My Recent Cruise Onboard Oasis of the Seas
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Oasis of the Seas

It was time once more for our annual cruise and for May 2017, we chose Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. She is the first of the Oasis class of ships and has been in service since October 2009.

It has been a few years since I boarded a RCI ship!

The cruise departed from Port Canaveral in Florida. After our long flight from London, it was very much appreciated to spend the week just chilling out.

The Oasis did a Western Caribbean itinerary which included Labadee in Haiti (RCI’s private beach retreat), Falmouth in Jamaica and Cozumel in Mexico. We had been to all three ports on previous cruises and opted to skip Jamaica to enjoy the ship and spa.

CABINS

There are a good variety of types of cabins available on onboard, as found on all of Royal’s ships. Besides inside and balcony cabins overlooking the sea, there are those within a themed area such as Central Park filled with flora and fauna or the Boardwalk with a carousel and colourful neon lights. Of the remaining there are the mini-suites and grand suites.

The cabin we resided in for our Caribbean week holiday was a mini suite that truly outclassed many other “mini suites” on various cruise lines that we have cruised on. Cabin #8236 was located on the Central Park floor. It was very spacious with an entire walk in closet, an enormous bathroom with tub and was also mid-ship with a balcony that offered a spectacular view of the ocean.

Take a look at a selection of Oasis of the Seas Staterooms

We even dined on the terrace as the balcony afforded a table and chairs, as well as chaise loungers. There was also a large flat screen TV. The dresser size is more than sufficient for any clothing you take although you would not be wise to not use the walk in closet, a rarity for cruise ships.

The bathroom was well stocked with L’Occitane products such as shampoos, conditioners and soap bars. There are also two plush and soft bathrobes that are perfect for lounging around the pool or spa areas with.

DINING

Although you may think of buffets and endless cocktails when it comes to cruising, Royal Caribbean truly shines with their specialty dining options. With the wide variety of selections on display, there are enough culinary choices to please even the pickiest eater.

Oasis of the Seas Windjammer Cafe

Image: Windjammer Cafe

Starting with the buffet itself, the Windjammer Café, actually manages to make a cruise buffet an excellent experience in its own right. Every night, the themes change based on the ports you arrive in. Interested in trying some Jamaican jerk chicken or some Haitian style spare ribs? It’s all possible here!

We enjoyed our experience in the Windjammer Café on one evening, but did tend to favour specialty dining. That turned out to be just as impressive.

Chops Grille, also located in the lovely Central Park district offers the feel and the food of a fine steakhouse. The Park Café is also located in Central Park and serves up Panini’s, wraps and other comfort food in a casual atmosphere.

At Izumi, diners can opt for either a stylish sushi bar or a teppanyaki meal. We chose to opt for the sushi bar and were delighted by all of the varieties available, some of which we had never heard of!

The Mexican delights of Sabor offer not only a tasty treat for all but also a wonderful view of the Boardwalk area whereas Giovanni’s Table has enough Italian pastas and antipasti to please the whole family in the midst of Central Park.

We found the Park Café was an excellent choice for our breakfast, as it not only contains lovely areas to dine al fresco but allows you some tranquillity from the masses.

If you wish to dine at these or any other restaurants for lunch or dinner; make reservations as soon as possible. A tip is to review the dining venues before you leave home and write down dates and times you want to request.

ENTERTAINMENT

When it comes to entertainment options Oasis of the Seas really shines.

Gamblers will be thrilled to hear that the onboard casino, cleverly called the Casino Royale, takes up nearly an entire floor with an endless row of slot machines and other gaming favourites such as blackjack and roulette.

There are four swimming pools for leisure pleasure; including a children’s pool with colourful waterfall-like statues. My personal preference was at the solarium, near the back (aft) of the ship.

Although it is enclosed, it means that you have a place to swim no matter what the weather is like. It also is considerably less crowded than the regular pools. Don’t worry about not catching any sun though, as it is enclosed in glass the sunshine comes pouring in. There are also some smaller pools in the relaxation room of the spa.

Of course, no cruise is without its show stopping productions and the Oasis of the Seas is no exception. The main attraction on the liner is a full production of Cats at a traditional length of two and half hours. I have seen the Andrew Lloyd Webber production both on Broadway and the West End before and this one was no different in talent and enjoyment.

