There are 24 cruise ships due for delivery in 2019, including a strong selection of expedition and luxury vessels, but these are the 8 ‘mass market’ ships we’re most excited to sail on in the coming year, including one that’s homeporting in Dubai and two that will cruise from Dubai to Asia.
The cruise industry continues to be the fastest growing sector of the travel industry globally, with 27.2-million people having taken a cruise in 2018, an increase of 6% compared to 2017, and a growth of 20% compared to just five years ago.
To keep up with this growing demand, cruise lines are launching ever-larger and more advanced cruise ships. The big three cruise corporations (Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian) all have giant new cruise ships due for delivery in 2019, while the world’s largest independent cruise line MSC Cruises, will be introducing two of the largest cruise ships it has ever operated (Bellissima and Grandiosa).
Below is our selection of the 8 cruise ships we’re most looking forward to experiencing in 2019, out of a total of 24 cruise ships being delivered in the coming 12 months.
MSC Bellissima – March, 2019
Gross tonnage: 167,600
Passenger capacity: 4,500
Destinations: Europe/Asia/Middle East
Cost: US $900-million
At 167,600 gross tons and with a passenger capacity of 4,500, MSC Bellissima is undoubtedly the cruise ships we’re most excited to welcome in 2019, primarily because she is homeporting in Dubai for the coming winter cruise season between November, 2019 and March, 2020. She will be the newest and largest cruise ship ever to cruise roundtrip from Dubai in the Arabian Gulf.
The ship will be especially popular with families, as she features “cluster cabins” that allow up to three staterooms to be interlinked. Near Field Communication technology also allows guests to access their cabins, make onboard payments/booking and to locate their kids by using a bracelet, onboard card or smartphone. This feature will mark MSC Cruises’ entry into the wearable technology market pioneered by Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line.
There are 12 creative new onboard dining options, including the Mediterranean Village (speciality dining) and the exclusive Yacht Club Fine Dining Restaurant, as well as other new to the line eateries. In addition to these 12 dining options, there will also be 20 bars and lounges. The ship’s bars will mainly be located in or near the Royal Caribbean-style indoor Promenade.
A two-level entertainment district with an LED dome ceiling that displays a blue sky, starry-night or multi-coloured display depending on the time of day. Up top, there will be a large water park, a solarium with a retractable roof, a 4D Cinema, F1 car simulator, Flight Simulator and a Super Amusement Park – and that’s just scratching the surface!
Costa Venezia – March, 2019
Gross tonnage: 135,500
Passenger capacity: 4,232
Cost: US $780-million
Costa Venezia is the Italian cruise giant’s newest China-bound cruise ship. At 135,500 gross tons and carrying 4,232 passengers, she’s one of the largest cruise ships ever built for Costa, and one of the largest homeporting in China. Most exciting for the Middle East cruise market however is the fact that she will be cruising from Dubai in 2019 on her way to her new Asian cruise market.
While Venezia won’t be the first Costa ship to be dedicated solely to the Chinese and wider Asian market (Costa Fortuna cruised via Dubai on her way to Singapore in 2016), she will be the first Costa ship designed solely with that market in mind. She’ll also be the first Costa ship to homeport in Shanghai, and she’ll cruise from Dubai on her way to Asia, giving Middle East passengers a chance to experience the new ship.
Costa Venezia will feature a Norwegian Cruise Line-style waterfront promenade with outward facing bars and restaurants providing immense sea views. While details about her dining concepts and entertainment are yet to be announced, its likely she’ll have at least as many bars (13) and restaurants (six) as Costa Diadema, Costa’s slightly smaller cruise ship which is homeporting in Dubai for the 2019/2020 season.
Up top, her pool deck features an aqua park with a water slide, high-rope garden, and mini-golf course. The pool deck is covered with retractable glass roof, beneath which sits the Beach Club (adults only complex) with a swimming pool, waterslides, rock climbing wall and sports deck area.
Spectrum of the Seas – April, 2019
Gross tonnage: 167,000
Passenger capacity: 4,200
Cost: US $950-million
Spectrum of the Seas is the newest in the groundbreaking Quantum-class of cruise ships from Royal Caribbean. At 167,000 gross tons she rivals MSC Bellissima for size, but is packed with a whole host of bells and whistles exclusive only to Royal Caribbean. Like Costa Venezia, she is also cruising from Dubai in 2019 as she makes her way to China, where Royal Caribbean will homeport her for her inaugural season.
Spectrum of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s first Quantum Ultra ship, which means she has the same basic design as Quantum, Anthem and Ovation of the Seas, but is slightly larger and packed with a whole host of new to the line experiences and features. Her very first cruise will be a 16-night voyage from Barcelona to Dubai, followed by 14-night cruise from the Arabian Gulf to Singapore departing on May 4th, 2019.
