The cruise industry is experiencing success year upon year, with annual growth and operating at a capacity close to 100 percent. According to the Cruise Industry Overview 2018, 2017was recording break year with 25.8 million global cruise passengers, an increase of 4.5 percent on 2016.
Having experienced a whopping 20 percent rise in demand since 2012, cruise companies are working around the clock to expand their fleets and construct new innovative designs – forward thinking in style, function and on board entertainment.
According to Cruise Industry News, a record of 24 new ships will set sail in 2019, with even more to launch the following year. Here are four to watch.
Spectrum of the Seas 2019
Passenger Capacity: 4,246
Destinations:Asia, including Shanghai, Okinawa, Nagasaki and Fukuoka, before cruising to Vietnam, more Japanese cities and the Philippines.
Special feature:The state-of-the-art three-bedroom Ultimate Family Suite, spread over two levels, measuring over 260sq² and accommodating up to 11 guests.
The newest ship by Royal Caribbean, and the first in its Quantum Ultra Class, Spectrum of the Seas will make its debut in April 2019. It’s advanced and innovative entertainment offerings include a virtual reality bungee trampoline experience, magnificent indoor SeaPlex, with basketball, bumper cars and roller skating, a sky diving wind tunnel, adult solarium pool with retractable roof, a luxurious spa and fitness center and a two-story music hall. In addition, guests will be able to swing over the ocean in a glass capsule, with spectacular panoramic views.
Over 2,000 staterooms are on board, including 14 suite categories – each suite containing a balcony with a hot tub.
Sky Princess November 2019
Passenger Capacity: 3,660
Destinations: Mediterranean and Caribbean
Special feature: The multistory European-styled Piazza, designed to incorporate the essence of squares throughout Europe, presenting street performers and glass-encased elevators for a view of the action.
As the fourth ship in Princess Cruises’ Royal Class fleet, and the newest addition to Princess Cruises, the Sky Princess will make set sail in October 2019. Around 80 percent of the ship’s cabins will have a balcony, and some suites accommodating up to five people, including its ultra-luxurious Sky Suite with dining area, master bedroom and bathroom, a second bedroom, the largest balcony at sea measuring over 1000ft² and 270 degree panoramic views. The ship will also contain more Jacuzzis than its sister fleets, as well as an adult only sanctuary relaxation space with cabanas.
Norwegian Encore 2019
Passenger Capacity: 3,998
Destinations:The Caribbean in fall and winter and Bermuda in 2020
Special feature:A multi-story aqua park, suspended 159 feet above the sea, with looping water slides. A second aqua park will be on offer to kids.
The Norwegian Encore is the 17th ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line, as part of its contemporary fleet collection. Sailing from the very end of October 2019, its creative design and range of on board entertainment is one of the most diverse on any cruise ship. Built for the most action packed family vacation, the ship has the largest racetrack at sea spanning over 1100 feet, laser tag, a virtual reality maze and 180 degree view interior lounges.
The back of the ship contains The Haven, where a range of luxury cabins, offering a 24-hour butler service, present innovative designs and a private sun terrace.
Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady 2020
Passenger capacity:Over 2,770
Destinations: Caribbean voyages including stops in Havana, Costa Maya and Puerto Plata
Special feature: In a bid to maintain environmental sustainability, the ship will ban single-use plastic products on board, including straws, bottled water and shopping bags, instead opting for recyclable materials.
One of four Virgin Voyage fleets to launch in the coming four years, Scarlet Lady is due for arrival in Miami port in 2020. With the Baby Boomer generation accounting for the largest market share of cruises (Cruising.org), Virgin Voyages is honing in on the middle aged market with its first adult only cruise.
Designed as a sleek luxury liner encompassing the feel of a yacht, passengers can expect elevated on board pampering, with over 20 dining options, spas, fitness classes and ocean-view gyms. The majority of cabins will feature a balcony and an ocean view, with a choice of 78 suites, including the showstopper Massive Suite, complete with a guitar-clad music room and terrace with a ‘peek-a-view’ outdoor shower, hot tub and hammocks.