Get ready for another big year of cruise ship launches. From luxury ships to mega ships to sailing vessels and expedition ships, 2017 will see 13 new ships set sail. Read on for information about each of them, and watch our video, too.
The 600-passenger all-suite, all-balcony Seabourn Encore set sail in December 2016 and will be christened in January in Singapore. New features include The Retreat, a relaxation space where guests can rent one of 15 private cabanas, as well as the line’s first sushi restaurant. Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller’s The Grill, which debuted on Seabourn Quest in 2016, is expanding on Seabourn Encore and includes a bar, lounge, and wine tasting room. Seabourn partnered with another big name for its onboard entertainment: Tony, Oscar, and Grammy winner Tim Rice will debut a concert-style production of his greatest hits.
National Geographic Endeavour II
After an extensive refit, the 96-passenger National Geographic Endeavour II
— formerly the Via Australis —
set sail in December. The expedition ship cruises the Galapagos Islands
, where its shallow draft lets it get close to wildlife. It is also equipped with expedition gear, such as wet suits, snorkeling equipment, kayaks, and a fleet of Zodiacs. Plus, photo instructors, videographers, and wildlife specialists are always on board.
Norwegian Cruise Line
and Princess Cruises
are the latest mainstream lines to try their luck in China. The 3,900-passenger Norwegian Joy
is the line's first purpose-built ship for Chinese travelers and will homeport in Tianjin and Shanghai after it launches in March. It will have many of the same features and public spaces as Norwegian Escape
, but will also cater to Asian guests with a two-level racetrack, an expanded casino, a Korean hot pot and barbecue restaurant, and a tea toom.
Princess Cruises 3,560-passenger Majestic Princess will also homeport in Shanghai after its April launch. Harmony, which will serve Cantonese cuisine by Michelin-starred Chef Richard Chen, will be one of two new specialty restaurants onboard. The ship will have nearly 12,000 square feet of luxury stores.
Viking Sky and Viking Sun
With 930 passengers each, sister ships Viking Sky and Viking Sun will launch in March and December respectively. Both ships will have identical deck plans and features to Viking Star and Viking Sea — such as all-balcony staterooms, the two-deck Explorers’ Lounge, and the Scandinavian-inspired LivNordic Spa. In 2017, Viking Sky will cruise the Mediterranean and northern Europe, before retracing the Viking explorer route from Norway to North America. Viking Sun will depart in December for a 141-day world cruise.
Celebrity Xploration and Celebrity Xperience
Not ones to miss out on more opportunities to see iguanas, blue-footed boobies, and tortoises, Celebrity Cruises
is also upping its game in the Galapagos. Both of these all-inclusive ships, launching in March, are small but the 16-passenger Celebrity Xploration
has only eight cabins. Celebrity Xperience
, which also underwent an extensive remodel, can carry 48 passengers on its seven-night sailings. Their small size will allow the two vessels to call on ports that the slightly larger Celebrity Xpedition
cannot, such as Darwin Bay and El Barranco.
The 596-passenger Silver Muse
sets sail in April. It’s the ninth ship in the luxurious Silversea
fleet and the line’s first new build in seven years. The all-suite ship will have eight restaurants, including La Dame, created with Relais & Chateaux, as well as two completely new concepts. The Asian-inspired Indochine and the seafood-heavy Atlantide will occupy the space that is the main dining room, The Restaurant, on other Silversea ships.
National Geographic Quest
This Lindblad ship is a brand-new build. Quest will launch in June, carrying 100 passengers on expeditions to the northern parts of Alaska's Inside Passage before heading south to Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize. Fleet firsts include balconies, and connecting cabins for groups. It will also be fully equipped with expedition gear, but our favorite feature may be underwater audio and video equipment to capture the sights and sounds of marine life, including whales and dolphins.
The 5,700-passenger MSC Meraviglia will be one of the biggest ships in the world when it launches in June. The mega ship will be the largest MSC Cruises ship to date with three more ships in its class slated to sail by 2020. MSC Meraviglia will have a dedicated lounge for exclusive shows from Cirque du Soleil, which will be the brand’s first at-sea project. The ship will also have a two-deck indoor amusement park, three large pools, and an expanded aqua park.
MSC Meraviglia will sail the Mediterranean when it launches but MSC Seaside will head straight to the U.S. when it launches in December – a first for the line as it looks to attract more American passengers. The 5,100-guest ship will cruise year-round from Miami to the Caribbean. MSC Seaside will have an expanded MSC Yacht Club – the line’s ship-within-a-ship concept – and a promenade that wraps around the whole vessel with outdoor spaces, shops, and restaurants.
When it launches in December, the five-masted 300-passenger Flying Clipper will not only be the largest ship in the Star Clippers fleet but will also be the largest square-rigged sailing vessel ever built. The vessel — which has 32 sails — is modeled after a legendary 20th-century sailing ship, the France II. Guests can also expect to see familiar spaces, including the alfresco Tropical Bar, a water sports platform, and two on-deck pools.
Kristen Boatright is the New York City-based senior video editor of ShermansCruise.com.