For me, the standout was the amazing Frozen in Time ice show. Located on Deck 4 at Studio B, the ice show details the life of famed writer Hans Christian Anderson and several of his most popular stories.

This show is perfect for children and others of all ages. The grace of the dancers is sure to amaze, especially when you realize they are performing on a moving ship. The show contains minimal dialogue so it transcends language barriers into a true masterpiece.

Oasis of the Seas Frozen in Time ice show

Image: Frozen in Time ice show

Another show we enjoyed was the ABBA tribute which also plays at the main Opal Theatre. It presents the groups entire history and combines surprisingly funny jokes with enough charisma to please a general audience; even if you’re not an ABBA fan.

Other options include a Comedy Show and at the AquaTheater, a water and acrobat show. On evenings when the show does not take place, the venue is used as a cinema in which recent films are shown on two large screens.

Although entertainment is gratis, due to the number of passengers, seats tend to get snapped up quickly. Reservations are necessary. This can be done when you embark; however, it is best to do so online weeks before the sailing.

VITALITY SPA

As with other cruise holidays, we never miss out on a trip to the spa. You will feel like you are brand new again after a refreshing visit to the Vitality Spa. The spa contains a wide variety of treatments from basic facials and massages to more exotic options including acupuncture. The massages will rid you of any aches and pains that are troubling you. I left feeling unbelievably relaxed.

Oasis of the Seas Vitality at Sea Spa

Image: Vitality at Sea Spa

The overall décor of the spa is very relaxing with a plethora of soothing colours and dim lights to create a soothing atmosphere. Even the process of being in the waiting room is enjoyable and calming. The enzyme facial deep cleansed my face and left my skin soft and smooth.

Any imperfections such as pimples or frown lines will be diminished by this technique. It’s best to go to the spa during port days as there are often special discounts held on those days. The spa also contains a hairdresser salon that is perfect for a quick cut or a manicure if necessary.

A word of advice; it’s best to make your reservations online before you leave home.

IN CLOSING

Not normally a fan of Mega-Ships, Myself and my family were rather pleased with our experience and it certainly went beyond my expectations. The way the ship is configured; means there are plenty of private areas and you never get the feeling that you are amongst 6000 other passengers.

Besides enjoying our meals, we found Central Park to be a unique nook to feel open air privacy. Nothing was lovelier than to be sitting within a park-like atmosphere (a first for RCI and the cruise industry). In the evening, there was classical music with strings that made it even more enjoyable.

Another area ideal for a stroll in the evening was in the atrium. Besides the glitz of glass and chrome, walking through the various stores and stopping off for speciality coffees or a pizza, made us feel as though we were in a mall!

Royal Caribbean did a brilliant job and I am certain their other Oasis class ships also offer a refreshing, relaxing experience.

Images and video courtesy of Royal Caribbean

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What’s your favourite Royal Caribbean Ship? Tell us below!

5 Ships for the Kids Summer Holidays
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Kids Summer Cruise Holidays

With the summer holidays approaching fast, a cruise makes for a great holiday choice. More and more cruise lines realise the importance of a family traveling together, whilst also understanding that all involved have their own needs.

Many cruise lines make it easy for the adults to dine alone away from the children. Yes, couple’s can still have dinner for two in a specialty restaurant indulge in the spa and head to a casino or view the sunset.

Meanwhile, during these couple alone periods, children can enjoy their own activities to the fullest in a supervised and safe environment.

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2

When people think of Cunard’s elegant style, it comes as a surprise to see that children are well catered for. The Queen Mary 2 more than delivers in the child friendly aspect with a packed daily activities programme, especially for their summer holiday voyages.

The Play Zone and The Zone are located on Deck six and cater to all age groups. Deck 6 is home to Minnows Splash pool too, a favourite amongst the toddler set. The Play Zone is suitable for toddlers to 7 year olds with fun competitions and arts and crafts.

Older children and teenagers can have fun at The Zone with activities such as table tennis, video games and sports on the deck. Teens also have access to Apple Mac computers and can learn amongst other things, new graphic design software.

