18 New Ships for 2020 (and Beyond)
From expansive liners to expedition yachts,
these vessels deliver exhilaration and relaxation
By Brent Stoller
Debuting in 2020 and beyond, the 18 ships profiled here will push your cruising experience toward new horizons, whether you're looking to enjoy family fun in the Caribbean, discover wildlife in the Galapagos Islands or explore untamed landscapes in the polar regions.
Read on to see which vessel provides your desired blend of destinations, accommodations and onboard environment, then check out itineraries available through Vacations To Go.
Seven Seas Splendor
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Guests on this all-suite ship can start with an omelet at an oceanfront eatery, cap their barbecue lunch with a poolside milkshake and indulge in beef tenderloin at dinner in a specialty restaurant. In between feasts, classes in the demonstration kitchen enhance culinary skills, the casino features a host of table games and multiple lounges provide a setting for cocktails and conversation. Evenings promise musical productions in the Constellation Theater, a two-story performance space. Seven Seas Splendor debuts in February, and during its 2020 visits to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, it will offer 65 new shore excursions, 28 of which are free.
MS Fridtjof Nansen
This ship embodies the spirit of Fridtjof Nansen, the explorer from whom it gets its name. With a strengthened hull and Hurtigruten's hybrid propulsion system, the vessel provides a smoother ride and causes fewer environmental disturbances in the habitats through which it sails, including both polar regions. A science center mixes entertainment with education to provide insights into the places you'll visit, while an experienced team and custom-built equipment, from kayaks to underwater drones, ensure you get the most out of your excursions. The liner's opening voyage departs Hamburg, Germany, on April 1, bound for the Arctic Circle.
Take a ride on the Magic Carpet, a cantilevered platform that moves up and down the side of this ship, serving as an outdoor eatery on upper decks and a disembarkation point at sea level. This innovative space is indicative of the outward-facing amenities found throughout the Apex. Passengers can enjoy drinks at the Sunset Bar, listen to live music in the Rooftop Garden and admire the views through windowed walls in Eden, a three-story venue that hosts various events. Following its inaugural trip on April 5 from Southampton, a port for London, the liner spends the rest of 2020 in Europe and the Caribbean.
Le Bellot provides an intimate environment with only 92 staterooms and public spaces that include a lounge, theater, solarium and two restaurants that specialize in French cuisine and ocean views. On the pool deck, guests can enjoy drinks at an open-air bar or work out using the counter-current swimming pool. A hydraulic platform can be lowered to allow passengers to go kayaking and paddleboarding or to load into Zodiacs. Setting sail in April, this yacht explores Europe before finishing 2020 in Australia and New Zealand.
Carnival Cruise Line
Formerly Carnival Victory, Carnival Radiance shines thanks to a $200 million upgrade that gave the ship more than just a new name. Whether you're cruising the East Coast in fall foliage season or island-hopping in the Caribbean, you can sing along at a piano bar, zoom down a 203-foot WaterWorks slide and enjoy rum-infused concoctions in RedFrog Pub before retiring to your renovated stateroom. Dining options include a multicourse chef's table experience and the Big Chicken restaurant from NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal. Cabins still are available for the liner's inaugural journey, a 10-night, round-trip adventure departing Barcelona on April 29.
Through P&O's partnership with local chefs, Iona's restaurants will give passengers a taste of the ports they visit. On winter adventures in Portugal and Spain, including the Canary Islands, you'll dine on tapas and other Spanish delicacies, while on summer explorations of the Norwegian fjords, native fare such as seafood and lamb will dot the menus. No matter where you're traveling, you always can enjoy cocktails with gin produced in the onboard distillery and savor scoops in the gelateria, which features traditional flavors and special offerings that are representative of the sailing region. Iona launches from Southampton on May 14.
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
Ritz-Carlton brings its hotel experience to sea with Evrima, the first of three planned ships in the company's Yacht Collection. All 149 suites have their own terrace, and a personal concierge serves as an onboard ambassador. Passengers can listen to jazz by in-house performers, enjoy a cigar in the humidor and savor a dining experience designed by the chef of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred establishment at the Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg in Germany. After its debut departure in June, the yacht will offer itineraries to Canada, the Caribbean and more through the rest of 2020.
Looking for a special seagoing experience? Book Enchanted Princess' Sky Suite, a two-bedroom retreat that accommodates up to five guests and features a personal concierge, complimentary breakfasts and dinners served alfresco and a 1,000-square-foot balcony with 270-degree views. Elsewhere, passengers will find exclusive Princess offerings like a singing contest inspired by the TV series "The Voice," desserts in the main dining room curated by a chocolatier and a French bistro from Michelin-starred chef Emmanuel Renaut. This ship hits the water on June 19 for a nine-night sailing from Italy to England.
