The year ahead is another exciting one for cruisers, with no fewer than seven new ships taking to the seas. From ultra-luxury to action packed and everything in between, there really is a ship to suit everyone. Whether you’re ready to experience the pinnacle of luxury cruising or your young family is looking to put the fun back into half terms, now is your time to get on board and experience some of the biggest and best ships ever built.
Harmony of the Seas – May 2016
When launched in May, Harmony of the Seas will become the largest ship in the world and if you’re taking to the seas in search of family fun, this is your ship. Daredevils can brave the tallest water slide at sea or take on a zip line suspended 120ft above the Boardwalk, whilst those in search of lesser thrills can hop on a colourful carousel, peruse the boutique shops of a vintage style arcade or stroll amongst 12,000 trees and plants in Central Park. Harmony will continue Royal Caribbean’s tendency to bring the best entertainment to the seas too, this time in the form of hit musical ‘Grease’.
The new Royal Suite Class will debut on Harmony of the Seas, bringing even more luxury to an already impressive suite experience complete with an all-inclusive fare combining drinks, on board gratuities, Wi-Fi and the services of a 24-hour butler. Another highlight for suite passengers is the exclusive entry afforded by your suite status; guests of Royal Suite Class will receive exclusive access to the Coastal Kitchen and a Thermal Suite, plus entry to the secluded Barefoot Beach on Royal Caribbean’s private island of Labadee.
Ovation of the Seas – April 2016
Ovation of the Seas will become the fifth Royal Caribbean ship to exclusively serve the Asian market. Following a segmented repositioning cruise from the UK to China, Ovation of the Seas will make its home in the Chinese port of Tianjin, with the exception of a short winter season spent in Australia.
Signature Quantum-class features such as the North Star and SeaPlex will remain, however Royal Caribbean has confirmed that the ship has been designed specifically to cater to the Chinese market, meaning entertainment will likely be paired down and casino spaces expanded. It has also been widely reported that pieces from China’s Imperial Palace Museum will be displayed on board, with speakers present to share insights on relics preserved from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Carnival Vista – April 2016
Carnival Vista is anything but bland and you’ll need your strongest sunnies to shield your eyes from the rainbow glare of the most colourful ship at sea. Family fun is Carnival’s priority and you’ll find plenty to keep the kids entertained, including the SkyRide pedal-powered aerial course and the first IMAX theatre at sea. A brewery and seafood shack are also new to the Carnival fleet. When it comes to accommodation, Carnival has cemented its reputation as a family favourite with the introduction of Family Harbor staterooms and suites. Guests will receive exclusive access to the Family Harbor Lounge, access to a family concierge service and a ‘kids eat free’ pass for most of the ship’s speciality restaurants, plus a free evening of Night Owl’s babysitting.
Regent Seven Seas Explorer – July 2016
Regent Seven Seas Cruises set expectations high when they announced that they were to build ‘the most luxurious ship of all time’. Fortunately, Regent Seven Seas Explorer looks set to meet their bold claims, with no expense spared in the creation of the six-star ship. The vessel will hold just 750 guests in luxurious all-suite, all-veranda accommodation, including the most lavish suite at sea; the Regent Suite will feature an in-suite spa and unlimited treatments, plus the services of a personal car and guide to explore ashore at your leisure.
Two new speciality dining venues will feature aboard Regent Seven Seas Explorer, including modern French gourmet bistro ‘Chartreuse’ and Pan-Asian restaurant ‘Pacific Rim’. Exclusive Gourmet Food Tours and Regent’s first every cookery school at sea have also whet the appetite of foodies.
MS Koningsdam – April 2016
MS Koningsdam will become the first ship in Holland America Line’s Pinnacle-class following its April launch and the cruise line has pulled out all the stops to make it their best ship yet. Renowned American interior designer Adam D. Tihany has previously worked on establishments in the Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental portfolio, and is now turning his hand to the design of the MS Koningsdam. Venues debuting on board include BLEND, the only purpose-built wine blending venue at sea, a new Culinary Arts Centre-cum-artisanal dining room and new seafood restaurant, Sal de Mer.
Seabourn Encore – December 2016
Seabourn Encore will become the most innovative ship in Seabourn’s successful Odyssey-class fleet, with designer Adam D.Tihany once again involved in the ship’s ultra-luxury design. The ship will feature one additional deck in comparison to Seabourn’s other ships plus expanded public areas and a private veranda on each suite. Whilst information on dining venues is still to be released, we do know that Thomas Keller, the American chef behind a trio of Michelin-starred restaurants including The French Laundry, Per Se and Bouchon, has been heavily involved in the creation of Seabourn Encore’s culinary offering, giving us high expectations. We’re looking forward to finding out more about Seabourn Encore as the year goes on!
Which of 2016’s ships are you planning to experience over the coming seasons? Let us know!