This Week in Cruise: Eye on New Small, Luxury Ships

 The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

This week in the cruise industry brought a number of updates on the progress of upcoming new small and luxury cruise ships. The new Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, Azamara Club Cruises and Lindblad Expeditions all made new announcements. 

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection celebrated the keel laying for its inaugural yacht at a ceremony in Vigo, Spain. The ship is set to launch in late 2019, marking the luxury hotel brand’s entry into the cruise sector. 

Reservations for the new yacht will open in May. It will offer itineraries in the Mediterranean, northern Europe, Caribbean and Latin America, with a capacity of up to 298 passengers. 

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Also this week, Azamara Club Cruises announced new details regarding the refit and inaugural voyage of its newest ship, the Azamara Pursuit. The Azamara Pursuit, which previously sailed as the Adonia for Carnival Corporation’s Fathom brand, will undergo a transformation to be almost identical to its sibling vessels, the Azamara Quest and the Azamara Journey, the cruise line said. The R-class ship will go into wet dock in Belfast this spring, before embarking on its inaugural voyage from Southampton, England, in August, visiting eight destinations throughout Norway.

The inaugural voyage will depart Southampton on August 1 and travel to eight Norwegian destinations, including Kristiansand, Flam and Haugesund, with overnight stays in Oslo and Bergen. Azamara Pursuit’s sibling ship, Azamara Journey, will also be docked in Haugesund on the same day, marking their first meeting. Azamara Pursuit will then depart Southampton for an Iceland-intensive voyage on August 13, before a special christening voyage on August 28. The ship will then depart Southampton once more on August 30 for its 13-night Wine & Romance Voyage.

Finally, in expedition cruise news, this week Lindblad Expeditions cut steel on its first polar newbuild

The new, as-yet-unnamed ship is slated for delivery in 2020. It will incorporate a number of new features, such as the patented X-BOW, which provides fuel efficiency while significantly improving guest comfort in rough seas; and a very high ice class for access deep into polar regions.  The ship’s expanded fuel and water tanks provide for extended operations in remote areas; while the zero-speed stabilizers will ensure stability underway, whether at zero speed when stopped for wildlife observation, or embarking/disembarking the ship, Lindblad said.

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