WHETHER you are new to cruises or a veteran of the high seas, you’ll be spoilt for choice when booking one this year.
A fantastic array of shiny new ships are emerging from the dockyards in 2019, offering a huge variety of experiences and destinations.
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best new ships to sail the world’s oceans, along with some well-priced packages to get you onboard.
From adults-only ships to family friendly vessels and even one with a go-kart track, there’s something new for all budgets and tastes.
HOLIDAYMAKERS on the new Sky Princess can look forward to an outdoor cinema and a relaxing adults-only Sanctuary when it sets sail in October.
The 3,660-passenger vessel, which will spend its maiden season in the Mediterranean, improves on the design of sister ships Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess.
Highlights will include a soaring central Piazza-style atrium, Princess Live! entertainment venue and twice as many private cabanas than any other Princess ship.
Kids will love the new Camp Discovery youth and teen centres, while the entire family will be spoilt for choice at a wide variety of dining venues including the Salty Dog Grill, Alfredo’s Pizzeria, Vines Wine Bar, Chef’s Table Lumiere and World Fresh Marketplace, with updated decor and design throughout.
Seven nights aboard the Sky Princess is from £598pp based on two sharing an inside state room, sailing round-trip from Fort Lauderdale and calling at Princess Cays, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.
Includes main meals and entertainment. Flights not included. See princess.com.
MSC is launching two exciting new ships for 2019, the Grandiosa and the Bellissima.
Guests aboard both ships will have the opportunity to see two original shows by Cirque du Soleil as well as slip and slide their way around on-board waterparks.
MSC Grandiosa will be based in the Mediterranean in winter, taking in all the sights without the crowds, while MSC Bellissima will be sailing from Dubai.
Also new for 2019, MSC’s Caribbean-based ships will be calling at a new private island in the Bahamas from November.
The Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will see passengers enjoy everything from snorkelling on a coral reef to relaxing in a beach cabana on the island’s two miles of white sand.
Excursions will last into the evening, allowing for star-gazing and romantic sunset tours aboard a catamaran.
Nine nights’ all-inclusive on the Bellisima sailing from the UK is from £899pp, based on two sharing an inside cabin.
The inaugural sailing is from Southampton on March 4 stopping at La Coruna, Spain, Lisbon, Portugal, Valencia, Spain and Marseille in France before flying back to London Stansted. See cruise1st.co.uk.
Norwegian Cruise Line
THIS company has an enormous new ship which features the world’s largest motor race at sea. It will cruise this winter from Miami to the Caribbean.
The Encore will have options to suit most budgets – from studios for solo travellers to Haven spa suites with access to an extra pool and private spaces.
Guests can enjoy a laser tag arena, virtual reality complex and aqua park, plus a “walk the plank” challenge.
And it’s 3,500metre go-kart track hangs 13ft over The Encore’s side.
The Tony Award-winning musical Kinky Boots will be performed on board, too.
A seven-day, all-inclusive Eastern Caribbean cruise departing from Miami costs from £1,049pp based on two sharing.
Ports include San Juan (Puerto Rico), St Thomas (US Virgin Islands) and Tortola (British Virgin Islands). Flights are not included. Get 500 US dollars (£383) on-board spend if you book before April 1.
Find out more at ncl.com.
SAGA’s first purpose-built ship is launching this summer.
The boutique vessel will offer private balconies for every guest and a wide choice of free speciality restaurants.
Music lovers can relax at The Club by Jools Holland, a venue inspired by a 1950s music lounge. Jazz legend Jools will even be performing on certain sailings.
For a small taste of the new ship, perfect for first-time cruisers, how about a four-night sailing which includes the quirky German islands that make up Heligoland.
Depart Dover for Amsterdam and enjoy a relaxing boat ride along its historic canals, or go your own way to explore the museums and cafe lifestyle.
Spirit of Discovery will then anchor off the little-visited historic archipelago of Heligoland, made up of two sandy islands.
