Top New Ships on the Horizon

Viking Star has Scandinavian decor and a glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern.
Viking Star has Scandinavian decor and a glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern.

When it comes to new cruise ship orders, “we can actually see out to 2020, believe it or not,” said Adam Goldstein, chairman of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and president, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., in talking to 1,300 agents attending the recent cruise3sixty at Port Everglades, FL. “The orders that have been made are farther forward than ever seen before.”

In total, 55 ships are on order for delivery between 2015 through 2020, a $25 billion investment. “Size doesn’t matter,” he noted, citing the public’s fascination with everything from river vessels to small, medium, large and mega-sized ocean ships. Here’s what’s new with oceangoing vessels carrying 500-plus passengers.

British travel agent Emma Wilby recently christened Royal Caribbean International’s 167,800-ton, 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas. The ship is now sailing from Southampton, U.K., and will reposition to Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ, this fall. Clients might soar over the ship in the North Star aerial observatory or head for the RipCord by iFLY skydiving and FlowRider surfing simulators.

“We Will Rock You” is a new production show on the ship. Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean’s senior vice president, sales, trade support and service, told reporters at cruise3sixty that the themes of the show will be incorporated into advertising and marketing materials moving forward.

In 2016, Royal Caribbean’s 4,180-passenger Ovation of the Seas, a 168,600-ton Quantum-class vessel, and Harmony of the Seas, the latest Oasis-class ship, will also begin service.

Also newly launched is the 930-passenger Viking Star, Viking Cruises’ first oceangoing ship. With modern Scandinavian decor, the ship was designed by the same team that created the Viking Longships that ply European rivers. The ship has both a glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern and a main pool with retractable roof.

Quirky? The spa has a Snow Grotto with snowflakes fluttering down from the ceiling. Sister ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, will launch in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The ships will sail in Scandinavia, the Baltic and the Mediterranean.

The new 164,600-ton Norwegian Escape will sail weekly seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises for Norwegian Cruise Line, starting November 14. The 4,200-passenger ship will be the largest ever to home port year-round in Miami. Itineraries include such destinations as St. Thomas, USVI; Tortola, BVI; and Nassau, the Bahamas.

The ship will be easily recognizable, thanks to signature hull artwork designed by marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey. Norwegian Escape will offer the first Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant at sea and the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar, a music venue and outdoor bar on The Waterfront. On the dining side, Chef Jose Garces will create a Latin seafood specialty restaurant and Pincho Tapas Bar.

Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas has accessible Balcony Staterooms offering guests an opportunity to make the most of their cruise adventure.
Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas has accessible Balcony Staterooms offering guests an opportunity to make the most of their cruise adventure.

The District Brew House, an urban craft beer hall, is being developed with Wynwood Brewing Company. The Cellars will be a family wine bar by Michael Mondavi and Tobacco Road, a Miami land-based bar, is also headed to sea on Norwegian Escape.

Eagerly awaited for 2016: Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 56,000-ton, all-suite Seven Seas Explorer will sail its 14-night maiden voyage from Monte Carlo to Venice on July 20, 2016. Highlights will include Ibiza and Barcelona, Spain; St. Tropez, France; and Venice.

The 750-passenger luxury ship will sail into Miami on December 2, 2016. During its inaugural Caribbean season, the all-suite, all-balcony ship will sail two roundtrip voyages from PortMiami before a Panama Canal cruise.

Top digs? The 3,875-square-foot Regent Suite is bigger than many houses; it has its own spa treatment room with tiled loungers, a steam room and more. Clients will dine at the Prime 7 steakhouse; Compass Rose, the ship’s main dining room; Chartreuse with modern, French cuisine; and La Veranda, with daytime buffet dining and a nighttime transformation to Sette Mari.

Holland America Line will launch its 2,660-passenger, 99,500-ton Koningsdam in early 2016. On Koningsdam, guests can dine at several alternative restaurants; a redesigned casual Lido Market with themed serving stations; cafes; an interactive culinary-themed walkway; and a main dining room. Cooking classes will be offered in a dedicated Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine.

On February 20, 2016, Holland America’s Koningsdam will embark on a seven-day roundtrip Premiere Voyage departing from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, with calls at Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kérkira and Katakolon, Greece; and Naples, Italy. After that, it will operate six 12-day voyages.

One itinerary calls at Katakolon and Piraeus (the port of Athens), and continues onwards toward Rhodes and Crete, Greece, as well as to Istanbul and Kusadasi, Turkey and Naples, Italy. The second will feature Naples, Palermo, Sicily, Sardinia and Gibraltar, as well as Cádiz, Málaga, Cartagena and Barcelona, Spain.

In 2016, Carnival Cruise Lines will welcome the 3,936-passenger, 133,500-ton Carnival Vista, its largest ship. Innovative features will include SkyRide, a suspended open-air cycling experience; the first IMAX Theatre at sea; and an expanded water park featuring Kaleid-O-Slide, the line’s first raft-riding water tube slide.

The new vessel will debut May 1, 2016, with a 13-day cruise from Trieste, Italy; it’s Carnival’s first European voyage in three years. Carnival Vista will sail the Mediterranean with port calls throughout Italy, France, Spain, Croatia and Turkey. New destinations for the line will include Crete (Heraklion) and Corfu, Greece;  Valletta, Malta; Palermo, Sicily; Cagliari, Sardinia; and Gibraltar.

On October 21, 2016, Carnival Vista will embark on a special 13-day transatlantic crossing and arrive in New York on November 3, 2016, then operate a series of voyages from the Big Apple.

In late 2016, the 604-passenger Seabourn Encore will launch with 300 luxurious suites, each with a private veranda. The 12-deck Seabourn Cruise Line ship is being designed by hospitality icon Adam D. Tihany. Clients can expect the ship to be configured with one additional deck and newly expanded public areas. To follow the progress of Seabourn Encore, visit encore.seabourn.com.

The 40,350-ton Seabourn Encore will offer two pre-inaugural cruises and then on January 7, 2017, the ship will be named in Singapore and embark on a 10-day inaugural voyage to Bali. The ship will spend its maiden season operating 16-day Pacific Rim, Australia and New Zealand voyages.

Holland America Line will offer cooking classes onboard the Koningsdam, in its dedicated Culinary Arts Center.
Holland America Line will offer cooking classes onboard the Koningsdam, in its dedicated Culinary Arts Center.
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