This Week in Cruise: 4 Big Updates on New Cruise Ships

Rendering of the design concept for Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler

It’s been another busy week for new cruise ships. Here are the latest developments to keep on your radar. 

Crystal Cruises has pushed back the launch of its new Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler river cruise ships to August 13 and September 30, 2017, respectively. In comments provided exclusively to Travel Agent, Edie Rodriguez, chairman, CEO and president, Crystal Cruises, said that the change was to ensure a great first impression for the new ships, which incorporate many advanced features like glass roofs, skylights, and retractable sun-roofs over public spaces, as well as cutting-edge technologies in the two ships’ suites.

“You have only one chance to have a great first impression so we want our new builds to be flawless,” Rodriguez said.

In ocean news, Celebrity Cruises has announced plans to promote its newest ship, the Celebrity Edge, with a cross-country “Leading Edge Mobile Cinema” tour. From March 29 through June 20, the tour will make 48 stops across the United States, showing a 15-minute movie promoting the new ship at various events like the Sonoma International Film Festival and the California Jazz & Wine Festival.

The first in an entirely new class of ship for Celebrity Cruises, the Celebrity Edge will incorporate new features like a “Magic Carpet” area off the side of the ship that scales its 16 decks throughout the day and evening. Bookings are now open, with the ship set to make its inaugural voyage December 16, 2018, after which it will offer two seven-night Caribbean itineraries.

Also in 2018, Royal Caribbean’s newest Oasis-class ship, Symphony of the Seas, will set sail in Europe. This week Royal Caribbean announced its 2018 Europe deployment, including details on the new ship’s itineraries there.

The ship will sail for the first time from Barcelona, Spain, in April 2018, offering summer itineraries in the western Mediterranean. Starting April 21, the ship will sail seven-night itineraries from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples/Capri, Italy. Highlights will include visits to Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia Cathedral and tours of the museums of Florence. Roundtrip sailings from Rome will also be available.

Looking further ahead, new cruise brand Virgin Voyages continues to count down to the launch of its first ship. This week Virgin Voyages announced the design team for its first new ship at a steel cutting ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, which was broadcast live on Facebook.

In all 10 design teams will comprise the “creative collective” that will design the new ship’s public and private spaces. They are:

  • Roman and Williams - Stephen Alesch, Co-Founder; Robin Standefer, Co-Founder
  • Concrete Amsterdam - Rob Wagemans, Architect / Creative Director / Founder; Kasia Hiejerman, Architect
  • Design Research Studio - Tom Dixon, Creative Director; Gareth Payne, Head of Interior Design; Helen Arvanitakis, Managing Director
  • Gem SRL - Giacomo Mortola, Architect / Founder
  • Softroom - Chris Bagot, Director & Co-Founder; Oliver Salway, Co-Founder
  • WORKac - Dan Wood, Co-Founder
  • Knibb - Sean Knibb, Founder
  • HL Studio - Patrick Hegarty, Owner; Emil Leon, Creative Director
  • HKS inc. - Olga Acosta, Associate Principal, Interior; Adele Cuartelon, Designer
  • Pearson Lloyd - Luke Pearson, Co-Founder

The new ship will homeport in PortMiami in 2020, offering a series of Caribbean itineraries. It will have a capacity of 2,700 guests.

Stay tuned to our New Cruise Ships page for the latest news on new cruise ship announcements, launches and updates.