Watch the Ask Cunard video

The Queen Mary also has a designated nursery just for infants, so even the youngest member of the family will be well looked after, whist the parents can visit a port or dine alone.

Many sailings depart from Southampton, making it a huge convenience for those who reside in the UK.

Besides transatlantic sailings to or from New York, first time cruisers can venture on one of the short three or four day sailings to Le Havre, Hamburg or Bruges. A longer closer to home adventure offered this summer is an eight day Norwegian Fjords sailing.

Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic

Well known for their family friendly entertainment, Disney has spared no expense when it comes to fun on their ocean liners such as the Disney Magic. Disney’s Oceaneer Club stands out from other cruise lines as it features detailed replicas from classic Disney and Pixar films such as Andy’s Room or the factory of Monsters Inc.

Of course, kids have plenty of chances to play with their favourite characters and take part in special events all trip long. Teenagers aged 14 to 17 can also enjoy themselves in the Vibe Club with movie screenings, karaoke competitions and other fun filled activities.

Disney Cruise Line offers cruise holidays varying from five to ten days for their cruise holidays aboard the Disney Magic Cruise Ship.

Watch these kids remembering their Disney Cruise

Enjoy the Western Mediterranean out of Barcelona or take one of the few sailings right out of Dover, which will alleviate the need for air travel. These voyages visit Copenhagen, Oslo, Kristiansand and Stavanger. The Disney Magic Cruise Ship is also scheduled to depart from Copenhagen making port of calls at Stockholm, Helsinki, Saint Petersburg and Tallinn.

MSC Meraviglia

MSC Cruises has expanded and caters to children more than ever before. The newest ship to MSC’s fleet, MSC Meraviglia will begin sailings in June 2017.

Look for attractions onboard such as a dedicated lounge for all family quality time activities called the DOREMI Studio Lounge. For children who love technology send them off to the DOREMI Tech Lab. Get together and see the world famous Cirque de Solei.

Planned facilities for the youngest have been designed in partnership with the LEGO Group and Chicco. Other age appropriate activities are scheduled through children’s’ clubs. The double-deck indoor amusement park will assure parents that their children will never be bored.

Watch the MSC family cruises video

Summer 2017 sailings have the MSC Meraviglia cruising around the Western Mediterranean visiting Genoa, Marseille, Sicily, Naples Malta and Barcelona. Passengers can embark in Barcelona, Genoa or Marseille.

P&O Ventura

Although it may not be as large as the other cruise ships, P&O Cruises Ventura still manages to go above and beyond when it comes to children’s entertainment. The Ventura, which had an upgrade in 2013, has a large Kids Club and is the most family friendly ship of the P&O fleet.

This club includes an entire water fun area complete with a splash pool and a substantial water slide as well as a kid’s disco, the Reef Rangers where children can dance to their heart’s content.

For parents wanting a night on the town, they offer a night nursery for the under 4 age group. Besides designated areas for both the adults and kids, there are family friendly swimming pools and dedicated family restaurants with early eating times.

Watch the P&O family entertainment video

This certainly makes for a balance of parents having periods to themselves without worries and food family quality time spent together.

Besides all the advantages of taking your children on holiday with you and still having time alone, the Ventura’s 2017 summer sailings depart from Southampton. Various sailings from four to seventeen days makes it just the right fit for all. Ports of calls include those in the Greek Isles, Western Mediterranean, Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands.

Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas

It should come as no surprise that there are many things to do for young passengers on a Royal Caribbean ship and the fifteen deck Independence of the Seas does just that.

The ship has a unique aspect that appeals to both young and old; an ice skating rink which is a real challenge with some winter fun in the midst of the summer! The FlowRider surf simulators located on the very top deck lets the whole family catch a wave or two.

The Adventure Ocean Club is well known amongst Royal Caribbean fans and has an abundance of activities, that entails enrichment, creativity and recreational. With five different age levels, each age group have their own dedicated facilities. The younger set can get a chance to meet some favourite DreamWorks characters too.

“My Family Time Dining” is a huge hit on the Independence of the Seas and gives families a chance to dine together and expedites service for the children at the table. When they finish, they are whisked back to the Adventure Ocean Club by a staff member. Parents can finish their meals leisurely and catch some entertainment such as the show, “Grease”, the musical.

