They are fresh out of the yard, with gleaming paint and a host of the latest gadgets. Yet they can be more than half the cost of vessels that are brand spanking new.
Getting on board an older ship that has just gone through a makeover is the latest insider tip that gets the best deal and allows you to save thousands.
As cruise lines quickly expand their fleets with new-builds, they focus on tempting cruisers on board the latest vessels. But they need to charge high prices to get their investment money back.
A recently refurbished ship could bring you a similar experience at a much lower cost.
We found some real bargains – particularly when major cruise lines launch multi million dollar programs to upgrade interiors and amenities for an entire class of ships.
Royal Caribbean has its Royal Amplified program, Oceania Cruises has OceaniaNEXT, there is Celebrity Revolution on Celebrity Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Lines has The Norwegian Edge program. There’s many more.
These programs feature renovations that go beyond new carpets and new furniture and often have entire sections of the ship reimagined.
The savings are most easily seen when you compare fares for a new ship and a refurbished ship in the same cruise line.
For example, Australia based Celebrity Solstice will be receiving a multimillion dollar makeover by 2021 in the style of Celebrity Edge.
Solstice might not have the revolutionary features of the line’s latest ship like the Magic Carpet platform that moves up and down the side of the ship and three-story indoor space called the Eden.
But guests will be able to experience Celebrity’s exclusive new sanctuary for Suite Class guests called The Retreat, and the sleek and sophisticated look on the Edge will also be brought in the staterooms and public spaces like restaurants and lounges.
A 10-night cruise on Solstice from Vancouver to Honolulu in September would cost you around US$2,314 (AU$ 3,240).
While on the Edge, an 11-night voyage around the Amalfi Coast and Greek Isles in September could go up to US$3,834 (AU$ 5,367).
Similar savings are also to be had on Royal Caribbean as well as shorter cruise itineraries.
A two-night sampler from Sydney in December 2019 would be $529 on Ovation of the Seas while it is going at $299 on soon to be updated Voyager of the Seas.
Voyager of the Seas will be getting her update before she sails to Australia for the 2019/20 summer season.
The refurbishment will be similar to sister ship Mariner of the Seas, which includes the Sky Pad, The Perfect Storm waterslides, a Flowrider, a brand new bar, new restaurants like Jamie’s Italian and more.
On Oceania Cruises, the OceaniaNEXT program will be bringing upgrades to its four Regatta-class ships: Regatta, Insignia, Nautica and Sirena.
The program is nearly at its halfway mark as Sirena comes out of dry dock in May, adding a new polished feel in the staterooms, restaurants and public areas, as well as technological advancements such as state-of-the-art TV systems with on-demand movies.
With so many refurbishment programs on the horizon, guests have plenty of options to enjoy the new shiny atmosphere without paying the premium of getting on board a newly launched ship.
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Cruise from Sydney to Tangalooma Resort on the world’s 3rd largest sand island, Moreton Island. Or departing from Brisbane, sail to stunning Airlie Beach – the gateway to the GBR where you can take day trips to iconic locations like Hamilton Island and Whitehaven Beach.