassing lineup features adrenaline-pumping thrills, including the largest waterpark at sea, and unrivaled ways to chill with more ocean views and pools – one for each day of the week – than ever before, plus a blend of more than 40 new and returning dining, bar and nightlife options, and cutting-edge entertainment.

Icon of the seas will feature five new neighborhoods: Thrill Island featuring the largest waterpark at sea with six record-breaking slides, Chill Island featuring four of the seven pools onboard, Surfside for young families with kids ages six and under, The Hideaway combining the good vibes of beach club scenes around the world and AquaDome featuring an awe-inspiring waterfall offering a tranquil oasis by day and a vibrant place during the night with restaurants, bars and the cruise line’s marquee aqua shows at the next-level AquaTheater.

The iconic Royal Promenade features its first floor-to-ceiling ocean views, plus more than 15 restaurants, cafes, bars and lounges. Central Park will be more lush and livelier offering more ways to dine and be entertained.

With 28 ways to stay, Iconic offers a room for every type of vacationer. There are new layouts made for families of three, four, five and more, like the Family Infinite Balcony and Surfside Family Suite with kids alcoves tucked away from the adults, and the three-story Ultimate Family Townhouse, complete with its own white picket fence and mailbox. When it comes to views, among the best are from the brand’s first Sunset Corner Suites and Panoramic Ocean Views in AquaDome.

Icon of the Seas will be the cruise line’s first ship with fuel cell technology and powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the cleanest-burning marine fuel. Along with other proven applications, such as shore power connection and waste heat recovery systems, the new ship will be the cruise line’s most sustainable to date.

Icon of the Seas will sail Eastern and Western vacations year-round from Miami. Every cruise will visit Royal Caribbean’s top-rated private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, The Bahamas. The cruise line will also debut the island’s adults-only oasis, Hideaway Beach, with an expansive pool, private cabanas with pools, and unmatched views of the ocean hues.

Also read: Oceania Cruises accelerates debut of new ship Vista

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