This year’s crop of newcomers include bigger and better versions of earlier classes of ship, as well as polar expedition vessels with 007-style gadgets and infinity pools.
Here’s my pick of the most exciting entrants for 2019…
Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
Special features: There will be thrills and spills with the longest go-kart track at sea, which extends 13ft over the side of the ship, and a water park including a double-loop chute.
Norwegian Encore will also boast a large open-air laser tag course based on the lost city of Atlantis and an augmented reality complex with an escape room, virtual maze and interactive theatre.
The big show on board will be the West End hit Kinky Boots. Britons will get an early look at Encore when it makes its maiden voyage from Southampton on November 2 on an 11-day crossing to Miami.
Spectrum of the Seas
Name: Spectrum of the Seas
Line: Royal Caribbean
Special features: The first in a new class of ship for Royal Caribbean, Spectrum will feature some established favourites, such as bumper cars, robot bartenders and a skydiving simulator, as well as new attractions.
The Ultimate Family Suite, accommodating up to 11 guests, will have a master bedroom that extends over the side of the ship for great ocean views, with extra accommodation for grandparents and other relatives.
The suite even has a recreation room with surround-sound equipment for a night of karaoke, films or video games.
The 4,200-passenger ship will make its debut with a 51-night voyage from Barcelona to Shanghai, taking in 13 countries, before a maiden season in Asia.
Line: Carnival Cruise Line
Special features: Panorama is the third Vista-class ship featuring an IMAX theatre, a large water park and cycling pods suspended from a track 150ft above the waves.
The ship, which will introduce the first-ever indoor trampoline park at sea, will make its debut in California on December 11 before starting a year of Mexican Riviera cruises.
Line: Scenic Cruises
Special features: This will be the James Bond of cruise ships with two helicopters and a submarine, heading off to explore areas such as the Arctic and Antarctic.
You don’t have to sacrifice luxury for adventure, though, as the ship will offer spacious veranda suites and fine dining restaurants.
Special features: The world’s first hybrid cruise ship is being built in Norway, ready for its maiden voyage from Lisbon to Hamburg on May 17.
Named after the first man to reach the South Pole, Roald Amundsen will take guests to the Arctic and Antarctic with facilities including a science centre, infinity pool, private hot tubs, a large observation area, underwater drones and the tallest LED screen at sea.
Line: MSC Cruises
Special features: Bellissima – meaning ‘most beautiful’ – will be christened in Southampton on March 2 with a host of celebrities on board.
The ship, the latest from Swiss-based MSC Cruises, will offer two new shows from Cirque du Soleil as well as a water park, ropes course, full-size bowling alley, Formula 1 simulator and a School of Magic for children.
Line: MSC Cruises
Special features: Another launch from MSC Cruises, which is churning out ships at the rate of at least one a year.
Grandiosa, which is slightly bigger than Bellissima and offers even more public space, will be christened in Hamburg on November 9 and sail to a new home port of Genoa, where it will commence seven-night sailings in the Mediterranean, including a visit to Southampton.
Line: Princess Cruises
Special features: Guests in the new top-deck Sky Suites will have the largest balconies ever offered by the cruise line, giving them a private view of the ship’s Movies Under The Stars screen.
The two rooms will have a 270-degree panorama and sleep up to five.
There is plenty to do for water lovers as the ship will have a new Wakeview pool on its aft decks as well as two deep-tank pools and more hot tubs than its sister ships Royal, Regal and Majestic Princess.
Line: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
Special features: Hanseatic Inspiration will be the second of two sister ships making their debut in 2019, following the launch of Hanseatic Nature for the German market in April.
Inspiration will be a bilingual expedition ship with the highest ice class to travel to the Arctic and Antarctic.
Retractable glass balconies on the Sun Deck will give the feeling of hovering directly above the water, while guests can stand on the foredeck of the ship to be even closer to the action than the captain.
Spirit of Discovery
Line: Saga Cruises
Special features: Made for the over-50s, Spirit of Discovery will feature a club by Jools Holland, who will play live on certain cruises.
Every guest will have a balcony and a choice of restaurants, from the grand dining room to oriental and seafood venues, as well as two pools, a spa and theatre.
Marella Explorer 2
Line: Marella Cruises
Special features: This isn’t an entirely new ship, but will receive an overhaul before joining Marella Cruises as its first adults-only vessel.
At the same time, the whole fleet will go all-inclusive as standard, to appeal to new cruisers and younger passengers. Like its sister ship, Marella Explorer, it will also have a Champneys Spa.
Also being launched this year are ships from Celebrity, Ponant, Viking, Costa and Majestic Line, among others.
Dave also writes about cruising on his award-winning blog, shipmonk.co.uk. Read his Metro.co.uk reviews on 2018’s new cruise ships Symphony of the Seas, Norwegian Bliss, Celebrity Edge, Carnival Horizon, Azamara Pursuit and Marella Explorer.
by – metro.co.uk