Finally, wrap up your mini cruise with a full day in Zeebrugge, with time to explore the medieval charms of Bruges.
Four nights’ all-inclusive departing Dover on September 9 is from £1,102pp, including chauffeur service up to 250 miles, all meals on board, 24-hour room service and a choice of wines at lunch and dinner. See travel.saga.com/cruises.
YOU will jump for joy when you see what is being built on the new Carnival Panorama.
Launching in December, the 4,000-passenger ship will have the first indoor trampoline park at sea. The two-deck facility, made in partnership with Sky Zone, will include a a climbing wall, jousting beam and “Sky Ladder” climbing apparatus.
The family friendly vessel will also feature a massive WaterWorks aqua park, a suspended-ropes course and a SkyRide aerial attraction. Younger kids will love Seuss At Sea.
With a host of indoor and al fresco dining options, the ship will run a year-round Mexican Riviera service based at Long Beach California.
A seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise departing Long Beach on December 14 – visiting Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta – is from £699pp including 50 dollars (£38) in onboard credit per stateroom. Call 0808 234 0680 or see carnival.com.
WHILE P&O’s hotly anticipated new ship Iona doesn’t arrive until 2020, there’s plenty to get excited about in 2019.
The British cruise line has launched a unique series of shore experiences, with its renowned Food Heroes in Norway.
Chef Marco Pierre White, patissier Eric Lanlard and wine expert Olly Smith will each bring their expertise and flair to a series of excursions.
The culinary experts will guide small groups of guests on a mission to learn more about local delicacies and to discover how top Norwegian chefs cook with regional produce.
The unique guest experiences will be offered across seven cruises in 2019, before going on sale for Iona’s maiden season in the Norwegian Fjords from May 2020.
Eric’s artisan foodie adventure can be enjoyed from £170pp on three cruises next year. This includes a seven-night cruise of the Norwegian Fjords from £599pp, departing April 27, 2019. For further details, see pocruises.com.
Come dancing at sea with P&O
MANY are struggling to fill the glittery void in their weekends since Strictly Come Dancing came to an end. But now fans of the BBC show can head to the high seas for their fill of sequins and samba.
P&O Cruises’ Strictly Come Dancing holidays are set to return and this year’s line-up features love-to- hate judge Craig Revel Horwood, above, and pro dancers including Giovanni Pernice, Janette Manrara, Aljaž Skorjanec and Oti Mabuse.
Guests will not only be dazzled by the slick dance displays but will also have the chance to perfect their own moves with private one-to-one dance lessons with one of the pro dancers.
Other opportunities include a glamorous dinner hosted by a pro dancer, autograph sessions, Q&A events and the chance to strut their stuff in a Strictly Come Dancing competition, which culminates with a Grand Final in the ship’s theatre. With four different ships and destinations on the Strictly programme to choose from, there is a holiday to suit all ballroom or Latin lovers.
The 13-night Canary and Portugal cruise aboard The Britannia departs from Southampton on April 7 and costs from £999pp.
Stops along the way include Maderia, Le Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Lisbon.
See pocruises.com or call 03453 555 111.
EXPLORER 2, launching this summer, will be Marella’s first adults-only ship.
Among three new venues is clubhouse bar, the 19th hole, with quirky golf buggy seating and two golf simulators.
Then there is Flutes, a sophisticated bar catering for prosecco and champagne lovers, complete with “press for bubbles” buttons.
Beach Cove will serve up barbecue-inspired delights with an on-the-beach dining feel.
There will be a luxurious Champneys spa and world-class entertainment at the Broadway Show Lounge.
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Seven nights’ all-inclusive aboard Explorer 2 is from £729pp based on two adults sharing an indoor cabin, including flights from Birmingham on April 9.
Departing Palma, Majorca, calls include Livorno, Italy; Toulon, France, and Barcelona.
See tui.co.uk/cruise or call 0871 230 2800.
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