In December 2016, Seabourn debuts Encore, which will carry 604 guests; a 16-night Holy Land & Arabian Gems cruise from Piraeus to Dubai, departing 4 December 2016, starts at £5,999pp, all-inclusive, flights not included (seabourn.com; 0843 373 2000).
Oceania Cruises in April introduces Sirena (684 guests), formerly Princess Cruises’ Ocean Princess, after a £27m luxury makeover, with cruises around the Med including a 12-day Divine Tides fly-cruise from Rome to Istanbul, departing 22 May 2016, starting at £2,699pp including drinks package and free internet and tips (0345 505 1920; oceaniacruises.com).
Thomson, with its excellent value-for-money cruises, welcomes Thomson Discovery, its biggest ship yet (700 passengers). It was formerly Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas and will sail out of Palma for Med cruises next season with plenty of Spanish calls, and with Saturday flights from 19 regional airports. A seven-night Magic of Spain fly-cruise, departing on 16 July 2016, starts from £1,169pp (thomson.co.uk; 0871 231 4691).
On the rivers, Viking River Cruises launches six more of its cool, modern Longships: Tialfi and Alruna on the Rhine, Egil on the Danube, Vilhjalm and Kadlin on the Seine and Osfrid on the Douro. Rhine Discovery cruises run up to nine times a month, from £1,145pp (vikingcruises.co.uk; 0800 319 6660).
Emerald Waterways, known for its cool, contemporary ships, in June welcomes its fifth vessel, Emerald Belle, which, like its sisters, has a heated pool with a retractable roof that transforms into a cinema at night. Emerald Belle’s first cruise, the 15-day Splendours of Europe (Amsterdam to Budapest) departing 5 June 2016, starts at £3,475pp (emeraldwaterways.co.uk; 0800 756 2091).
Scenic launches its latest Space Ship, Scenic Azure, on Portugal’s Douro in April, offering 11-day return trips from Porto. Scenic also offers increased choice in Southeast Asia with the launch of Scenic Spirit on the Mekong in January and Scenic Aura on Irrawaddy in Myanmar in September. A 16-night Mystical Irrawaddy fly-cruise, departing on 5 December, starts from £3,995pp (scenic.co.uk; 0808 278 7096).
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