It’s been another busy week for new ship construction in the cruise industry.
Over the weekend Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Endeavour II set sail one month ahead of schedule, on an inaugural 17-Day Epic Galápagos Photography Expedition.
Billed as the newest and most family-friendly ship in Galapagos, National Geographic Endeavour ll offers the choice of suites on two decks, double cabins with beds that can be configured as two twins or a queen, seven sets of connecting cabins for families and friends, triple cabins, and dedicated solo cabins, which are equal in size and amenities to the doubles. The ship’s shallow draft affords up close viewing from all public spaces, large windows in cabins and suites, state-of-the-art tools for exploration, and a fast twin Zodiac loading platform.
In other adventure cruise news, Oceanwide Expeditions has announced plans for a new cruise ship of its own, the Polar Class 6-rated Hondius. The new ship will be built in Croatia by shipbuilder Brodosplit for a scheduled 2019 debut.
The Hondius will be 350 feet long, with cabin categories ranging from suites and superiors to twin and quadruple cabins. Guests will be able to enjoy outdoor actives such as kayaking, snowshoeing, mountaineering, zodiac cruises, scuba diving, photography workshops and ship-based helicopter trips to the Ross Sea and the Emperor Penguins in the Weddell Sea.
In terms of construction updates, Seabourn celebrated the keel laying for the new Seabourn Ovation, set to make its debut in spring 2018. That ship is a sibling vessel to the Seabourn Encore, which was just delivered on November 30.
Both new Seabourn ships carry 600 guests based on double occupancy and are designed by famous hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany to build on the line’s Odyssey class, which was launched between 2009 and 2011, with one additional deck and newly expanded public areas. New features include The Retreat, a relaxation area with private cabanas, and a Spa Treatment Cabana for personalized spa services. Additionally, all suites onboard have a private verandah.
Finally, this week MSC Cruises and STX France held a traditional steel cutting ceremony at STX France in Saint Nazaire on Monday to mark the official commencement of construction of MSC Bellissima, the second of the Meraviglia generation of ships that will come into service in 2019.
Part $10.2 billion investment that will see MSC Cruises’ capacity triple over the next ten years, MSC Bellissima is due to become the fourth of 11 next-generation ships due to come into service over this period, the cruise line said.
With a gross tonnage of 167,600 GRT and total capacity for more than 5,700 guests, this new cruise ship will be the largest in MSC Cruises’ fleet, along with MSC Meraviglia.
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for the latest cruise industry news, trends and updates.