Cruises have been booming this year, and this summer, many lines have returned their full fleet back to operation. Others are resuming itineraries that had previously been on pause. Expect new dining options, new destinations and plenty of deals to entice travelers back on board. These are some the latest updates and happenings from major cruise lines around the world for this summer’s busy travel season.
Seabourn launches first expedition ship
Seabourn Venture will take her maiden voyage this month from Tromso, Norway as the first, purpose-built expedition ship for the line’s fleet of ultra-luxury vessels. With so many luxury lines moving into expedition cruising, this is an exciting move for the cruise company and its loyal guests looking for all-inclusive sailings. It is also an indication of an evolving profile of guests showing interest in more active adventure when they travel. The ship will rotate between the Arctic and the Southern Hemisphere sailing to Greenland, Iceland, the Amazon and Antarctica.
Celebrity launches Houzz interior design partnership
If you’ve ever looked at the design of a space and wanted to recreate it for your own home, Celebrity Cruises wants to help. Its new partnership with Houzz, an interior design platform for both designers and enthusiasts to get inspiration, allows passengers to purchase products that are part of its ship design to enjoy at home. They can “shop the look” created by well-known interior designers Nate Berkus and Kelly Hoppen from the line’s newest ship Celebrity Beyond. Celebrity Cruises created its own brand page on the the design platform featuring products from cabins and public areas and is the first cruise company to make their onboard design elements available for people to purchase through such a platform.
Emerald Cruises grows luxury yacht destinations
As part of its growing list of destinations, Emerald Cruises is expanding the sailing destinations for Emerald Azzurra and Emerald Sakara for the 2023-2024 season. Among the new itineraries are visits to and around the Caribbean and Central America (including Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia), new ports of call in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas (like Sardinia, the Balearic islands, Casablanca, Gibraltar and the Canary Islands), and transatlantic trips. In total, the cruise company will add 15 new countries to its route map.
Scenic unveils progress of second discovery yacht
Despite not being fully completed, interested customers can watch the progress of Scenic’s newest discovery yacht, Scenic Eclipse II, on a new time-lapse video. Scheduled to enter service in the spring of next year, the ship will sail from Lisbon to various Mediterranean and Scottish ports before making its way across the Atlantic and between both Polar regions. In 2024, it will also add ports in Australia, Polynesia and Indonesia to its network. The ship, identical to its sibling Scenic Eclipse, comes from the line’s own shipyard in Italy giving it greater control over the design and timeline of its launch.
Celebrate Richard Branson’s 72nd birthday aboard Scarlet Lady
Be one of the privileged guests to join Richard Branson aboard Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady as it sets sail next week around the Caribbean with its famous founder aboard. Richard Branson will be celebrating his 72nd birthday surrounded by his beloved guests who can cheers alongside with him. The Miami-to-Cozumel roundtrip sailing will include a stop at The Beach Club at Bimini, and guests will have a chance to meet Branson himself. The one-time sailing leaves July 17, which may not help future travelers, but is sure to excite long-time fans knowing that he often interacts with his guests.
Silversea unveils 8 restaurants for new Silver Nova
Passengers aboard the new Silver Nova, its 11th ship that will join the fleet next year, will have eight signature restaurants to choose from during their sailing. Among the options are the line’s signature French restaurant, La Dame, and S.A.L.T. Kitchen, which bases its menus around each destination where the ship is sailing. Kaiseki will serve Japanese fare as well as dishes from around Asia including Thai and Vietnamese. When it launches next year, it will also be the first cruise ship to be free of local emissions while in port.
MSC Cruises relaunches gala night
This previously suspended formal night where guests join officers and crew for a lavish dinner, performances, photo opportunities and party is finally back. Paused for Covid-19, the cruise line announced a return of the passenger-favorite “gala night” event this summer. The evening is complimentary for all passengers, but it also includes special bonuses like deals on spa services and shopping. Live entertainment now has extended hours, and the night clubs have reopened. So that parents can enjoy the evening, the kids club has also extended its hours.
MSC Seascape adds new family activities
Starting on its seven-night cruises from December of this year, MSC Seascape will offer 98 hours of live entertainment designed for families across 7,500 sq ft of kid-friendly space. The cruise line wants to build on its family focus with new amenities like interactive game shows and new LEGO rooms for different age groups. It will all be managed by the “corporate kids entertainment manager” for the ship, a new position that will oversee the new amenities. In addition to the Aquapark, MSC Formula Racer and expanded hours for the kids and teen clubs, there are interactive opportunities like a “late show” designed for teens and dance show designed by the same production company of the X Factor and Got Talent series.
Transformed Star Pride makes summer debut
Windstar Star Pride is sailing again after a full renovation and expansion that completes the trio of the company’s Star Plus class yachts that received a similar update. In addition to boosting capacity from 212 to 312 passengers, the ship is more eco-friendly with new, efficient engines, generators, and advanced wastewater treatment systems. New dining venues, a spa, infinity pool and expanded deck space were part of the update. Passengers are treated to restaurants including a Spanish tapas restaurant from Anthony Sasso, one of the youngest chefs to be recognized by the Michelin Guide.
Princess goes year round from Los Angeles
Starting next summer, Princess Cruises will add a new series of summer cruises from Los Angeles to beef up its already plump network of sailings from the west coast. Emerald Princess will sail 5-16 night itineraries in the company’s first-ever summer season to destinations including ports in Mexico, Hawaii and the California Coast. With space for 3,080 guests and nearly 700 balconies, the new sailings will appeal to families looking for summer trips when kids are out of school. The company is offering a special offer for the first week of launch through July 19 with only a $1 deposit required and $50 of free onboard spending money per person.
Celestia Luxury Phinisi yacht heads to Indonesian archipelago
This traditional Indonesian sailing vessel will make its debut next year by sailing the Indonesian archipelago visiting ports like Raja Ampat, Komodo and the Spice Islands. Owned by a brother-sister duo, Celestia focuses on small-ship, intimate adventures. This ship has only seven cabins and can visit some of the smallest ports in the region while offering a traditional sailing experience. While the ships are only available for private charter sailings, they are small enough to appeal to intimate group events.
Regent Seven Seas teases new menu for Sette Mari
The cruise line’s highly favored Sette Mari restaurant is getting a new menu across the fleet, but not until late next year. It will launch with Seven Seas Grandeur in November 2023, but the rest of the six-ship fleet will get the same updates. Based on individual visits by the culinary team’s visits to various 16th century farmhouses (masserias) in the Puglia region, the line came up with an updated menu. Dishes include zucchine alla poverella (zucchini sauteed in wine vinegar, mint and olive oil, cavatelli ai frutti di mare (a traditional seafood pasta dish), insalata di panzanella (tradiational salad with crusty bread, onions and tomatoes) and branzino in agrodolce (a mild fish dish in olive oil and spices) among other delicacies.
Regent Seven Seas Grandeur takes shape
It’s not just the food that has Regent Seven Seas passengers salivating, but also a new ship that is on the way. Company executives were excited to launch the new Regent Seven Seas Grandeur at a special keel laying ceremony in the Fincantieri shipyard in Ancona, Italy. Honoring a maritime tradition, three custom-minted coins were laid into the keel of the ship to represent its sister ships (Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Splendor and Seven Seas Grandeur). The ship will set sail in November 2023 with voyages in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the company has also launched a series of anniversary voyage sailings on each of its five ships.