This Week in Cruise: New Ship Updates From Ritz-Carlton, Carnival and Celebrity

Celebrity Edge Grand Plaza

It’s been another busy week on news for new cruise ships.

In the luxury sector, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection announced the name for its first ship: the Azora, a Spanish word derived from “azure” and “azul” and meant to reflect the fact that blue is the signature color for the Ritz-Carlton brand. The move brings the new cruise brand from Ritz-Carlton Hotels one step closer to its February 2020 launch, when the Azora will set sail with 149 suites, each with its own private terrace, as well as two 1,098-square-foot Owner’s suites.

Meanwhile in large ship news, this week Carnival Cruise Line announced that it will name its first XL-class ship the Mardi Gras, which was the name of the first Carnival ship that entered service in 1972. Also set for a 2020 debut, the new Mardi Gras will be the largest Carnival ship ever constructed, with a capacity of over 5,200 passengers. It will also be the first ship in North America to be powered by eco-friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG), Carnival said.

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In expedition cruise news, this week Lindblad Expeditions - National Geographic welcomed its second newbuild ship to the fleet, the National Geographic VentureThe ship's christening ceremony was held in San Francisco. The 50-cabin ship will now offer cruises in the Pacific Northwest, Baja and Alaska. 

Finally, this week Celebrity Cruises hosted a naming ceremony for the new Celebrity Edge, with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai acting as the ship’s godmother. Yousafzai, who is now a college student at Oxford University, is the co-founder of Malala Fund, which advocates for a world where every girl can learn and lead by investing in local education activists, holding global leaders accountable and amplifying girls’ voices around the world.

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