There will be a flurry of activity for the cruise industry in 2016 with a number of new and exciting new builds being launched, together with a number of ship enhancements taking place. Here is a summary of what’s taking place.
Koningsdam (Fincantieri, Italy) – New build for Holland America Line. The first of the Pinnacle Class of ships, Koningsdam will be the biggest in the HAL fleet and will be themed around music. Whilst the ship will preserve the classic HAL features found across their fleet, the ship will also feature a number of new features such as World Stage, a new take on the ‘main theatre’ with multiple LED screens across the venue, and Sel de Mer, a new for-fee restaurant for the line which will serve up French seafood in a traditional brasserie setting.
Viking Sea (Fincantieri, Italy) – The second in the Star class of ocean going ships for Viking, she will continue the principles set out by the line highlighting simple and modern elegance. Borrowing concepts from her sister and the line’s river ships, she will boast clean Norwegian design, high-class dining, as well as some of the lines signature elements.
Ovation of the Seas (Meyerwerft, Germany) – The third Quantum Class of ship for Royal Caribbean International, Ovation of the Seas will sail a short European season from The UK before moving to Asia and Australia. The ship will continue to have all the wow’s that her predecessors have such as Bionic Bar, the only robot bartenders at sea; North Star, a London Eye style capsule that is suspended above the ship; SeaPlex, an indoor multi-purpose amusement park; and Two 70 which affords views across the stern of the ship a full 270 degrees, acting as the ships living room in the day and becoming an extravagant performance venue at night. Details on further features she may possess are still forthcoming.
Carnival Vista (Fincantieri, Italy) – First in the Vista Class of ship for Carnival Cruise Lines, she will feature a number of new spaces (including a number of firsts for the industry), such as the first IMAX theatre at sea, a 450 foot water slide and a suspended open air SkyRide. In addition to the lines old favourites making a return, the ship will also feature an on board brewery and expanded areas such as an expanded Havana Club with pools and Jacuzzis overlooking the read of the ship. The ship will also feature a number of new types of cabins, from large family based cabins to cabins which open out straight onto the boardwalk.
Harmony of the Seas (STX France) – The next biggest cruise ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas is the latest in the Oasis Class of ship for Royal Caribbean. She will feature the seven distinct neighbourhoods which appear on Oasis and Allure of the Seas, but also a number of new venues and attractions. This includes a Bionic Bar and an expanded Wonderland for-fee restaurant. She will also introduce The Perfect Storm, three water slides at the top of the ship, together with a helter-skelter style slide called the Abyss. The Abyss will be 10 floors high and will propel people from the Sports Zone to the Boardwalk.
Seven Seas Explorer (Fincantieri, Italy) – Promised to be the most luxurious ship in the world, she will continue the lines more traditional elegance but incorporate a contemporary feel. She will boast some of the most amazing suites in the industry as well as some of the best gourmet food.
Seabourn Encore (Fincantieri, Italy) – Building on the design of the Odyssey Class of the ship, Seabourn Encore will feature an additional deck and 150 more passengers than it’s half-sisters. Award winning designer Adam Tihany has been employed to reimagine the spaces on board with an understated elegance.
Enhancements and refurbishments
Cruise lines are always looking to enhance their products in order to keep them fresh and exciting for customers. Whilst most cruise lines have an ongoing programme of refurbishment of their ships, some are more drastic than others and require significant time in dry-dock. Here are perhaps the most exciting transformations of 2016.
Azamara Journey (January) and Azamara Quest (April)
Azamara are looking to reimagine the onboard experience of both Journey and Quest. The ships will receive new furniture and décor throughout, including reimagined venues such as the Living Room (ex-Looking Glass), the Patio (ex-Pool Grill) and Kibo, a new pan-Asian restaurant located outside at the aft of the ships. All existing venues, including the spa, will also receive updates with an aim to make a more contemporary boutique feel for the ships.
The changes don’t stop there, all the ship’s staterooms will be renovated and will benefit from modern, contemporary décor. New spa suites will also be created.
Queen Mary 2 (May)
The Cunard flagship will undergo a significant refurbishment from May 2016 in Hamburg. The dry-dock will introduce new areas and venues to the ship, including staterooms and dining. Existing areas will also see a refresh with particular detail around taking inspiration from the original Queen Mary.
The refurbishment will renovate the Queen and Princess Grill suites and restaurants. The suites will be completely restyled and reconfigured to maximise space. In addition, Britannia staterooms will also be refurbished to a high standard. New single staterooms will be added to the ship for the first time, together with an expanded kennels for travelling pets.
Liberty of the Seas (January)
Liberty of the Seas will enter dry-dock in early 2016 where she will receive a new waterpark towards the aft of the ship. The Perfect Storm water park will include Tidal Wave, the first boomerang style slide at sea, as well as racer slides Cyclone and Typhoon. New venues will also be added to Liberty including Sabor, Giovanni’s Table and R Bar. Eighty-nine staterooms will be added, including 26 panoramic ocean-view rooms. In a similar vein, Majesty of the Seas and the ‘new’ Empress of the Seas will also receive major makeovers in 2016 including new slides and venues.
Thomson Discovery (June)
The ‘new’ Thomson Discovery will come out of dry-dock in June 2016. The ex-Splendour of the Seas moves to the Thomson fleet in April where she will become the biggest ship in the fleet and will receive a brand makeover to enhance the offerings for Thomas passengers.