The cruise industry continues to flourish in the new decade, as 32 million people are expected to cruise in 2020. To accommodate the rising interest, 24 new ships are expected to enter service this year. Here is a look at some of the most anticipated ships coming our way.
Debuting in April (and ahead of schedule!) will be the Celebrity Apex, carrying 2,910 guests. The 15th ship of Celebrity’s fleet has been designed to erase the boundaries between inside and outside spaces. Catching your eye right away will be the Magic Carpet – a cantilevered floating platform that serves as a tendering platform, an open-air bar, and an alfresco specialty restaurant as it traverses up and down the side of the ship.
The entire Resort Deck will carry an outward-facing design, with a terraced pool deck, a two-deck outdoor jogging track, and oceanview cabanas. Perched on the top of the ship is the Rooftop garden, an outdoor space to chill, catch a movie, or dance under the stars. No matter where you are, you will be inspired by and connected to the sea.
This connection continues with the accommodations onboard. You’ll find Edge staterooms with Infinite Veranda that transforms into an open-air living space with a touch of a button. For the ultimate in pampering, there are six categories of suite accommodations with panoramic views and luxurious furnishings. Suite guests have exclusive access to the Retreat Lounge, The Retreat Sun Deck, and a specialty restaurant serving the creations of Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud.
You won’t go hungry with 29 world-class dining venues onboard, serving many types of cuisines. And yes, you’ll dine surrounded by large windows and endless ocean views.
The Celebrity Apex will spend her inaugural season in Europe, starting with sailings to the Norwegian Fjords, followed by a series of 10- and 11-night sailings in the Mediterranean.
Arriving in June, the Enchanted Princess will be home to 3,660 guests and will continue to offer the signature Princess cruise experience with her own unique attractions.
Entertainment takes center stage with the headlining show Rock Opera, where high fashion meets rock music. This innovative production combines classic rock, opera and musical theater, featuring songs in English, Spanish, Latin, and for the first time – sign language. Jazz music fans will love Take 5, a theater delivering the cultural and musical history of jazz through live performances, dance lessons, and interactive workshops. Also onboard is the Phantom Bridge Escape Room, which will keep the entire family entertained as they solve their way out of a time-travel adventure.
In addition to dining favorites such as the Crown Grill and Sabatini’s, Enchanted Princess will also offer Bistro Sur La Mer, an authentic French bistro serving specialty dinners in a casual ambiance. For special occasions, book the Chefs Table Lumiere which includes a behind-the-scenes galley tour and a spectacular multi-course dinner.
Every stateroom will be furnished with the Princess Luxury Bed, designed with the latest research and technology for the ultimate in comfort. But the best in class will be the two-bedroom Sky Suite which measures approximately 1,873 square feet including a 270° continuous balcony that offers prime views of Movies Under The Stars screen, plus a series of exclusive perks.
Enchanted Princess will be sailing in the Central Mediterranean this summer and will reposition to Fort Lauderdale to offer Caribbean cruises in the winter.
In November, Carnival Cruise Lines will launch the Mardi Gras, named after the first ship to sail the waters with the Carnival name in 1972. This new Carnival fun ship promises to wow fans looking for an action-packed vacation at sea. The Mardi Gras will be home-based in Port Canaveral and offer seven-day cruises to the Caribbean.
The most anticipated zone on the Mardi Gras has to be the Ultimate Playground – which will be home to the WaterWorks aqua park with twisting water slides, splash zones, a 600-foot suspended ropes course, and the first roller coaster at sea. Yes, you read that right! On an 800-foot track, BOLT will whisk you 187 feet above the air, around Carnival’s signature red funnel, traveling up to 40 miles per hour if you want it – as its speed will be controlled by a foot pedal inside each car.
The ship’s public areas will incorporate six themed zones offering a variety of entertainment and dining venues. The heartbeat of the ship will be Grand Central, a light-filled atrium that is home to specialty restaurants, relaxing bars, and lounges.
Mosey over to the French Quarter, where you’ll find bites and beverages, a Jazz bar, and the first Emeril Lagasse restaurant at sea – Emeril’s Bistro 1396. For a little bit of Italy, check out La Piazza for family-style pastas, 24-hour pizzas, and other Italian favorites.
Outside, dip in the pool, catch some rays and chill with BBQ and craft beers at Summer Landing, featuring Guy Fieri’s Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse / Brewhouse.
