Jane Archer takes a look at the ocean-going ships that will hit the high seas next year
Princess Cruises’ first new ship for five years is among a small but sweet gaggle of ocean newbies launching next year.Just six new ships will enter service, and only five are destined to be sold in the UK (the sixth is the Aida Stella, targeted at the German market), but it’s an exciting bunch with three prototype vessels.
As well as Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess, Norwegian Cruise Line will be unveiling its first new ship since Norwegian Epic made headlines with its unusual profile and wavy cabins with bathrooms that lack privacy. Both attributes have been swept away on the new Norwegian Breakaway, replaced with more exciting features.
The third prototype is Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2, a beautiful new ship with loads of space that takes the cruise line into the realm of modern luxury and gives it a solid base from which to win over the UK market.
MSC Cruises starts the launch ball rolling in March with MSC Preziosa, a sister to MSC Divina, and a ship originally ordered by Libya when Colonel Gaddafi was in control. The end point is July with Compagnie du Ponant’s Le Soléal, a sister to Le Boréal and L’Austral.
Capacity: 3,502 passengers
Launch date: March
In a nutshell: Family-friendly ship that has an exclusive Yacht Club with butler service. There are four swimming pools, a bowling alley, Formula 1 simulator, 4D cinema, a spa and gym, casino, and kids’ and teen clubs.
Wining and dining: Three dining rooms, a themed speciality dining room and restaurant exclusively for Yacht Club passengers.
Sample product: From £649 cruise-only for a seven-night Western Mediterranean cruise from Genoa on June 9.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE
Capacity: 4,000 passengers
Launch date: April 30
In a nutshell: Lively family ship with a Splash Academy for kids aged three to 12 and Entourage for teens. There are single cabins for solo travellers, and a restricted-access Haven for swanky suites that are hidden away at the top of the ship.
Wining and dining: The Waterfront and Ocean Plaza 678 house multiple restaurants and bars including a Brazilian steakhouse, Cagney’s steakhouse and Ocean Blue for seafood and sushi.
Sample product: From £1,739 for a seven-night cruise from New York to Bermuda and back on September 8 including flights and transfers.
Capacity: 516 passengers
Launch date: May 11
In a nutshell: Stylish all-suite, all-balcony ship offering modern luxury and bilingual German and English cruises. There’ll be cookery classes, a pool with a sliding roof, kids’ and teens’ clubs, and free cruises for the under-12s.
Wining and dining: Eight places to eat including Asian, Mediterranean and French speciality restaurants, and a sushi bar, and private dining for up to 16 people in the Speisezimmer.
Sample product: From €3,380 cruise-only for a seven-night cruise from Lisbon to Barcelona on May 25.
Capacity: 3,600 passengers
Launch date: June 10
In a nutshell: Stylish but fun for families, with large play areas for kids. A glass-bottomed SeaWalk that extends 28ft over the ship’s side. Couples can rent cabanas, and get fit on gym machines.
Wining and dining: A redesigned self-service has individual serving stations; in the evening, one half becomes a speciality restaurant. Sabatini’s Italian trattoria moves next to Vines Wine Bar in the atrium.
Sample product: From £1,499 cruise-only for a 12-night Grand Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Venice on June 23.
COMPAGNIE DU PONANT
Capacity: 264 passengers
Launch date: July 1
In a nutshell: Yacht-like ship with French style and trendy open-plan cabins and suites. There are two lounges, a spa and theatre for day-time talks and evening shows. The ship has a strengthened hull for cruising through ice and carries inflatable zodiacs for excursions in polar destinations.
Wining and dining: The self-service buffet becomes a waiter-service grill in the evening. There is also fine-dining in the restaurant.
Sample product: From £2,164 cruise-only for a seven-night round-trip cruise from Reykjavik that circumnavigates Iceland on July 23.
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