From the world’s largest mega-ship to a treasure trove of Disney surprises and a Queen who’s arriving fashionably late, there are some exciting new ships setting sail in 2024, writes Tiana Templeman
Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas
Carrying a maximum of 7600 guests, this LNG-powered mega-ship resembles a floating theme park and will be the largest cruise ship ever built when it debuts in January. With a vast waterpark, eight themed neighbourhoods, six waterslides, seven pools and 40 dining and entertainment venues, Icon of the Seas sets out to prove bigger is better. Aimed squarely at families and travellers who love to have fun, there are multiple stateroom and suite options, including the three-level Ultimate Family Townhouse, which sleeps eight and has a slide between floors. Book early if you want to get on board next year because cabins are selling fast!
Avalon Waterways’ Avalon Alegria
Avalon Alegria has been built especially for the Douro River and will mark Avalon Waterways’ debut on the picturesque river in Portugal. This new river cruise ship is smaller than the line’s other ships, a necessity for navigating the river’s many locks, and accommodates just over 100 passengers in 14 Deluxe Staterooms and 37 Panorama Suites spread over two decks. Incorporated into its unique design is a top-deck pool where you can take in the vine-covered hills, and a lounge that also makes the most of the Douro’s scenic views. Itineraries will feature Avalon’s signature Classic, Discovery and Active excursions that are included in the fare. There’s sure to be some wonderful ports and plenty of port (wine) to enjoy on these voyages.
Cunard’s Queen Anne
Fluff your feather boa, unbox your bow tie and go cruising in style on board Queen Anne, the first new ship for Cunard in more than 10 years. With a launch date that was delayed by five months due to supply chain issues, this ship pays homage to the line’s traditional look with some modern twists, and will cater to 3000 passengers. Along with favourites like the Golden Lion Pub, there are new venues like the Pavilion Pool and Wellness Studio on the top deck. Another new addition, the dazzling Bright Lights Society, is an intimate bar-cum-show-lounge with a host presenting musical and other acts while guests sip cocktails or fine wine. No two shows are the same at this venue, which should make it a hit on the longer voyages this line is famous for.
Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess
Sun Princess will be the first Sphere-class ship and the biggest in the Princess fleet when it debuts in February. Carrying 4300 passengers, it features a new activity zone, Park19, designed to appeal to families and other guests who love to stay active. There’s the new Sea Breeze RollGlider, which simulates a hang gliding experience, a waterpark, jogging track, infinite-view experience, and hammocks for when you need a break from all that fun. Sun Princess also features new cabin classes, including Cabana staterooms where guests have access to a private sundeck in front of their balconies. Signature Collection Suites are another new feature, and come with their own restaurant, lounge, sundeck and relaxation area.
Viking Cruises’ Viking Vela
Viking Vela will be the largest ship in the Viking Ocean fleet when it debuts at the end of next year with sailings in the British Isles and Scandinavia. Catering to 998 passengers, Viking Vela features the line’s signature Scandinavian design style and dining venues and bars that aim for familiarity rather than reinvention in recognition of Viking’s loyal clientele. Traditional afternoon tea is served in the Wintergarden each afternoon, there are plenty of places to sit back and relax with a book or socialise with other cruisers, and specialty restaurants like The Chef’s Table are included in your fare.
Disney Cruises’ Disney Treasure
The LNG-powered Disney Treasure is set to debut in December 2024 and themed around some of Disney’s most popular cartoons and movies, many of which have a “treasure” theme on this ship. The lobby is decked out in silver and gold in a nod to the movie Aladdin, and features a statue of the film’s namesake riding his famous magic carpet. Captain Hook, Peter Pan and Captain Minnie also make an appearance and there’s a two-storey Tomorrow Tower Suite fit for a prince or a princess. For added fun, there’s a waterplay area and a water coaster, plus activities for adults inspired by popular theme park attractions like The Haunted Mansion Parlour.
Silversea’s Silver Ray
Carrying just over 728 passengers, Silver Ray is the second all-suite Nova-class ship and features a spacious pool deck with expansive sea views and butler service for all. The line’s new Otium Suite is set to debut on this ship and features 270-degree views and a complimentary spa treatment for two at the Otium Spa. Dining highlights include fine French cuisine at La Dame, Asian fusion at Kaiseki, a 14-course degustation dinner at S.A.L.T. Lab and The Marquee, a new outdoor restaurant offering all-day dining. The ship’s inaugural season will showcase the Mediterranean and South America.