Watch the Royal Caribbean top 5 family destinations video

Just in time for the summer holidays, with various dates available from May to October, the Independence of the Seas will leave and return on a various number of nights to and from Southampton. Itineraries include the Canary Islands, Western Mediterranean and the British Isles.

Without having to weigh the pros and cons of every cruise line and ship, any of these five top cruise ships are bound to be a hit for families looking to go on holiday this summer.

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Top Short Cruise Holidays for 2017
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Short break cruises, sometimes known as a “mini-cruise” or a “sampler” are one of the best options for those with time constraints. A short break cruise provides a welcome break without too much expense. One of the key factors people look at when booking a cruise is the price.

Two, three or even five night holidays are much easier on the wallet! 

A mini cruise will give you the chance to depart directly from the UK, making the holiday a comfortable convenience of leaving close to home rather than the hassle of having to get to the airport. Instead, begin enjoying your holiday the minute you step onto the ship and chill out for that much needed break.

Other advantages of a mini-cruise include:

  • Ideal for first timers
  • Destination discovery
  • Try new cuisines with a number of dining venues
  • Attractive pricing that you can upgrade without breaking the bank.

The following ships are the top picks for 2017 and offer a range from the casual to the elegant. Many of the same cruise lines offer short cruises on their other ships too.

Boudicca

Fred. Olsen Boudicca

Image courtesy Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ contains a vast amount of British elements. This is apparent with their ship, Boudicca. Boudicca is a compact ship, holding slightly more than 800 passengers but it more than makes up for that in size by being purely classical. Eat at simple yet charming locations like the Four Seasons Restaurant and the casual Tintagel Restaurant for some traditional dining.

You can also try the Secret Garden café for an authentic atmosphere that will have you believing you are in a Zen garden. The café serves a mixture of Indonesian, Thai and Indian cuisines in a buffet style. The aim of Fred. Olsen is not to be a mere cruise line but to feel more like a “home away from home”.

2017 highlights:

A five night round trip cruise from Greenock sails to Fort William, Ullapool and Invergordon, combined with scenic cruising through the Hebrides on the 26th May 2017.

On 8th Jun 2017 there is a 1 night journey sailing from Greenock (Glasgow) to Liverpool.

Magellan

Cruise and Maritime Magellan

Image courtesy Cruise & Maritime Voyages

Cruise & Maritime Voyages is perfect for travellers that want a relaxing cruise and no ship better emphasises this than the Magellan. The ship holds 1,250 passengers and has more than 15 different cabin types.

The elegance of the ship is further seen in locations ranging from the Waldorf and Kensington restaurants, which contain intriguing continental menus and an ocean view that is unforgettable. You can also relax at the many bars and cafes like the Captain’s Club, Churchill’s Lounge, Hampton’s Bar and Sinatra’s Bar. The Magellan is ideal to sample some rest and relaxation while watching the world go by.

2017 highlights:

22nd Jul 2017 and 23rd Sep 2017, departing from Newcastle for an overnight trip, the cruise is focused on wine tasting.

Departing from London Tilbury on 1st Oct 2017 takes passengers on a weekend jaunt to Amsterdam.

13th Dec 2017 will appeal to Christmas holiday shoppers with a 2 night expedition departing from London Tilbury to Antwerp.

Queen Victoria

Cunard Queen Victoria

Image courtesy Cunard Line

Cunard’s Queen Victoria acts as a time machine in a way as it attempts to bring back the golden age with a modern day perspective. The glamour and glitz begins as soon as you step into the ship’s enormous lobby and are whisked away to see all of the amenities that the Queen Victoria has to offer. Spend some time in the Cafe Carinthia and Chart Room, the first and most principal of the common areas.

The entire ship is decorated in an aesthetically pleasing Art Deco design and this is evident in areas such as the Queens Room, the Royal Court Theatre and the Britannia Restaurant amongst others. This is a cruise for someone who wants a more elegant experience at an affordable price and this is easily achieved with a short break cruise aboard a ‘Queen’.