Accommodations will be family-friendly with staterooms that sleep up to five. New onboard will be the Carnival Excel Suites, the top of the line accommodations with separate living and sleeping areas, wraparound balconies, and exclusive access to Loft 19 – a private enclave with cabanas, infinity pool, and dedicated concierge service.
4. MSC Virtuosa
MSC Cruises’ 18th ship – and one of the largest at 6,334 capacity – will arrive in early November. The amenity-filled ship includes an expansive Galleria central promenade lined with shops and eateries under an LED dome (think Freemont Street experience in Vegas), a large pool area with a big movie screen, the MSC Aurea Spa with treatment rooms, and MSC Gym powered by Technogym cardio equipment.
Known for the variety of entertainment and activity options, MSC will not disappoint with the Virtuosa, offering a Sportsplex gaming facility, F1 race car simulators, a full-sized bowling alley, a ropes course, an extensive aqua park, and two brand new Cirque du Soleil shows performed in the custom-built theatre.
Accommodations range from staterooms for one to cabins for families up to 10. At the top level is the MSC Yacht Club with lavish suites, 24-hour butler and concierge, all-inclusive meals and beverages served in-suite or at the club’s private restaurant. Other Yacht Club perks include complimentary visits to MSC Aurea Spa’s thermal area and exclusive access to The One Sun Deck and Top Sail Lounge.
A leader in onboard technology, MSC will incorporate sustainable, emissions-reducing systems into the design of the Virtuosa, as well as enhance the guest experience through the MSC for ME app and the world’s first personal cruise assistant ZOE, found in every stateroom.
MSC Virtuosa will sail the Mediterranean starting in November and will offer flexible embarkation and debarkation points, as well as itineraries of three to seven nights.
Also arriving in November will be Royal Caribbean’s second Quantum Ultra Class ship named Odyssey of the Seas. The Odyssey will feature the signature hallmarks of Quantum Class ships such as the North Star observation capsule, RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator, FlowRider surf simulator, and the SeaPlex indoor activity complex. In addition, exciting action can be found at the Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, glow-in-the-dark laser tag, and the SkyPad VR bungee trampoline experience. A Solarium, pools, and whirlpools offer relaxation for the adults, and Splashaway Bay aqua park will keep the kids busy.
Dining continues to be Royal Caribbean’s strong suit, with Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, Lime & Coconut cocktail bar, El Loco Fresh Mexican fare, and the robotic bartenders of the Bionic Bar taking center stage, along with classic venues like Chop’s Grille steakhouse, Windjammer Café, and whimsical Wonderland.
The Odyssey will feature accommodations for everyone from solo travelers to spa lovers and multi-gen families. The Royal Suite Class accommodations cater to discerning guests, with their own Royal Genie butler to take care of every need. Guests staying in the top suites will also have VIP access to the Suite Club with private dining rooms, an upscale Solarium, and a private sun deck.
Odyssey of the Seas will spend her inaugural season sailing to the Caribbean from Ft Lauderdale. In spring 2021 she will reposition to Rome and offer 7-12 night cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Greek isles.
6. Scarlet Lady
Perhaps the biggest news announcement made in recent years was that Sir Richard Branson is finally getting into the cruise business. Virgin Voyages will launch with the Scarlet Lady in March and it will begin sailing in April, offering four- and five-night departures from Miami to Key West, the Mayan Riviera, and the Beach Club at Bimini.
Virgin will disrupt the market with its innovative cabin design, and that includes special mood lighting, hammock-equipped terraces, and a Seabed that transforms from couch and lounger by day to beds by night. Then there are the Rockstar Suites, outfitted with a music room, an outdoor hot tub, and come with complimentary drinks, access to the spa thermal suites, Richard’s Rooftop lounge, and even a hair and make-up team – what every celebrity needs.
The adults-only (18+) cruise line will have the first sea-going tattoo parlor (yes, real tattoos!), all complimentary dining with over 20 eateries, and included beverages such as sodas, still and sparkling waters. To reduce nickel-and-diming onboard, gratuities are also included in the fare.
Public venues will exude a hip and sexy vibe. Music and nightlife will be the main focus, with boundary-pushing performances, private karaoke rooms, a vinyl records shop, and DJs spinning tunes. For the active set, there is an outdoor running track, a fully-equipped gymnasium, and complimentary fitness classes. Afterward, indulge in treatments at the Redemption Spa, dip in the pool, or chill on one of the double daybeds at the chic Aquatic Club.
We hope to see you aboard one of these fun and exciting ships. Pack your things and get ready to make new friends and new memories.