As cruise lines continue to push the boundaries of what is possible at sea and what can physically be installed on board a cruise ship, new ship classes are often announced. A ship class is a name given to a group of vessels from the same line that are of a similar size and offer similar venues and features. For example, Royal Caribbean have Quantum, Oasis, Voyager, Vision, Freedom, Radiance and Sovereign class ships within their ever-expanding fleet.
Whilst it’s custom for a cruise line to introduce a brand new ship class every once in a while (usually when there’s a major evolution in size or facilities), recent years have seen a number of operators arrive at a half-way house by launching new ships within a class that’s not entirely new. Here are three examples of what we mean, featuring some of the most exciting vessels in the industry at the moment.
Seaside Evo Class, MSC Cruises
Described as “an even larger and richer sister ship in the Seaside Class”, MSC Seashore was announced as the first of two Seaside Evo Class ships that will be launching soon. Making her arrival in spring 2021, MSC Seashore will feature some of the key features from Seaside Class ships MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview but with a number of further enhancements also on board.
Most noticeably, the MSC Cruises vessel will be 16 metres longer, allowing for the highest ratio of space per guest in the entire fleet. This added size will also help improve guest flow, as will the introduction of two major meeting points at the forward and middle areas of the ship. In total, around 40% of MSC Seashore has been redesigned when compared to her sisters.
As well as additional cabins, new dining venues, a larger MSC Yacht Club, a double-decker show lounge and new cluster cabins for large groups, the changes will also include improved environmental systems such as Selective Catalytic Reduction and Advanced Wastewater Treatment.
Breakaway Plus Class, Norwegian Cruise Line
There are four Breakaway Plus Class ships in NCL’s fleet: Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy. As the natural progression of the line’s Breakaway Class, these vessels are approximately 10% larger than Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, and each includes an additional top deck featuring thrilling activities like ropes courses, go-karts, laser tag and virtual reality games.
However, this class is a bit of a mishmash. Not all of the ships feature the same venues – as you may expect with sister ships – and so there is a lot of variety amongst the class. Norwegian Joy was originally built for the Chinese market before she was adapted to be a closer sister to Norwegian Bliss and moved to Alaska. Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Encore, the first two vessels launched in this class, are similar to each other but don’t boast some of the more ‘futuristic’ activities offered by the other two.
Quantum Ultra Class, Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum and Oasis Class ships have been some of the most exciting and well-received ship classes to make their debut on the seas in recent years. Now, with the launch of Spectrum of the Seas earlier this year and upcoming arrival of Odyssey of the Seas in 2020, the cruise line have created the Quantum Ultra class to sit between the two.
The two latest vessels are quoted to be “the next evolution of Royal Caribbean’s ground-breaking and high-tech Quantum Class” and will offer many of the same venues and much of the overall feel of Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas.
The main difference will be size. At around 600 tons larger, Spectrum of the Seas (built for the Asian market) and Odyssey of the Seas will boast the largest Seaplex area in the fleet. This part of the ship is a multi-function venue that is home to bumper cars, circus training, basketball tournaments and roller skating. Expect to find all of the technical advancements found on board the Quantum Class ships too, such as Two70, robot bartenders and indoor skydiving by iFly.
If you would like to know more about these new cruise ship classes or you’re interested in sailing on board the ships within them, call the Fred.\ Cruises team on 0800 035 0701. We can help find the perfect ship and itinerary for you.