3 April 2019
Read Time: 3.8 mins
Much is happening in world of ocean cruise in the next two years, with a range of exciting new vessels both in the pipeline and taking their first voyages. As well as brand new ships, from a range of cruise lines, existing ships are adding new, never before visited ports to itineraries and expanding onboard and onshore experience offerings.
2019 is big year for maiden voyages with MSC Cruises' Bellissima and Costa Cruises’ new ship Costa Venezia both launching in March, followed closely by the Quantam-class Spectrum of the Seas by Royal Caribbean International sailing ex-Miami. Saga Cruises will launch Spirit of Discovery mid-year; MSC Cruises' Grandiosa will launch in October and NCL’s Norwegian Encore, with a homeport of Miami will follow. In November, Princess Cruises' Sky Princess will sail from Europe and Carnival Panorama from LA. Costa Cruises also adds a new class to its fleet with Costa Smerelda late in 2019.
2020 will be another exciting year; launches include Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady sailing from Miami; Celebrity Apex takes its maiden voyage; P&O Cruises’ MS Iona sails in May; Spirit of Adventure by Saga Cruises will set sail in July; Princess Cruises’ Enchanted Princess in June; Carnival Mardi Gras launches August; MSC Cruises' Virtuousa sets sail in September; and P&O's Pacific Adventure and RCI's Odyssey of the Seas, both sail in October.
Scenic, renowned for traversing the inland waterways and rivers of the world, this year tackles the expedition market launching its first ocean cruise ship and what it’s calling the “world’s first discovery yacht” the Scenic Eclipse. The ship marries luxury, discovery and safety, while focusing on adventurous and experience-based itineraries, according to the cruise line.
Ship-Shape Updates & Innovations
Following a $700 million modernisation, Celebrity Cruises’ popular vessel Celebrity Eclipse will use Melbourne as its homeport, a first for the cruise line. Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess also makes her way to Australia for the first time, sailing out of Sydney from November 2020. The new cruise terminal at Port of Brisbane is set to be completed in 2020, marking the start of a landmark partnership with with Carnival Cruises; Carnival Spirit will sail from Brisbane, using the Queensland capital as its homeport from 2020.
Celebrity Edge – a recently launched ship featuring a range of exciting tech innovations – is the first to offer interconnecting stateroom cabins and verandas, with 178 possible options, ideal for families and friends travelling together.
Both Enchanted Princess and P&O’s Pacific Adventure are appealing to the family market with new 5-berth cabins. For foodies, celebrity chef Luke Mangan has paired up with P&O to create a new dining experience, Salt Grill, exclusively available on Pacific Jewel, Pacific Eden, Pacific Aria and Pacific Dawn.
Wellness is the new frontier in cruising: Virgin Voyages' first foray into cruising Scarlet Lady will offer a new concept called ‘Vitamin Sea’, a selection onboard classes and sessions ranging from high intensity activities to relaxation and rejuvination experiences; Seabourn has introduced a range of shore excursions that its calling “wellness-focused adventures” set in UNESCO World Heritage sites; and Avalon Waterways will introduce an ‘adventure host’ to curate shore excursions for guests who want to keep fit.
Small ship and adventure cruising is also on the rise, with destinations like the Galapagos Islands (Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Flora will sail here from May 2019), Antarctica and more tropical locations like Indonesia, the Spice Islands and East Arnhem Land all attracting cruisers after a more intimate and untouched cruising experience.