2017 highlights:

4th Jun 2017 presents a 4 night round trip from Southampton to Amsterdam and Bruges.  Passengers have a choice of excursions to Bruges, Ghent, Ypres or Paris if they wish. A five night journey takes place on 13th Nov 2017 and adds on another port at Cherbourg, along with the not to be missed Big Band Ball.

Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Jade

Image courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Although the Norwegian Jade may be somewhat smaller than its sister ships, it still contains enough pizzazz and styling to make the ship a fun experience. Recently refurbished at a cost of £280 million, the Norwegian Jade has a more modern appeal in an Art Deco style. With all of the trimmings and the colour scheme, the ship feels more welcoming than before.

An update of the accommodations has created more expansive living quarters. A new addition to the Jade is the addition of the Cavern Club, as seen on the Norwegian Epic. Of course, specialty dining is one of the main draws of the ship with classic dining experiences such as at La Cucina; Cagney’s Steakhouse; the Brazilian Moderno Churrascaria; Teppanyaki and Le Bistro.

2017 highlights:

Several two night cruises from Southampton to Hamburg are taking place with dates being 2nd June 2017 and 20th June 2017 stopping in Hamburg, Germany.

Ventura

P&O Cruises Ventura

Image courtesy P&O Cruises

The P&O Cruises’s ship Ventura is yet another crown jewel in their extraordinary fleet line up. The ship, which holds more than 3000 passengers, is well known for its extensive entertainment options that will ensure that you will never get bored.

Some of the options include tributes to famous performers at the Tamarind Club, the Latin beats of Havana or even an authentic British experience in The Exchange pub. The ship is also well known for its large selection of restaurants. The Epicurean may be the most elegant restaurant on any cruise ship whereas those looking for a more exotic experience would do well to try the Indian cuisine at Sindhu.

2017 highlights:

On 26th April 2017 departing from Southampton for a four night round trip with port of calls at Amsterdam and Bruges.

The 31st May 2017 and 10 Nov 2017 offer four night round trips out of Southampton with one call at Bruges.

A four night cruise from Southampton on the 11th Aug 2017 with stops at St Peter Port, Guernsey and Bruges before heading back to Southampton.

On 15th Sep.2017, take advantage of a two nighter to St Peter Port, Guernsey on a round trip from Southampton.

29 Sep 2017, 27 Oct 2017 and 24 Nov 2017 are the dates to depart from Southampton for a quick two night journey to Bruges and back again.

For the first timer, a short break cruise holiday is the best option to obtain the overall cruise experience and satisfy the curiosity of what cruising is all about. For the seasoned cruiser, it is a perfect way to collect those cruise points for frequent guests and leave the stress behind until your next cruise holiday experience.

For more information on any of these cruises click here

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Harmony of the Seas and it’s Magnificent Suites!
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The magnificent Harmony of the Seas belongs to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class of ships and is the largest cruise ship at sea. As you would imagine with a ship of this size there is a huge range of accommodation options.

The suites offer more space and luxury and some come with a private verandah and personalised services.

They also offer an alternative for groups and families with the Royal Suite able to accommodate up to eight people.

In this post we have concentrated on Harmony’s range of suites and added images of the categories below.

One Bedroom AquaTheater Suite with Balcony

These one bedroom suites come complete with a private bathroom and tub and have two twin beds that can be converted into a Royal King.

One Bedroom AquaTheater Suite with Balcony on Harmony of the Seas

Royal Loft Balcony Suite

The Royal Loft Balcony Suite has two floors and a Jacuzzi situated on the balcony as well as two dining areas and two bedrooms.

Royal Loft Balcony Suite on Harmony of the Seas

Four Bedroom Family Balcony Suite

As the name suggests this Family Balcony Suite comes complete with four bedrooms and bathrooms, a balcony and living area.

Four Bedroom Family Balcony Suite on Harmony of the Seas

Sky Loft Balcony Suite

The two floor Sky Loft Balcony Suite is perfect for large groups with dining areas located both inside and outside.

Sky Loft Balcony Suite on Harmony of the Seas

Two Bedroom AquaTheater Suite with Balcony (Large)

The Two Bedroom AquaTheatre Suite with Balcony overlooks the magnificent amphitheater and comes with two bedrooms and bathrooms and a huge balcony.

