Exciting new ships are on the horizon

Crystal Endeavour - Crystal Cruises
Crystal Endeavor will be the line’s latest megayacht

Scenic Eclipse, Crystal Endeavor, and Seabourn Ovation join the luxury set, while Ponant will offer its passengers underwater lounges on four additions to its fleet.

New ships, new ports of call and a voyage around the world in 180 days are on the horizon over the next two years.

Megayachts Scenic Eclipse and Crystal Endeavor will be among the newcomers, while Seabourn is launching Ovation.

Ponant is gearing up for four new ships, all with an underwater lounge.

Scenic is hailing Eclipse as ‘the world’s first discovery yacht’. It will launch in August next year to carry 228 guests – down to 200 while in the Arctic and Antarctic. Each of the 114 suites will have a private veranda, lounge and butler service.

While guests will have the choice of nine dining options, the smallness of Eclipse – at only 16,500 tons – means it will be able to dock in more remote ports. But it’s big enough to boast two helicopters and a submarine.

Seabourn Ovation - Seabourn
Seabourn Ovation will be joining the fleet in May 2018

Ponant is set for a busy couple of years with the arrival of Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain in 2018 and Le Bougainville and Le Dumont d’Urville in 2019. All will have 88 cabins and four suites, each one with a balcony. The ships will also be the first in the world to have an underwater lounge, the Blue Eye.The 25,000-ton Crystal Endeavor will launch in 2019, cruising polar regions during the summer and autumn and following the route of migrating whales to Antarctica during the winter. A remote-operated vehicle will allow passengers to see sunken galleons, warships and liners such as Titanic.

Seabourn is introducing its latest ship – Ovation – in May 2018. Like Encore, launched this year, it will carry 600 guests, all with a private veranda, and measure 40,350 tons. “Seabourn Ovation will carry on the standard of ultra-luxury cruising that can only be found on Seabourn. We can’t wait to welcome our guests on board,” said company president Richard Meadows.

After some delay in construction, Star Clippers will finally say hello to Flying Clipper, the largest sailing ship in the world, with five masts and room for 300 guests, next year.

Many luxury lines are adding new destinations and overnight stays in the next two years. But the ultimate cruise for 2019 must be the 180-day world voyage on Oceania Cruises ship Insignia. It will travel 45,000 nautical miles across two oceans and 16 seas while visiting 90 destinations in 36 countries.

Le Laperouse - Le Champlain - Ponant
Two of Ponant’s new ships, Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain, will be launched next year

Bob Binder, the president and CEO of Oceania, said: “Our exciting 2019 Around the World journey offers guests an expertly crafted route spanning the four corners of the globe, touching on nearly 100 captivating destinations and dozens of UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is truly the journey of a lifetime.”

For the first time in the history of Crystal Cruises, both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will embark on world cruises next year, offering travellers four separate global itineraries.

With the ships meeting in Sydney on February 17, 2018, guests can switch vessels for a new route. Ranging from 97 to 129 nights, the voyages will travel to a combined 111 destinations in 45 countries with 50 overnights.

Silversea is sailing a 132-day world cruise in 2019, with Silver Whisper calling at 52 ports in 31 countries across five continents.

Nine writers, including Paul Theroux and Pico Iyer, will be invited on board to create short stories inspired by the destinations.

Cunard has launched its Oceans of Discovery programme for January to May 2019, including the cruise line’s first return to Alaska in more than 20 years with Queen Elizabeth. Queen Victoria will do a full 107-night western circumnavigation of the globe.

Regent Seven Seas is offering world cruises next year and in 2019 on Seven Seas Navigator. Looking even further ahead, it has announced a 131-night world cruise on Seven Seas Mariner, departing from San Francisco on January 24, 2020

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Crystal Cruises to renovate Serenity and Symphony again

The Crystal Symphony in Hong Kong.

Crystal Cruises said it will make major improvements to its two oceangoing vessels, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony.

In 2017 and 2018, the Serenity and Symphony will receive “massive enhancements” similar to the $52 million makeover Serenity got in 2013 and the $20 million redesign of Symphony in 2014, Crystal said.

One feature will be to reconfigure dining so that full open seating is available. A criticism of Crystal is that it doesn’t have dining capacity to accommodate all of its guests in one seating. Crystal also said there will be more suites.

The luxury line has announced plans to build three new-generation “Exclusive” class ships with high space ratios and residences on the top deck. The first of those was initially to be delivered in 2018, but that had been pushed back first to 2019, then to 2021 and now is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.

Crystal also pushed back the delivery date of the 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor expedition ship from 2018 to 2019, but said that it plans to build two additional such ships for 2020 and 2021. In addition, it has rebranded Crystal Yacht Cruises as Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises.

In the air, Crystal said it plans to add a second Global Express Jet to its Crystal Luxury Air fleet in 2017 due to the “popularity of the existing charter options, and travel partners and guests’ wishing to customize their vacation experiences with all things Crystal.”

On land, Crystal plans a marketing branch office in Sydney to open in 2017. An office in Amsterdam to support the operations of its river cruise fleet will officially open Nov.21, and a display center in Miami’s Boulevard Shops near downtown will open in spring 2017.

Crystal Cruises to build polar yacht

FORT LAUDERDALE — Crystal Cruises will add to its growing stable of luxury travel options by building a 200-passenger yacht with polar capabilities.

The 600-foot, 25,000-gross-ton Crystal Endeavor is scheduled to debut in August of 2018.

Crystal said the vessel will be the first purpose-built Polar Code-compliant yacht in the world with a PC6 Polar Class designation. As such, it would be able to cruise in polar regions during the summer and autumn in “medium first year ice which may include old ice inclusions,” Crystal said.

Crystal, which plans to build three 1,000-passenger ocean ships starting in 2018, already has a 62-passenger cruising yacht called Crystal Esprit.

Company president Edie Rodriguez announced the new yacht at the Seatrade Cruise Global conference here. She said Crystal Endeavor will come with a complete range of “toys” that are not commonly found on today’s mega-yachts, including two helicopters and two landing pads for flightseeing expeditions as well as two seven-person submarines, eight electric amphibious Zodiacs, personal watercraft, kayaks, fishing facilities, paddleboards, snorkeling and scuba equipment, a recompression chamber, a dive support tender and a multi-person ATV