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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Where will all the passengers come from?

Image result for norwegian bliss

Norwegian Escape above, Norwegian Bliss to set sail in April 2018.

Where are all the passengers going to come from?

I have to think this question troubles cruise executives now and then more than they let on.

One of the best answers I have heard in awhile comes from Riccardo Casalino, chief marketing officer at MSC Cruises’ headquarters in Geneva.

Over lunch in at semi-permanent catering tent at the Fincantieri shipyard in Manfalcone, where MSC is building several vessels, Casalino shared some of MSC’s perspective on various cruise issues, including supply and demand.

The question is as critical for MSC as any cruise line out there. It has 11 large ships on order through 2026, having already grown its capacity by 800% since 2003.

Image result for msc meraviglia

Of course, MSC is looking to North America for growth, by devoting its MSC Seaside to year-round Caribbean cruises from Miami. MSC executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago perhaps spilled the beans a bit early by announcing at a shipyard event that MSC would have three ships in Miami during the 2019-2020 winter season.

And there’s further growth afoot in MSC’s European back yard, Casalino said.

But another opportunity is the emerging middle class in countries all over the world that are making the transition from third world to first world.

China, clearly, is everyone’s favorite example. But Casalino cited another country with an intriguing new population of potential cruisers: South Africa.

There, tens of thousands of black residents that were oppressed and kept out of the middle class during the country’s apartheid years are discovering leisure travel for the first time.

“They’re in a country where for most of them, it’s a new thing for society at large to take a packaged vacation,” Casalino said.

The level of education on how to do that is understandably low. In South Africa, MSC gets questions that it would hardly ever field in the U.S. or Europe.

“They call us up and want to know if they should bring bed linens,” Casalino said. “Or whether they should bring food along for us to cook. They want to know how it works.”

The vast potential for growth among the new to cruise has become somewhat of a cliche at conferences where panel discussions debate cruise topics.But MSC is showing that behind the cliche there are real people and real potential customers waiting with new hopes and new dollars to find out how it works.

P&O Cruises Australia Loses Vista Class Newbuilding

P&O Cruises Australia Loses Vista Class Newbuilding

Carnival Corporation has revealed that the new 133,500 gross ton cruise ship, originally designated for P&O Cruises Australia brand, will join Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet in late 2019.

The 4,200-passenger ship, being the third vessel in the company’s Vista class, is currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard in Italy.

The ship’s name, homeport and itinerary details will be announced at a later date, according to Carnival.

Instead of the Vista-class cruise ship, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Splendor, built in 2008, will be transferred to P&O Cruises Australia in late 2019, the company said.

The first Vista-class ship, the 133,500 gross ton Carnival Vista, was handed over to Carnival Cruise Line in April 2016.

Carnival Cruise Line has now two additional ships joining its fleet – Carnival Horizon, which is scheduled to be delivered in March 2018, and the third, yet-to-be-named Vista-class vessel.

Earlier this year, Carnival Corporation finalized contracts with Fincantieri to build five new cruise vessels, including the one intended for P&O Cruises Australia, as part of a memorandum of agreement signed in 2015.

Including the five new ship orders with Fincantieri, Carnival Corporation has a total of 16 new ships scheduled to be delivered between 2016 and 2020.