The next 12 months will see a host of new ships, ports of call and experiences added to cruise itineraries. Sam Ballard rounds up some of the most exciting.
Whether it’s on the rivers of Asia, travelling transatlantic or meandering around the Mediterranean, you don’t need us to tell you that there is no better way for your clients to spend their holiday time than at sea. Over the next year, many cruise lines are set to introduce new and exciting destinations to their already packed programmes. Here, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite new itineraries in 2019 to give you a bit of inspiration – and to remind you of what’s coming.
The notion of leaving Southampton, spending a few glamorous, Champagne-fuelled days at sea, before being waved into New York by Lady Liberty herself is the stuff that dreams are made of. However, few will ever have had the chance to take a transatlantic cruise on an MSC Cruises ship – or, on MSC Meraviglia, one of the line’s newest, to be precise. The 14-night itinerary leaves Southampton in September and calls at Belfast, overnights in Reykjavik and St John and Halifax in Canada before heading down for an overnight in the Big Apple. Another transatlantic debut is offered by Saga – with the added bonus of it being over Christmas. The 35-night Fairytale of New York, on Spirit of Discovery, is the perfect way to see the first new-build in the line’s history.
Not much can top Royal Caribbean’s much talked about Perfect Day at CocoCay, the company’s private island. Guests calling at the newly refurbished resort will choose whether they want Thrill or Chill – and then be offered activities and experiences to ensure that happens. The island will be an extension of Royal Caribbean’s onboard offering – taken to the factor of 10. Waterslides will be the biggest in North America while over-water cabanas will be a first for the Bahamas.
Alaska is getting a lot of attention in 2019: Azamara Club Cruises will be cruising in the area for the very first time, while Cunard will be returning for the first time since 1994 (more lines will be following in 2020). There’s a lot to be said for both itineraries, Azamara’s 11 cruises include options for pre and post-cruise stays, including riverboat cruising and visiting Alaskan villages while few lines can match the elegance of a Cunard cruise.
Ultra-luxury line Seabourn will be debuting in Cuba in 2019 – an incredible opportunity for any luxury clients fancying something more intrepid, before mass tourism impacts the island’s offering. The cruise is special because it goes beyond a typical Havana call – with up to four Cuban ports on each itinerary, from Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba to more unusual calls such as Antila (Nipe Bay) and Punta Frances.
There are also plenty of opportunities for new itineraries on the latest launches. From Scenic’s Discovery Yacht Scenic Eclipse (the first ocean venture for the company) to Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen, as well as Saga’s Spirit of Discovery, outlined above. Guests wanting to see Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ new ship Vasco de Gama will also get the opportunity on an incredible sailing to Australia. Celebrity Cruises will be launching Celebrity Flora, its first custom-made ship for the Galápagos. Not exactly a new ship, but Silversea’s Silver Shadow is getting a full refurb early this year as the line celebrates its 25th anniversary.
River and coastal cruises
U By Uniworld, the millennial-focused offering from Uniworld, is offering eight night cruises on the Seine – starting and ending on Sundays, allowing for the young clientele to have Friday and Saturday night in Paris. Shearings is offering a new Malta and Sicily coastal cruise on board CroisiEurope’s La Belle de l’Adriatique on a sailing that really highlights what the Mediterranean is all about. Emerald Waterways is launching its first ocean yacht, for itineraries on the Dalmatian coast. While CroisiEurope themselves have a whole host of new itineraries for 2019 – one of our favourites is the cruise and walk itineraries which are available on the Seine, as well as the Venetian Lagoon.