It’s a big year for cruise with nine ships launching this year. And if you’re a first time cruiser, these new vessels will boast some of the best food, high-tech experiences (think go kart tracks and waterparks) as well as some of the most luxurious suites in the world.
Starting with the launch of the Seabourn Encore this year, 2017 is looking like the year of luxury cruise ships.
In 2017, some of the world’s largest cruise lines like Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines are launching new high-tech ships, which will suit the entire family.
But for the more adventurous cruiser, Star Clippers and Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic are releasing vessels which will take you to the more remote parts of the world.
Take a look at the class of 2017!
Viking Sky and Viking Sun
Viking Ocean is set to deliver two additions to its fleet – the Viking Sky and Viking Sun which is set to launch in February 2017 and November 2017 respectively. The 930-passenger luxury liners will join sister ships the Star and Sea. Already receiving awards for its Nordic hospitality and beautifully designed ships, Viking Ocean has gained a strong following within the cruise community. The itineraries feature longer days and more overnighters in ports for guests to be able to immerse themselves fully in the destination. Like Viking River Cruises, the ships will have the signature indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace dining rooms, promenade decks, Explorer’s and Sundeck Loungers as well as a Sports Deck at the very top.
The new ship from NCL, which will be based in Shanghai and Tianjin in China will cater for Chinese travellers from the summer of 2017. The liner will offer some world firsts like a go-kart track which can cater for 10 drivers and an open-air laser tag. There will also be multi-story water slides or if you want a bit more zen, try the open-air Serenity Park where you can practice yoga or tai chi. It will be a haven for Asian-food lovers with the ship boasting nearly 30 restaurants including fusion Chinese, Korean and Japanese cuisine. Onboard is the Sakura & Hibiscus restaurant offering hot pot and Korean barbecue. There will be lots of family suites for multi-generational travellers but if you’re a solo, there are no single cabins.
Following the Norwegian Joy is the Majestic Princess, another ship bound for homeporting in China. She will also be launched in the summer of 2017 and will have the capacity for 3,560 passengers. Like her sister ships, the Royal Princess and Regal Princess, Majestic will have a multi-story atrium offering a ranger of activities, an adults-only Sanctuary as well as the SeaWalk – a passage which extends beyond the edge of the ship for a thrilling (or terrifying) visual vantage point. Other attractions include the Chef’s Lumiere Travel, the Watercolour Fantasy (a dancing fountain of lights and music). Onboard the Majestic Princess will be two new specialty restaurants – Harmony, serving chef Richard Chen’s interpretation of Cantonese cuisine and La Mer, a Parisian Bistro.
The Silver Muse will be the ninth ship from the ultra-luxe cruise company which will be launched late in 2017. The 596-passenger ship will have seven levels of ocean-view suites, measuring from around 400 square feet to nearly 1,500 square feet for the Grand Suites. Guests will also be able to try eight different restaurants including the poolside Hot Rocks where guests can grill their own seafood and meats as well as the Silver Note, a jazz club that features live music and tapas. There will also be spa facilities, a children’s outdoor area and a top-deck observation lounge.
She is set to be MSC Cruises’ largest ship in the fleet, and MSC Meraviglia, in Italian, means wonder. And this is reflected in her size and abundance of indulgences guests can experience onboard. She will have a passenger capacity of 4,500 guests and will have 12 restaurants onboard. These include the Taiko sushi bar, Eataly which serves Italian cuisine, and American steakhouse as well as a 20-hour-a-day buffet. Guests can watch Cirque du Soileil at Sea six nights a week starting in June 2017. Guests on the ship will be equipped with RFID wristbands which is a device to may payments, booking spa treatments and other services. But best of all, parents can geo-locate their children. Guests can also choose from a standard balcony cabin to duplex suites, many of which have their own private balconies and whirlpool baths.
National Geographic Quest
For the adventure cruise, the 100-passenger National Geographic Quest will sail the remote waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage, the tropical coasts of Costa Rica and more. There will only be 50 cabins with eight rooms that can be configured into four adjoining cabins for families. Designed for nature and wildlife, the ship will have a sun deck with an outdoor walkway and alfresco bar and grill. The vessel will also have 24 sea kayaks, paddle boards and specifically-designed landing craft.
The newest ship from Star Clippers will be a sight to behold. For sailing enthusiasts, the Flying Clipper will be a five-masted, square-rigged, 32 sail vessel. She will be the largest in the fleet. There will be four owner’s suite and 150 cabins. Facilities wise, there will be three pools including a glass-sided dive-training pool, a watersports platform and an open-seat atrium. If you can handle heights, the Flying Clipper offers mast climbing where you’ll be harnessed to the rigging. There are lots of shore excursions ashore during the Mediterranean in summer and the Caribbean in winter. But if you want to stay onboard, there is a small spa for Thai massages, nail treatments and facials as well as a library.
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.