Nothing creates marketplace excitement and cruise demand more than the “buzz” associated publicly about new ships. The latest Seatrade Order Book lists 21 new ships set for delivery next year. Among the most eagerly awaited new cruise ships from the Class of 2019 are these:
Spectrum of the Seas: In June 2019, Royal Caribbean International’s 4,246-passenger Spectrum of the Seas will start sailing from Shanghai. While custom-built for the Chinese market, the ship is likely to attract westerners too. As the first Quantum Ultra-Class ship, it will debut a new private enclave for Golden and Silver Suite guests, including keycard access, a private elevator, dedicated restaurant and lounge, exclusive amenities and access to The Balcony for sunbathing and The Boutique, a shopping area where guests can book private shopping experiences.
The new Sky Pad has a virtual reality (VR), bungee trampoline experience — passengers can strap in, don a VR headset and head out to “another time and planet.” For a more earthly experience, they can forego the headsets and just jump. Other ship highlights include a new Star Moment karaoke venue, a new enhanced SeaPlex with augmented reality walls and floors; and a new two-level, 2,809-square-foot Ultimate Family Suite. Accommodating up to 11 guests, the three-bedroom suite will have a master bedroom with a bathroom extending over the ship’s side. A new specialty restaurant, Sichuan Red, will open in the Royal Esplanade.
Costa Smeralda: In November 2019, the 5,200-passenger Costa Smeralda, Costa Cruises’ new flagship, will set sail as the cruise industry’s first ship powered by clean-burning, liquefied natural gas (LNG). The ship’s name is a tribute to Sardinia’s “Emerald Coast” and the ship’s deck names and public areas are dedicated to Italy’s famous places and squares. For example, Deck 4 is Palermo deck, while Deck 20 is Trieste deck, and a three-level Colosseo will feature lounge bars, shows and large dome-and-wall screens that showcase imagery from each port of call.
Spanning three decks, Piazza di Spagna will be a large stairway with an open-air balcony on the top deck that has a glass floor. Another piazza, Trastevere, will feature such bars as the Venice-style Il Bacaro and the Gelateria Amarillo (an ice cream parlor) plus musical entertainment. The Passeggiata Volare walkway will deliver spectacular views from the ship’s highest point at 213 feet. One nifty space will be the 4,305-square-foot CoDe or Costa Design Museum, curated by Matteo Vercelloni and featuring many designers who’ve contributed to the ship’s construction and the line’s success.
MSC Bellissima & MSC Grandiosa: Carrying 4,415 guests, MSC Bellissima will begin sailing in March. It also will launch MSC’s digital cruise personal assistant, Zoe, a new feature of “MSC for Me,” a digital innovation program. Designed for use in staterooms, it will be available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Mandarin. Guests can quickly and easily find out information from Zoe rather than asking in person at the Guest Relations desk. This new feature will also be available on the 4,827-passenger MSC Cruises’ Grandiosa, launching in November 2019.
MSC Grandiosa will debut two new Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, which guests can watch in a high-tech lounge while savoring a culinary experience. Clients who choose the Aurea Experience will have flexible dining and unlimited drinks in a dedicated restaurant. The new ship offers the upscale MSC Yacht Club (a ship-within-a-ship complex) plus such diverse accommodations as family options, balcony staterooms and duplex suites.
MSC Grandiosa will have a larger Mediterranean-style promenade than on MSC Meraviglia and Meraviglia-plus prototypes; it will feature shops, specialty restaurants and a new bar and lounge, L’Atelier Bistrot with lounge seating, a stage and dance floor, Impressionist art and terrace seating with Parisian bistro tables and chairs on the Promenade. Look for surprises such as flash mobs, themed parties and projections on a 323-foot-long LED Sky screen.
Norwegian Encore: The new 4,000-passenger Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Cruise Line’s fourth and final Breakaway-Plus class vessel, will launch in November 2019. The ship will home port at a new PortMiami terminal and cruise out of Miami every Sunday on seven-day voyages to the eastern Caribbean, between November and April 12, 2020.
Sky Princess: Debuting in late 2019, Princess Cruises’ 3,660-passenger Sky Princess will sail a three-day inaugural cruise from Port Everglades, FL, with a visit to Princess Cays. That will be followed by a series of seven-day eastern and western Caribbean cruises, roundtrip from Port Everglades through April 2020. Voyages will offer late-night stays in St. Thomas and Cozumel. As Princess’ fourth Royal-class ship, Sky Princess also introduces the line’s new Sky Suites, the ship’s largest staterooms and the first to accommodate five guests and offer the fleet’s largest balconies with luxury furnishings. Sky Suites will have 270-degree views from the top of the ship and exclusive views of the Movies Under the Stars screen. Guests can also expect new suite amenities.
Carnival Panorama: The 3,954-passenger Carnival Panorama, a Vista-class ship, will sail its first cruise for Carnival Cruise Line in December 2019. Exciting for West Coast clients and travel agents alike is that it will sail from Long Beach, CA, as the first new Carnival ship to be home-ported in the region in 20 years. Its seven-day itinerary will depart from Long Beach every Saturday to the Mexican Riviera, including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.
Top activities? Look for the SkyRide, a bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction. Carnival Panorama will also have a massive WaterWorks aqua park, SportSquare open-air recreation area and Cloud 9 Spa. A vibrant Havana section will feature tropics-inspired staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool. Family Harbor will offer extra-roomy accommodations.
Viking Jupiter: The latest in Viking Ocean Cruises’ popular series of 930-passenger oceangoing ships, Viking Jupiter will be christened in Oslo, Norway, in June 2019 by Sissel Kyrkjebø, a well-known Norwegian soprano. She was a favorite singer of Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen’s late mother. Viking Jupiter will feature 465 staterooms with verandas. Public spaces feature serene Scandinavian design, a focus on cultural enrichment and al fresco dining opportunities. Itineraries also feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.