This Week in Cruise: Two New Cruise Ships Move Toward Debut

Symphony of the Seas Float Out
An earlier float-out ceremony for Symphony of the Seas.

Two major new cruise ships are set to make their debut over the next two months. 

Royal Caribbean just took delivery of the new Oasis-class Symphony of the Seas. That ship, which now holds the title of largest cruise ship in the world, will set out on a special five-night preview sailing March 31, after which it will depart April 7 on its official inaugural cruise from Barcelona. The ship, which includes new features like a New England-inspired seafood eatery and a massive, two-level family suite with an in-room slide, will sail the Mediterranean this summer from Barcelona before heading to Miami November 10, becoming the first ship to depart from the cruise line’s new Terminal A on a lineup of eastern and western Caribbean cruises. 

In April, Seabourn will take delivery of the new Seabourn Ovation, which just completed final sea trials this week. The new ship will begin its debut season with an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5, 2018, from Venice to Barcelona, after which it will offer a number of sailings primarily in northern Europe


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Looking further ahead, this week Norwegian Cruise Line opened bookings for the new Norwegian Encore, which is set to being sailing the Caribbean in the fall of 2019. The fourth and final Breakaway Plus-class ship will cruise out of Miami every Sunday, and sail seven-day voyages to the eastern Caribbean, beginning with its first journey on November 17, 2019, through April 12, 2020.

2019 will also mark the debut of Carnival Panorama, the first new Carnival Cruise Line ship to debut on the West Coast in 20 years. Carnival opened bookings for those sailings as well this week. Starting December 14, 2019, Carnival Panorama will offer a three-port, seven-day itinerary from Long Beach, departing every Saturday to destinations along the Mexican Riviera, including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta

Finally, this week MSC Cruises announced that it will christen its next flagship, the MSC Bellissima, in Southampton, UK, on March 2, 2019. The new ship will mark the debut of a new, voice-activated digital assistant that will help guests access customized information about their trip. 

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