Want to know which ocean and river ships will be making waves in 2016? Nick Dalton has the answers
The wave of ships that has been arriving over the past few years show no sign of slowing. Next into the water is Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape, arriving this autumn to sail year-round Caribbean cruises from Miami; the 4,200-passenger fun palace is Norwegian’s largest, with a three-deck high aqua park and ropes course, Broadway musicals and many new bars and restaurants. Work started in September on a sister ship, due to be delivered for spring 2017. A nine-night Eastern Caribbean fly-cruise, departing 1 January 2016, starts at £1,605pp (ncl.co.uk; 0845 201 8900).
Carnival Vista is Carnival’s 25th ‘Fun Ship’ and will be its biggest yet, with capacity for 4,000. It celebrates Caribbean style with Cuban-themed rooms and outdoor hangouts such as the Havana Bar & Pool, the SkyRide, an 800ft track suspended around the deck that passengers can circle in pedal-powered cars, and the first IMAX cinema at sea. After several Mediterranean cruises it heads back to the States for Caribbean sailings. An eight-day fly-cruise from Barcelona, departing 23 September 2016, starts at £753pp (carnival.co.uk; 0843 374 2272).
Holland America’s MS Koningsdam, for 2,650 guests, arrives in Europe in May for several Med cruises before moving to northern waters and a Caribbean winter. Much of the interior is the work of design guru Adam D Tihany, who created the modernistic At.mosphere restaurant 122 floors up Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. Exciting spaces include the atrium skylight that will feature changing projections such as the night sky. The seven-night premiere voyage fly-cruise from Civitavecchia, departing 8 April 2016, starts at £1,079pp (hollandamerica.com; 0843 374 2300).
Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas arrive in Southampton in April. Ovation (swiftly heading for China) has all the attractions – skydiving simulator, North Star viewing pod and bumper cars – of sister ships Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas. Harmony is the world’s biggest cruise ship, for 5,400 guests, and sails the Med before heading to Florida for Caribbean itineraries. Its attractions include Ultimate Abyss, the tallest waterslide at sea with with a 100ft drop. A five-night Western Mediterranean cruise on Harmony of the Seas from Barcelona, departing 7 June 2016, starts at £1,176pp (royalcaribbean.co.uk)
Viking Ocean Cruises launched their first ocean ship, Viking Star, this year, offering a Scandinavian-influenced boutique style experience, and it will be joined by Viking Sea next year. An eight-day Romantic Mediterranean fly-cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia, departing 7 February 2016, starts at £2,229pp (0800 458 6900; vikingcruises.co.uk).