Wow – with so much choice there really has never been a better time to take a cruise holiday. And if your spoilt for choice and not sure if there’s enough for you out there – then there are a plethora of new ships launching over the next few years…
Royal Caribbean International are launching the Quantum of the Seas in Autumn 2014, this will be the first of three next generation ships for the fleet. Quantum of the Seas really is packed with the latest innovations at sea including; the North Star (360 degree view viewing capsule that extends over the ship), bumper cars, the Two70 lounge that is a fantastic venue both day and night and the first for cruising ‘Virtual balconies’ essentially an inside stateroom with a TV screen floor to ceiling that shows a live link of the outside.
P&O Cruises will be launching their new Britannia ship in February 2015, it will be the biggest in the fleet, carrying over 3,600 passengers and built especially for the UK market. With lots of new features, and designed on 5* boutique hotels, she will still carry the traditional British cruising elements, with one of the largest spa at sea and a new giant union jack along the side of the ship, something that will be introduced across the whole fleet over the next few years.
Anthem of the Seas, the second of Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum class of ships will be launching in Spring 2015. During the summer she will be based out of Southampton offering itineraries in Europe before moving over to the Caribbean for Winter. All the facilities from Quantum of the Seas can be found on board Anthem of the Seas too.
Viking River Cruises are stepping into Ocean travel with the launch of Viking Star, the first ship to enter the fleet specifically for Ocean Cruising. Some of the old riverboat favourites from the lines other vessels will be included on board – the alfresco dining for example. A promenade will full circle the ship
Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest offering Norwegian Escape will launch in October 2015, she will be the first in the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway-Plus class, carrying 4,200 passengers. If you’ve sampled the lines latest editions – the Norwegian Breakaway or Getaway and thought they were impressive! Prepare to be amazed as Escape will have an additional deck of cabins and facilities! Two more ships are on order for Spring 2018 and Winter 2019 as part of the Breakaway-Plus class of ship, both unnamed and again, are expected to carry 4,200 passengers.
Holland America Line will launch their next vessel in February 2016, named as the ms Koningsdam, this will reflects the company’s roots in the Netherlands. ‘Koning’ meaning King in Dutch and ‘dam’ has been used in every Holland America passenger vessel name since 1883. This will be the companies first new ship since 2010.
In mid-2016 Royal Caribbean International will add the third ship to the Quantum Class fleet, the Ovation of the Seas. Joining her sisters Quantum & Anthem of the Seas she will include all the new features, North Star, Virtual balconies and lots more! Meanwhile a new ship will join the Oasis class fleet, with the possibility of a fourth launching mid-2018.
Ultra luxury line, Regent Seven Seas cruises will launch the Explorer in Summer 2016, it will be the largest in the fleet, growing its capacity by 40 percent. With 369 suites, six open seating restaurants, a stunning 9 deck atrium and two tier theatre.
Looking further ahead, Seabourn Cruise Line will add a further as-yet-unnamed ship to the fleet in the second half of 2016 and sister brand Carnival Cruise Lines will launch the Carnival Vista in Winter 2016. This will be the line’s first new ship since the Carnival Breeze in 2012, she will feature the line’s 2.0 enhancements and will be the 25th fun ship for Carnival.
Following on from the success of the Royal Princess and Regal Princess, Princess Cruises will build a third ship in its Royal Class of Ships. Currently little information has been released, but it is expected to cost in the region of 600 million euros! She will, however, feature the Princess favourites including the adult-only Sanctuary, Movie’s Under the Stars and lots of balcony staterooms.
MSC Cruises are adding a further ships to the fleet in 2017, 2018 & 2019, all are currently unnamed but are expected to hold a large number of passengers, become one of the biggest ships in the World, behind the Oasis and Allure of the Seas from Royal Caribbean
Cruising really is popular not only with Brits but around the World, over the next 5 years there are thousands of new cabins that will appear on innovate and ground-breaking ships. And as the popularity of cruising continues to grow, so will the number of ships…
I enjoyed a ship visit on Fred. Olsen Cruise Line’s Braemar whilst she was docked in Dover for the day.
Refitted in 2008, she carries around 900 passengers and is very much a relaxing home from home atmosphere. On board, it’s a very friendly welcome from all the staff who are on hand to help with anything or answer any questions.
The five deck atrium on board it very spacious, it makes the vessel feel stylish and comfortable. The Morning Light pub is a great venue for quizzes, relaxing or taking in some light entertainment. The main entertainment venue is the Neptune Lounge and the ships show company puts on a great performance! The Coral Club is an alternative venue with musicians, vocalists and more whilst the Observatory lounge offers excellent views out to sea and is ideal for pre-dinner drinks or an afternoon reading a book.
When it comes to dining the main Thistle restaurant is usually where you would eat most nights, the alternatives are the Grampian restaurant, which offers a more intimate experience or the buffet style Palms Café. The lido bar on deck is a place to eat, or drink alfresco.
The accommodation on board is comfortable with every amenity you could wish for one board, around 80 of the cabins have balconies, if you can book one of these it’s well worth it to wake up on your own private balcony in a new destination.
The cascading desks at the rear of the ship are another great place to sit out on deck. When sailing away, this is where the sail away parties are typically held and are a great experience and fun for everyone – the passengers & the crew! The ship also offers a library, shops and a spa/gym for pampering and relaxation.
Sadly I was only on board for a few hours, I will be looking to book to go on board for longer next time!