Like proverbial buses, cruise ship launches seem to have all come at once in recent weeks. Cruisers have been spoilt by the arrival of not one but four vessels that have all entered different areas of the market.
If you’re anything like us and get excited at the thought of new additions to the cruising landscape, you will be interested to hear about the latest new options from Celebrity Cruises, Hurtigruten, Royal Caribbean and Saga Cruises. But did any of these sail under your radar?
Spirit of Discovery, Saga Cruises
Although Saga Cruises has purchased vessels and renovated them into their own product in the past, this is the first ship in the fleet to be purpose-built for the Saga audience. As a British company, the cruise line ensured that this new addition was perfectly suited to customers from the UK. Food and drink has been sourced from local producers around the UK, there are over 4,000 pieces from British artists positioned around the decks and there’s even a music venue created in collaboration with Jools Holland.
Named by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall last Friday (5th July), some members of the team were lucky to be invited on board for two nights prior to the ceremony. As well as a brilliant focus on making things easier for solo cruisers, we especially enjoyed the spacious decks and the great atmosphere around the beautiful pool deck.
Roald Amundsen, Hurtigruten
After a substantial delay last year (and a slightly smaller delay last month), Hurtigruten’s brand new Roald Amundsen is finally up and running, having embarked on her maiden cruise last Tuesday (2nd July). As the world’s first hybrid-powered expedition ship, it’s an exciting step in the right direction for cruising and one that’s certain to change the future landscape.
In keeping with Hurtigruten’s exploratory and adventurous nature, the ship has plenty of features and facilities that mean your time on board will be unlike any other cruise you have taken. There’s an Expedition Launch Room that previews destinations before passengers set off on shore excursions, but the highlight has to be the Science Centre.
More in-depth than similarly named venues on other ships, this space is designed to let you get hands-on with the science and discover more about the destinations you’ll visit. You can take part in citizen science experiments, watch footage from the ship’s underwater drone and even study for a PhD.
Celebrity Flora, Celebrity Cruises
Another ship that may pique the interest of the adventurous cruiser is Celebrity Flora, Celebrity Cruises’ first vessel custom-built for sailing through the Galapagos. And that design process has mainly taken two things into account: the need for passengers to never miss a moment of the surrounding scenery and the need to preserve this breathtaking part of the world for future visitors.
The first goal is achieved by providing viewing spots from almost everywhere on the ship. Open decks and panorama windows allow you to look out to sea whenever you get the opportunity – perfect for impromptu wildlife spotting. You can even keep a watchful eye out whilst taking a shower. Although slightly awkward for guests not in a relationship, you can see straight out to sea from under the rushing water, right through the adjacent living room.
The second of those goals is achieved in a multitude of different ways. For a start, there are no single-use plastics consumed on board. However, Celebrity Flora goes much further than that to take care of the environment. She uses anchor-free navigation so as to not disturb the seabed, underwater noise has been reduced and water samples are constantly being collected and analysed by scientists around the world.
Spectrum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean
With Royal Caribbean having one of the largest cruise ship fleets in the world, it may not be surprising that another new vessel has been launched. However, because Spectrum of the Seas has been launched to cater for the Chinese market, there’s a chance you may have missed this one. As a Quantum-Ultra Class ship, she features many of the facilities and venues that you’ll find on Ovation, Quantum and Anthem of the Seas, but with a few tailored additions.
Brand new venues like Sichuan Red, Teppanyaki and Hot Pot are designed to offer a place for guests to share traditional Chinese and Japanese food, whilst there’s also a karaoke bar, a theatre show detailing the history of the fabled Silk Road and cartoon-related fun with the Effectors.
Another new feature, which we’re all hoping Royal Caribbean brings on board some of its other ships in the future (it’s already on Symphony of the Seas too), is the Ultimate Family Suite. Created to provide somewhere for multi-generational families or large groups of friends to stay together, it’s a two-storey accommodation option with a slide (!) between the levels. Whilst the children are enjoying this novel way of navigating or building contraptions onto the Lego wall, adults can relax in the hot tub on the wraparound balcony or enjoy a film in the cinema room.
If you would like to learn more about any of these new ships or find out about the itineraries available on board them, call the Fred.\ Holidays team on 0800 035 0701.