In the past five years there have been a plethora of new cruise ship builds, with enticing innovations.
Cruise lines have been constantly under pressure to “out innovate” their competitors to attract new guests, as well as their own past passengers, to the best vacation value in the world.
Now comes the next wave of pleasures to allure you to the “no packing and unpacking” way to spend your leisure time.
The first of these, the Norwegian Escape, is sailing as I write this.
The Escape features more dining venues, an Aqua Racer water slide, a three-level rope course, five zipline segments and four hot tubs that that bump out over the edge of the ship.
Holland America may have the most dramatic changes amongst the large, contemporary ships with the introduction of the Koningsdam. For the first time, Holland is introducing five person staterooms with two bathrooms and twelve cabins specifically for single travelers.
Also for the first time, the Koningsdam will feature a two-story swimming pool with a retractable dome. The pool area will change to a theater in the evening with an outdoor movie screen. Holland America’s first culinary center for cooking lessons and demonstrations will transform into a farm-to-table restaurant at night.
Since Seabourn divested itself of their older, much smaller ships, the line has had great success with the 458-passenger luxury class vessels, the Seabourn Sojourn, Quest and Odyssey.
Next up for Seabourn is an extension of this class, the Seabourn Encore, catering to 600 guests, all in suites. The Encore will begin its journeys in December, 2016.
Perhaps the most dramatic change in the luxury cruise segment will come from Regent Seven Seas with the introduction of the Seven Seas Explorer, the line’s first new build in several years.
The Seven Seas Explorer will cater to 750 guests, and feature wider balconies, free unlimited Internet inall categories, and, as is their custom, the most all-inclusive package of any cruise line — free airfare program, free shore excursions, free unlimited beverages including fine wines and premium spirits, free transfer between airport and ship and free specialty restaurants.
The Explorer will feature the cruise industry’s first and only in-suite spa.
Crystal Cruises will be the most aggressive of the luxury lines with a new, as yet to be named, class of luxury ocean liners and the first cruise line to feature yacht cruises and river cruises, as well as ocean cruises.
Oceania Cruises is already booking their brand new Sirena, the fourth of the “R Class” ships which include the Nautica, Regatta and Insignia. The Sirena inaugural is set to sail from Europe in the Summer of 2016.
Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, Carnival’s Vista, more new Viking River Cruises Longships, a yet to be announced Princess Cruises ship and several others on the drawing board round out the cruise industry’s five year plan to keep up the demand expected.
Cruise vacations have never been better and will continue to attract travelers with conveniences and amenities unrivaled in the world.