Spectrum of the Seas will feature 16 dining options and bars (such as the Bionic Bar with robot bartenders), as well as a range of entertainment and novelty experiences, such as the North Star viewing pod that lifts passengers up and over the side of the ship on a hydraulic arm.
There’s also the iFly by RipCord, Royal Caribbean’s skydiving simulator, FlowRider surf simulator, and the Sky Pad topdeck aft-located bungee trampoline with optional virtual reality gaming headsets. This is in addition to the Royal Theatre, Music Hall, and seven other lounges and cafes.
Costa Smeralda – October, 2019
Gross tonnage: 183,900
Passenger capacity: 5,224
Cost: US $950-million
Costa Smeralda is an example of two major trends shaping the cruise industry, size and emissions. She is the largest cruise ship ever to be ordered by Costa Cruises and is the first of the line’s new LNG-powered cruise ships, giving her a smaller environmental impact through cleaner emissions. Smeralda is the latest of Carnival Corporation’s Helios-class vessels, her sister ship’s are AIDAnova, delivered in 2018, and P&O’s new cruise ship Iona, due for delivery in 2020, as well as Carnival Cruise Line’s new Carnival Mardi Gras also due in 2020.
While Costa Smeralda wont feature any ‘cruise industry firsts’ on-board, she will be a remarkable evolution of the line’s cruise product. She is a full 50,000 gross tons larger than the next-largest cruise ship in the fleet (that’s larger than RMS Titanic!) and will have more than a dozen bars and 11 restaurants – including Teppanyaki, Pummid’Oro Pizzeria, Tutti a Tavola (family, with live entertainment activities) and Laboratorio del Gusto (Taste Lab, with create-your-own dinner options).
Deck 16 is the main outdoor activity deck with a water slide, water park, high rope garden, and mini golf. The pool deck is covered with a retractable glass roof and like Venezia has a Beach Club (adults only complex) beneath it, with an activity area with 2 waterslides, rock climbing wall, and sports deck area. This deck also has a giant LED wall for movies and other outdoor video entertainment. The ship has dedicated club lounges for teens, kids, and toddlers.
Costa Smeralda’s panoramic glass elevators also connect the outdoor areas. There is a 45-m above water level located glass-bottomed skywalk, huge wellness complex (Organic Spa and Fitness), plaza with numerous bars and shops, Atrium Lobby lounge (meeting place with stage for street performers), and large-capacity Theater (show lounge).
Sky Princess – October, 2019
Gross tonnage: 141,000
Passenger capacity: 3,660
Cost: US $760-million
Sky Princess may be the fourth ship in Princess Cruises’ fleet-leading Royal-class, but she’s no generic copy. Princess Cruises have been careful to incorporate a number of ‘first in the fleet’ elements into her design. She features the largest balconies in the Princess fleet and indeed the world, and is home to a host of new dining concepts never before seen at sea.
Like her sister ship, Majestic Princess, which cruised from Dubai earlier this year, she has 19 decks, 16 bars and restaurants, a glass-enclosed walkway over the ocean known as the SeaWalk, a huge luxury spa and a host of other features unique to the ship, such as the Sky Suites, the largest balcony cabins in the world.
In comparison to her Royal-Class sister ships, Sky Princess has the new Wakeview swimming pool (aft-located) plus 2 deep-water top deck swimming pools and the Retreat Pool (adults-only). She also has more Jacuzzis (including 2 cantilevered, over the deep-water pools).
The expanded Sanctuary area offers a new design and twice as many private cabanas. The Vista Lounge has also been redesigned and the ship features Princess Live, a new cafe serving quick bites, specialty teas and barista-made coffees.
Norwegian Encore – October, 2019
Gross tonnage: 164,600
Passenger capacity: 4,200
Cost: US $1.1-billion
Norwegian Encore is the latest in the Breakaway-Plus class from Norwegian Cruise Line.
Like her sister ship Norwegian Bliss, she will feature a massive Observation Lounge, an expanded Haven area, an even larger race track, and a wonderful oceanside promenade concept that places most of her eateries and bars on the promenade deck, with a widened companionway and outward-facing design that creates a waterfront feel.
The expanded The Haven “ship within a ship” luxury area has been one of the greatest winners for NCL with the Breakaway-Plus class. It has an outdoor terrace, private restaurant, a courtyard area covered with retractable roof, swimming pool, whirlpools, spa treatment rooms, sauna, and a private sundeck.
There are also more Haven Suites and Penthouses, and in the rest of the ship, Spa Suites, and Studios for passengers cruising on their own.