Designed for explorations of the Galapagos Islands, Silver Origin features floor-to-ceiling windows throughout and menus filled with regional recipes. The interactive Basecamp offers materials on the flora and fauna you'll encounter, while your cabin's balcony affords additional wildlife sightings as you relax before dinner. The vessel, which boasts butler service for every suite, also is eco-conscious, employing a dynamic positioning system to prevent damaging the region's seabed. Guests are given a reusable bottle to refill with filtered water, saving the use of some 17,000 plastic bottles per year. Its inaugural itinerary begins July 16.
Silver Moon sets the scene for Silversea's Sea and Land Taste program (S.A.L.T.), which takes a deep dive into the gastronomy of its destinations. After experiencing cuisines in port, guests can indulge in these new flavors in S.A.L.T. Kitchen, a restaurant with an evolving menu, or learn to re-create the dishes during cooking demonstrations in S.A.L.T. Lab. In S.A.L.T. Bar, regionally representative cocktails like Peru's famed pisco sours can be enjoyed. Treat your taste buds during the vessel's first sailing, which departs Trieste, Italy, on Aug. 6.
With a 1-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio, this ship delivers unmatched attentiveness along with outstanding amenities and adventure. Whether it's the Arctic, Antarctica or dozens of destinations in between, you'll explore exotic locales from all angles: from above, on one of the yacht's two helicopters; from below, via a seven-person submersible; and up close, on Zodiac and kayaking excursions. Press your luck in the casino, or keep your eyes skyward while on the marina platform to spot the elusive northern lights. Crystal Endeavor sets sail on Aug. 10 in Asia.
Carnival Cruise Line
Hitting open waters on Aug. 31, the Mardi Gras boasts the same name as Carnival's first-ever ship, which launched in 1972, and features six themed zones. Grand Central welcomes passengers aboard with its massive windows and serves as a communal hub, while the French Quarter carries a Big Easy vibe and has a restaurant from Emeril Lagasse. Pools, open-air bars and eateries await in the Summer Landing and Lido areas, and Italian and Mediterranean delicacies can be enjoyed in La Piazza. Offering all-ages recreation, the Ultimate Playground touts a waterpark, sports complex and Bolt, the first roller coaster at sea.
Odyssey of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International
Odyssey of the Seas, part of Royal Caribbean's Quantum Ultra Class, will be based seasonally in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Following the Nov. 5 inaugural, passengers on the ship's six-night Caribbean sailings can scuba dive, swim with sea turtles and take a helium balloon ride for their "Perfect Day at CocoCay" at the cruise company's private island. Eight-night itineraries also will call on destinations like Aruba and Curacao. Onboard amenities include the RipCord iFLY skydiving experience and the North Star, a glass observation capsule that transports travelers some 300 feet above the ocean.
The Virtuosa is one of the two largest vessels within the MSC fleet. This 6,334-passenger ship boasts public spaces that include an outdoor pool, sports complex, waterpark, karaoke bar, comedy club, F1 racing simulators and a promenade with restaurants and boutiques. Still, the star attractions are the two Cirque du Soleil productions that exclusively were created for MSC Cruises; offered twice a night, six nights a week, these artistic showcases can be enjoyed when the liner launches in Italy in November.
Setting sail Jan. 26, 2021, from Barcelona, the Venus looks forward to an inaugural season exploring the British Isles, revisiting the Viking era in Scandinavia and seeking the midnight sun and aurora borealis above the Arctic Circle. With a devotion to destination-driven learning, the cruise line offers a resident historians program in which experts give lectures and host discussion groups to educate passengers about the places they visit. In between ports, you can dine at an Italian eatery, rejuvenate in the spa, swim in the infinity pool or relax on your stateroom's veranda.
Le Commandant Charcot
Inspired by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot, this ship begins its first expedition on May 31, 2021, to the Arctic territories where its namesake once sailed. Sites visited include the Scoresby Sund, home to the world's largest fjord. Le Commandant Charcot is powered by a hybrid propulsion system that combines the use of electric generators and liquefied natural gas, which will reduce its environmental footprint. Along with two restaurants, the icebreaker features indoor and outdoor pools, a cigar lounge, an open-air bar and 16 Zodiacs for excursions to remote landing sites.
Fifty-two feet longer than MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, this ship welcomes travelers into its expanded lap of luxury with new restaurants, 200 additional staterooms, an enhanced yacht club, more whirlpools and lounges and grander performance venues. In each cabin you'll find Zoe, a digital assistant that responds to voice commands -- it is fluent in seven languages -- to book excursions, secure dinner reservations, review your bill and more. Featuring upgraded environmental technology to improve its energy efficiency, MSC Seashore debuts in June 2021 and will offer sailings of the Mediterranean during its opening season.
Along with exploration by sea kayaks, 24 Zodiacs, mountain bikes and e-bikes, this vessel will take expedition cruising to new depths with its two custom-built submarines for under-the-sea excursions. The Seabourn Conversations program sparks discussions on subjects such as art, science and history, while lectures from naturalists and other wilderness experts provide insights into the destinations you visit. Spending parts of the year in both polar regions, Venture launches on July 5, 2021, with a 10-night journey from Lisbon, Portugal, to London's Greenwich port.
The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in Winter 2020. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 338-4962 for current rates and details.