This Week in Cruise: Six New Cruise Ship Developments to Watch

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

This past weekend MSC Cruises welcomed its new flagship, the MSC Meraviglia, to the fleet with an official christening ceremony led by the ship’s godmother, Sophia Loren, over the weekend. The event took place Saturday in Le Havre and was broadcast live on Facebook.

MSC Meraviglia will commence its inaugural voyage from Le Havre to Genoa on June 4 and then its summer itinerary from Genoa from June 11. MSC Meraviglia will offer multiple embarkation ports in the Western Mediterranean including the ports of Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona as well as visit other much sought after Mediterranean destinations including Naples, Messina in Sicily and Valetta in Malta.

The christening ceremony follows the official delivery of the new ship, where MSC Cruises announced more details on its other, upcoming World Class of ships.

This week MSC Cruises said that the new World Class will be powered by a new generation of environmentally friendly liquid natural gas (LNG) engines. They will also have a new generation waste water treatment system.

Other World Class amenities will include 2,760 staterooms for a maximum occupancy of 6,850 guests, which MSC said is the highest passenger capacity in the global cruise fleet. The ships will have a “Y” shape structure that the cruise line said will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. The ships will also have G-shaped bows, vertically positioned at a 90 degree angle, in order to improve stability. The ships will also incorporate family-friendly villages, a panoramic aft, and a glass pool lounge.

Also over the past two weeks, Norwegian Cruise Line and MEYER WERFT celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Bliss. The new ship is due for delivery in April 2018 and will include amenities especially designed for Alaska cruises.

The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will accommodate 4,000 guests and will be the 12th ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to be built by MEYER WERFT.  During its inaugural summer 2018 season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from the recently expanded Pier 66 Cruise Terminal in Seattle. The ship's itinerary will have calls in KetchikanJuneauSkagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. 

In small ship news, the past two weeks saw the announcement of a new, wellness-focused cruise line: Blue World Voyages. Helmed by Miami entrepreneur and fitness professional Gene Meehan, the new cruise brand is planning to sail with three 350-passenger ships in its fleet.

In expedition cruise news, this week Ponant announced plans to install the world’s first underwater passenger lounge in the hull of its new Le Lapérouse. The Blue Eye lounge will be located beneath the vessel’s water line and offer guests a view of the ocean when the new ship sets sail in 2018.

Finally, in river cruise news, European river cruise operator Riviera Travel announced plans to launch four new ships in 2017 and a fifth ship in spring 2018, doubling the size of its current fleet. The all-suite MS Emily BrontëMS Thomas HardyMS Oscar Wilde and MS Robert Burns will sail the RhineMain and Danube Rivers, as well as tributaries, while the Douro Elegance will sail the Douro River

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