Two Bedroom AquaTheater Suite with Balcony (Large)on Harmony of the Seas

Two Bedroom AquaTheater Suite with Balcony

This Two Bedroom AquaTheater Suite with Balcony also has two bedrooms and bathrooms and overlooks the entertainment theatre.

Two Bedroom AquaTheater Suite with Balcony on Harmony of the Seas

Accessible Crown Loft Balcony Suite

These Accessible Crown Loft Balcony Suites are on two levels with private balconies and a lift to move easily between floors.

Accessible Crown Loft Balcony Suite on Harmony of the Seas

Crown Loft Balcony Suite

The Crown Loft Suites come with a modern decor and are again over two floors with private balconies and guest bathrooms.

Crown Loft Balcony Suite on Harmony of the Seas

Owner’s Balcony Suite

With seperate living areas the Owners Balcony Suites also have private balconies and a bar.

Owner's Balcony Suite on Harmony of the Seas

Royal Family Balcony Suite

With two bedrooms and bathrooms the Royal Family Balcony Suite also has a living area with a sofa bed.

Royal Family Balcony Suite on Harmony of the Seas

Grand Balcony Suite

The Grand Balcony Suites include a private balcony, a comfortable bedroom and a living area.

Grand Balcony Suite on Harmony of the Seas

Accessible Junior Balcony Suite

With a spacious bedroom and a sitting area these Accessible Junior Balcony Suites also have a private balcony.

Accessible Junior Balcony Suite on Harmony of the Seas

Junior Balcony Suite

The Junior Balcony Suite has a private balcony, a sitting area and a comfortable bedroom.

Junior Balcony Suite on Harmony of the Seas

All images courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

Have you enjoyed a holiday in one of these Suites? Let us know below!

5 New Ships to Consider in 2017
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With the new year now upon us, cruise industry experts predict that competition will be fierce amongst the cruise lines with new innovations onboard and new ports of calls to explore.

Take a look below at some of the upcoming new ships and sailings for this year.

Majestic Princess (Princess Cruises)  

Passengers: 3,560 | Maiden voyage: April 2017
Princess Cruises Majestic Princess

Image courtesy of Princess Cruises

Scheduled for its maiden voyage in April in the Mediterranean, The Majestic Princess is the third ship in their Royal series.

Princess Cruise’s president, Jan Swartz stated, “We’re especially excited to debut Majestic Princess in the Mediterranean before she officially sails to Asia for her maiden China cruise season.”

The inaugural European sailing of the Majestic Princess sets sail for a four night itinerary out of Civitavecchia (Rome) on April 4, 2017. The Maiden Adriatic Sea roundtrip voyage offers port of calls in Kotor and Corfu before returning to Rome. Afterwards, the ship will embark on various cruises ranging from 14 to 28 days duration in the Med, the Baltic’s and the British Isles.

An extended atrium creates some exciting features with added entertainment and casual dining options. There will also be nearly 12,000 sq. ft. dedicated to shopping with many shops featuring higher end merchandise.

There will be many connecting rooms that will be ideal for families and larger Owner’s Suites. All outside staterooms will offer balconies.

The ship will have many of the popular Princess features including the SeaWalk (glass-bottom walkway with views 128 feet into the ocean). Also, favourites such as the Watercolor Fantasy show and Movies under the Stars will be featured.

National Geographic Quest (Lindblad Expeditions)

Passengers: 100 | Maiden voyage: June 2017

National Geographic Quest ship from Lindblad Expeditions

Image courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions

The National Geographic Quest has a planned itinerary to visit areas as diverse as the Inside Passage of Alaska to Costa Rica. The Quest is the first ship in the National Geographic fleet to have balconies in almost half of its 50 cabins and there are 6 additional connecting cabins for families.

June 26th marks the inaugural sailing of a 12-night “Treasures of the Inside Passage: Alaska & British Columbia” itinerary. After the Alaskan cruise season, Quest will embark on voyages between Vancouver and Seattle. Near the end of the year, the ship is scheduled to reposition to Costa Rica and Panama.

