The Insider: Andy Harmer on new cruise ships

Our regular column from Andy Harmer, SVP Membership and Director of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) UK & Ireland

Silver Muse is one of the many ships launching this year © Silversea
Silver Muse is one of the many ships launching this year © Silversea

I am often asked to identify some of the hottest trends in the industry, and so with 2017 well under way, what better time than now to review what the year holds for cruising? There are plenty of exciting developments with a variety of new and unique shore excursions, amazing onboard extras, celebrity chef sailings and new ports of call.

I have had the good fortune of attending many cruise ship launches and this year we will again see a range of new ships being launched to the global fleet – all bringing something new and exciting to the industry. Over the past 12 months we have seen a number of ultra-luxury cruise ships arriving, including ones by Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Crystal Cruises – as well as on the rivers.

Undoubtedly, this sector is enjoying a resurgence in new ships, which brings additional focus; and in 2017 we see the sector grow further with the launch of Silversea’s Silver Muse complete with indulgent suites, a French restaurant created in partnership with Relais & Châteaux, and two contemporary Asian eateries.

The new ultra-luxury ships include a range of innovations and new features; and this innovation can also be seen across the industry. MSC’s Meraviglia will be the biggest ship launched to MSC Cruises to date and promises a whole host of bells and whistles including a top deck dancefloor for those keen to show off their moves under the stars. If that’s not enough, the ship will also feature the longest LED screen at sea and a Swarowski staircase.

Among the other cruise lines launching new ships in 2017, Norwegian’s latest ship, Joy, will be home to the first race track at sea as well as its brand new Galaxy Pavilion – featuring virtual reality experiences including simulator rides and interactive video walls.

Of course, the cruise industry is about much more than brand new ships, even though they are a great sign of the growing popularity of cruising. These new ships are always a great showcase of the inventiveness that goes into creating these holiday experiences.

And because of the variety of new ships being launched, these new arrivals are also testament to the fact that there is a cruise holiday for every person, occasion, budget and style. You have the widest choice in cruise line and ship, and that is important because we all have a different preferred style of holiday. Indeed, that preferred style can vary through the year – from our summer family holiday, to a fun long-weekend, to a cultural cruise off the beaten track.

So whatever your interests, when it comes to cruising, 2017 promises to be an exciting year with increased choice across the board – proving there’s never been a better time to take a cruise.

Whether you’re looking for a cultural holiday or relaxing break, find your perfect cruise with our Cruise Finder.

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Andy Harmer
Andy Harmer, Vice President of Operations, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Europe and regular Cruise International columnist!