Another clear winner in this class is the racetrack, laser tag arena, and the huge array of complimentary dining options.
Aboard Norwegian Encore there will be 11 to choose from, as well as new flavours at signature specialty restaurants, such as Le Bistro, La Cucina, Cagney’s Steakhouse and Bayamo by James Beard Award winning chef Jose Garces. Like her sister ship Norwegian Bliss, she’ll even have a full-size Starbucks outlet.
Up top, Norwegian Encore will have an Aqua Park with Double Aqua Loop (two multi-deck waterslides – one hull-extending loop, one with transparent loop section stretching down to the below deck) and 2 racing slides (high-speed inner tubes with a length of over 110 m / 360 ft) both with a transparent section. Pool Deck 16 has 2 swimming pools (located away from midships) and cantilevered whirlpools over the ship’s sides. A top-deck water fun kids zone has splash pads, tipping buckets, water cannons and slides.
There are facilities for toddlers, children and teens aboard Encore, as well as 34 separate lounges, entertainment options or facilities, such as the Theatre, spa, fitness centre or Vibe Beach Club.
MSC Grandiosa – November, 2019
Gross tonnage: 177,100
Passenger capacity: 4,888
Cost: US $900-million
While MSC Bellissima is the latest in the Meraviglia-class, and is huge in her own right, MSC Grandiosa will be the first of the cruise line’s Meraviglia-Plus vessels. She is even bigger, carries even more passengers and will boast a whole range of new features intended to expand MSC Cruises’ market share among North American cruise passengers, and of course its European home market.
The ship will feature 12 new dining options, such as the Mediterranean Village speciality restaurant and the exclusive Yacht Club Fine Dining Restaurant. The buffet is open for longer (20 hours per day) for international cuisine, Mediterranean specialities, itinerary-based themed food (with locally sourced produce), and healthy and dietary dishes. Fine dining options include Kaito Sushi Bar, Kaito Teppanyaki Restaurant and American-style steakhouse featuring specialty meats from all around the world.
Like Bellissima, MSC Grandiosa will have a large water park connected to an indoor amusement park on two levels, and to a 2-deck interior promenade featuring specialty restaurants, bars, and duty-free shops. The Promenade is covered by a LED dome ceiling (called “digital sky”) displaying visual shows.
There will be 12 weekly Cirque du Soleil shows in Carousel Lounge, accommodating 120 passengers for dinner, plus additional 290 seated guests for drinks. On the pool deck, she’ll have 4 swimming pools (including a 25-metre Atmosphere pool – by night illuminated with special lighting, 10-metre indoor Bamboo pool, Horizon pool at the back of ship – transformed into a dance space at night.
Grandiosa will boast a total of 31 lounges, bars and entertainment areas, such as the two-level Super Amusement Park, cinema, theatre and main nightclub and a 4D Cinema and Flight Simulator.
Carnival Panorama – November, 2019
Gross tonnage: 135,500
Passenger capacity: 4,000
Destinations: Mexican Riviera
Cost: US $780-million
The third cruise ship in Carnival Cruise Line’s Vista-class, Carnival Panorama will mark a number of firsts for the world’s largest cruise company, from her homeport and cruise destinations to her eateries and onboard amenities.
Among her 1,832 staterooms (72 Suites, 880 Balcony, 293 Oceanview, 723 Inside, 35 wheelchair accessible, 61 Cloud 9 Spa cabins) there will also be aft-view extended balcony cabins, which first debuted aboard her Vista-class sister-ships. These new cabins are exclusive to Panorama’s Family Harbor area.
Carnival Panorama also offers 18 tropics-inspired staterooms situated within the Havana section. Just like the other 86 staterooms found within Family Harbor, the brand new aft-view extended balcony cabins boast a colorful nautical theme and are situated adjacent to the ship’s Family Harbor Lounge, the ultimate family hangout with large TVs and complimentary snacks and breakfast.
Located aft on Deck 6, 8 and 9, the Havana staterooms offer exclusive access to Havana area which includes a Cuban-themed bar and pool. They also feature vibrant interiors reminiscent of Cuba’s capital.
There will be 12 restaurants and food-serving bars on-board, including two main dining rooms, Horizons and Reflections and a Japanese specialty restaurant named Bonsai Teppanyaki, located within the Bonsai Sushi restaurant on the Promenade Deck.
Up top, she’ll feature SkyRide, the industry’s first open-air, pedal-powered aerial ride, and SkyCourse ropes circuit within the SportsSquare area. Panorama will also have an expanded “Seuss at Sea” kids program with its “Dr Suess WaterWorks”. The aquapark has 2 distinctly different waterslides up on Deck 12. There are among 29 lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens and adults aboard the new ship.
Categories: Cruise Industry