The Quest will hold 100 guests and will be different to other cruise ships, with its shallow draft depth which will allow it to navigate areas that others cannot reach.

The ship also contains a spacious dining room as well as a cocktail lounge, a bar, a fitness centre with numerous exercise equipment and the Global Market; a special shopping area where passengers can buy items made by local residents from the areas the ship visits.

Norwegian Joy (Norwegian Cruise Line)

Passengers: 4,200 | Maiden voyage: May 2017
The Norwegian Joy from Norwegian Cruise Lines

Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Lines

The ship will be the sister ship to Norwegian Escape and the second vessel in the Breakaway Plus class but will be geared towards the Chinese market sailing out of Shanghai and Beijing.

The ship has another name besides Joy. The other is in Chinese its 悦号 (Xǐ Yuè Hào) and translates to ‘Joy’. The concept will remain with Norwegian’s signature “Freestyle Cruising” that offers guests the freedom and flexibility to dine on their own time schedule. The line has commissioned renowned Chinese artist Tan Ping to design the artwork to be featured on the hull.

According to Harry Sommer, NCL’s Executive Vice President of International Business Development, “Not only will Norwegian Joy be a ship unlike any other in the market today, but the freedom and flexibility that guests will experience on board will also be unrivaled in Chinese cruising”.

Norwegian promises new innovations and spaces onboard once the Norwegian Joy takes to the sea. Highlights include state of the art Virtual Reality gaming at The Galaxy Pavilion which includes three interactive dark ride simulators plunging willing guests in multi-sensory special effects.

A first at sea will be the outdoor hovercraft bumper cars and racetrack. There is also an open-space park, three full-service casinos as well as some fun in the sun with two multi-story waterslides.

Silver Muse (Silversea Cruises)

Passengers: 596 | Maiden voyage: April 2017
The Silver Muse from Silversea Cruises

Image courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Not to be outdone in the high-end marketplace and a true representative of elegant cruising, Silversea Cruises has decided to make their newest ship their largest. The line pioneered all-inclusive cruising in 1994 and the Silver Muse represents an evolution taking place with the product.

The all-suite Silver Muse is due to set sail out of Monte Carlo on April 10th for 8 nights. She will head towards Southampton at the end of August before crossing the Atlantic for the autumn season.

Get ready for October 2017 when she embarks on a 66-day circumnavigation of the Americas, departing from Ft. Lauderdale to exotic ports in the Caribbean, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru and more.

Silversea are known for their impeccable service and the Silver Muse will not disappoint. Things to look forward to include a large and extensive spa, an observation lounge, an art gallery/cafe, a theatre and a pool deck.

There will be a wide variety of dining venues to choose from, such as the Atlantide which offers fresh seafood, the Indochine Asian restaurant, the French elegance of La Dame and even the opportunity to have lava stone cooking at Hot Rocks. Silversea Cruises has truly gone all out with the Silver Muse and the ship will be the crown jewel of the fleet.

Viking Sky (Viking Cruises)

Passengers: 930 | Maiden voyage: February 2017
Viking Sky from Viking Ocean Cruises

Image of the Viking Sky float out courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises

Due to its successful formula in the continuing market place of ocean cruise liners from the predominately river cruise oriented line, the 930-passenger Viking Sky becomes the third ship for Viking and will debut in February 2017.

“We have created ocean cruises that put the destination at the centre of the experience, with smaller ships that are smarter in design,” states Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. The Viking Sky plans to have longer days in ports with several overnight stays in areas not offered by other cruise lines.

Her first cruise is scheduled for February 25th when she will begin an eight-night Mediterranean itinerary from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Barcelona. She will remain in the Med before heading over to the Baltic at the end of April.

There are five different balcony staterooms on board which consist of the Veranda, the Deluxe Veranda, the Penthouse Veranda, the Penthouse Junior Suite and the Explorer Suite.

All staterooms offer Wi-Fi access too. Other amenities include an indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace dining area, a Nordic inspired spa, a magrodome pool and numerous restaurants, including The Chef’s Table, Manfredi’s Italian Grill and an Asian Fusion restaurant.

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Are you cruising on a brand new ship in 2017? Tell us below!